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"

This project proposes an archaeological examination of the social construction of mountain passageways in the Inner Tian Shan region of Kyrgyzstan over the long term. We will explore the Inner Tian Shan passages (regions between Issyk Kul and the Tian Shan) as a microcosm of larger networks and spaces. In doing so, we rethink the dwelling of people along Silk Road corridors in terms of three orienting approaches and their links to memory and landscape: (1) the complex role of memory in the construction of contingent places (memoryscapes) across mountain and valley landscapes of Central Asia over a two-thousand year period; (2) the effects of earthquakes in high elevation areas (1500 m to 2500 m asl) on human societies which ‘lived with’ seismic precarity during the Early Iron Age through the Medieval Period in Central Asia; and (3) a re-visioning of the mountain corridor concept, and in turn of the “Silk Road,” in terms of systems of human-nonhuman entanglement. A collaboration between archaeologists and archaeolo-seismologists, this project uses the co-existence of seismic fault lines and corridors of human movement as an invitation to unsettle presumptions about memory and landscape, and about the ‘natural’ location of the Silk Road.