Kathryn Jane Franklin

Grant Type

Post PhD Research Grant

Institutional Affiliation

Birkbeck, U. of London

Grant number

Gr. 9783

Approve Date

April 28, 2019

Project Title

Franklin, Kathryn (Birkbeck, University of London) "Seismic precarity and maintenance of the Inner Tian Shan Passages: Iron Age and Medieval Memoryscapes"

KATE FRANKLIN, Birkbeck, University of London, Birbeck, London, United Kingdom, received funding in April 2019 to aid research on “Seismic Precarity and Maintenance of the Inner Tian Shan Passages: Iron Age and Medieval Memoryscapes.” This international, interdisciplinary collaborative project set out to re-configure archaeological and geoscientific approaches to time-deep landscapes in the mountain passages of the Tian Shan range, in the eastern region of Issyk Kul, Kyrgyzstan. This region is marked by the confluence of narrow mountain passes around the shores of the lake and is characterized as well by the seismicity of the region’s geology: the Tian Shan range to the south rises above the plain faster than it can be eroded by the precipitation that feeds the rivers, carves canyons and waters fields and pastures. The project explored these intersecting timescales of human and more-than-human movement, which have created complex affordances for Iron Age, medieval (Karakhanid) and later occupation, transhumance, and situated memory. Through collaborative work among archaeologists and seismologists, the project documented Iron Age mortuary landscapes interlayered with medieval infrastructure, the lenticular accumulations of artifacts and ecofacts left by seasonal occupation, and corridor landscapes constructed over millions of years of seismic time and millennia of human-animal iterative movements. These complexly interleaved traces and erasures illuminate the ancient and medieval past and raise challenging questions about how archaeologists write history of place, and how landscapes hold memory in deep time.