The Archaeology of the Silk Road Manuscripts


Haury 216, University of Arizona Main Campus


Wed, 10/19/2016 - 5:30pm


The Archaeological Institute of America Lecture Series Fall 2016

Dr. Agnieszka Helman-Wazny, University of Arizona, Laboratory for Tree Ring Research and University of Hamburg, Asia-Africa Institute

This talk outlines some of the crucial aspects of research on the earliest surviving archive of paper and ink preserved in the manuscripts from Dunhuang and Turfan. The objects in this study are Chinese, Tibetan, Uighur, Manichaean, Tokharian and Sogdian manuscripts drawn from the Stein Collection in the British Library in London; the Turfan collection in the Berlin Brandenburg Academy of Sciences (BBAW) and the Berlin State Library (BSL); the Pelliot collection in the Bibliothèque Nationale de France in Paris; and the Oldenburg collection in the Institute of Oriental Manuscripts in St. Petersburg. Study of paper offer a story of the manuscript that critically supplements its content, revealing the untold details of its making. By using fire analysis and the technological study of paper combined with codicological and textual information, research has aimed to explore the possibilities for dating these materials, and fingerprinting their places of origin. The fact that many of Chinese manuscripts being studied (which are the oldest preserved and dated artifacts from Central Asia) are fixed in time by dates mentioned in colophons makes them valuable and reliable references for building a typology of paper and for comparative study of any yet to be discovered papers from that region.
Reception with light refreshments will accompany the talk
The lecture is free and open to to the public 
Co-Sponsored by the Aia and the UA School of Anthropology, with departments of history and classics