Silk Road Vice Versa

Silk Road Vice Versa is a modern-day expedition to the old Silk Road region of Central Asia, organized to coincide with the exhibition Expedition Silk Road. Treasures from the Hermitage. The project is a joint initiative of the Hermitage Amsterdam, Leiden University and KLM. Students of archaeology, history and art history will be following in the footsteps of the Russian archaeologists who excavated the trade routes along the historical Silk Road from around 1900. The students will spend four months studying the Hermitage collection in Amsterdam and the countries, cultures, landscapes, trade, music, food and animals of the Silk Road in Central Asia. Their objective is to chart the Silk Road, past and present. Stay updated trough this website and get the latest news about the students’ research, their quest for a beautiful object, and their experiences in Central Asia.

Support this project and the students trough voordekunst.nl: voordekunst.nl.

Do you want to know more about the research of the students? Check out the online blog www.retourzijderoute.wordpress.com for a weekly update.

Check our Facebook page: www.facebook.com/retourzijderoute2014.

The students

Rens Bravenboer, 21 years old

‘I live in The Hague. I’ve been doing a research master’s in colonial and global history since September. I want to use my knowledge of history to place the artefacts in the Silk Road exhibition in a broader context. For me, this is a fascinating and fitting addition to my studies and for the visitor, I hope, an interesting complement to the exhibition!
I’m examining the evidence of cultural exchange in silver objects, with a focus on relations between Central Asia and China. My aim is to position my findings in a broader historical and geographical context. I hope to apply previous study and travel experience to this project.’

Vera Tolstoj, 24 years old

‘I’m studying archaeology at the University of Amsterdam. I come from St Petersburg, but I’ve lived in the Netherlands nearly all my life. As a child I was enthralled by the adventures of Marco Polo and the Silk Road has fascinated me ever since. In my research I’ll be studying the spread of music and food along the Silk Route.
The Silk Road was not just a conduit for goods and ideologies. Music and food often spread far beyond their country of origin. Traders and pilgrims took musical instruments and spices with them on their journeys. I would like to study the movements of music and food and discover in particular what evidence of that movement remains today.’

Nadia Hamid, 31 years old

‘I am pursuing a master’s degree in Asian archaeology at Leiden University. I was born in the United States, and I have Dutch and Pakistani roots. My research focuses on the landscape, trade and iconography of Central Asia. I am thrilled to be participating in this project, to experience the past and present cultures along the Silk Road and make it accessible to the general public.
My research is geographically oriented. I will be studying the landscape of Central Asia and how it dictated trade and transmission of cultures along the Silk Road. I’ll be looking at how trade routes developed and how settlements interacted. My aim is to connect this research to existing traditions. The Silk Road is a historical trade network, but is there evidence its heritage is still alive?’

Janine van Noorden, 20 years old

‘I’m a third-year archaeology student at Leiden University. I’m taking part in this project to learn more about the wonders of the Silk Road. I’m going to study the animals of the Silk Road to discover what their significance was to the people.
The first priority of my research is the trade in exotic animals. Secondly, I will be studying the animals themselves: the camels, mules and horses that made trade along the Silk Road possible. An important aspect of my research is the animals’ significance to the people then and now.’

Eren Nazim Cam, 25 years old

‘I’m from Istanbul, Turkey. I’m currently pursuing a master’s degree in archaeology at Leiden University, specialising in the Near East and the Mediterranean. I’m participating in this project to increase my knowledge of the influence of the Turkic and Mongolian peoples on the Silk Road.
I will be studying whether Turkic and Mongolian peoples had a positive or negative influence on the areas affected by the Silk Road from the seventh to the twelfth century. To gain a better understanding of this, I will start by researching Sogdian history from the seventh century, when the Sogdians were under military protection of the Turks.’

Mike de Booij, 22 years old

‘I live in Delft and study archaeology at Leiden University. My research is focused on trade between Central Asia and the Near East. I’m participating in this project because it allows me to combine my passions for travel and archaeology.
I will be focusing on the trade between the Near East and Central Asia during the rise of Islam. An essential objective of my research is to determine how and to what extent that development influenced the products that were traded and whether (and if so, to what extent) that is still the case today.’

Photos and videos by Sascha Luna Esmail

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Daily 10 a.m. - 5 p.m.
Closed on 25 December 2014 and 27 April 2015

© State Hermitage Museum, St Petersburg

The Hermitage Amsterdam is located on Amstel 51, Amsterdam

Photo Janiek Dam

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