Overland Silk Roads: Ancient trade routes connecting East and West, facilitating cultural exchange and economic growth

Overland Silk Roads History

The Silk Road was a term invented by the German explorer Ferdinand von Richthofen in 1877 CE to describe the overland trade routes between Asia and Europe. It spanned the period between approximately 200 BCE and 1500 BCE, with the intensity of trade fluctuating in inverse proportion to the prevalence of peace and prosperity in the region. 

This is the latest version of an electronic library of resources supporting the Overland Silk Roads museum sites. It offers free and immediate access to online resources for anyone wanting to explore further the context of the museum’s artifacts.  As the museum develops, more resources, in more languages, will be added. Subscribers to the newsletter will receive updates on all new developments. Any suggestions for additions to this list will be welcome.

European Languages

Agnew, N. (ed) Conservation of Ancient Sites on the Silk Road: Proceedings of the Second International Conference on the Conservation of Grotto Sites, 2010, 536pp

Anderson, V ‘China’s Southwestern Silk Road in World History’, World History Connected, 2, 1, 2009, 1-7.

Andrea, A.J. ‘The Silk Road in World History. A Review EssayAsian Review of World Histories 2,1, 2014, 105-127

Andrea, A.J. and S.C. Levi, ‘The Silk Road: Afro-Eurasian Connectivity across the Ages’, World System History, 1, 4, 2009, 9pp

Bao, Q.  ‘The application of big data technology in the research of ancient Chinese silk road’, Journal of Physics: Conference Series, 1578, 1, 012144, 2020.

Barisitz, S. Central Asia and the Silk Road – Economic Rise and Decline over Several Millennia, P/P slides 2017

Baupin, M. Histoire des routes de la soie et de la mondialisation, P/P slides

Beckwith, C.I. Empires of the Silk Road A History of Central Eurasia from the Bronze Age to the Present, Princeton, 499pp

Benedictow, O.J.  ‘Yersinia pestis, the Bacterium of Plague, Arose in East Asia. Did it Spread Westwards via the Silk Roads, the Chinese Maritime Expeditions of Zheng He or over the Vast Eurasian Populations of Sylvatic (Wild) Rodents?’Journal of Asian History47, 1, 2013, 1-31.

Blaydes L. and C. Paik, ‘Trade and Political Fragmentation on the Silk Roads: The Economic Effects of Historical Exchange between China and the Muslim East NYU Abu Dhabi. Division of Social Science Working Paper 0023, 2019, 58pp

Boulnois, L.  ‘La « route de la Soie » Histoire du commerce et des transferts de techniques avant le XIe siècle

Chin, T. ‘The Invention of the Silk Road 1877’, Critical Inquiry, 40, 1, 2013, 194-219.

Dong, G. e.a. ‘Climate-driven desertification and its implications for the ancient Silk Road trade.’ Climate of the Past, 17, 3, 2021, 1395-1407.

Frankopan, P.  The silk roads A New History of the World, 2015, Introduction and First chapter

Foltz, R.  Les religions de la Route de la soie. Les chemins d’une mondialisation prémoderne, Montreal, 2020, 279pp

Frachetti, M.D. e.a. ‘Nomadic ecology shaped the highland geography of Asia’s Silk Roads’,  Nature543,  7644, 2017, 193-198.

Fragner, B.G. Kulturkontakt und Kulturtransfer entlang der Seidenstraße: Ein Langzeitphänomen der eurasischen Geschichte, Lecture 2008.

Griffiths, R.T. ‘Trade: The Ancient Silk Roads’ in I. Duyvesteyn and A.M. van der Wal, World History for International Studies, Leiden, 2022, 61-79. Whole book can be downloaded here

Hansen, V. ‘The Impact of the Silk Road Trade on a Local Community: The Turfan Oasis, 500-800’, Les Sogdiens en Chine17, 283-310.

Hansen, V.  The Silk Road: A New History, 2012, 375pp

He, Lei-Xing ‘Historical Inspiration of the Rise and fall of the Silk Road’, International Journal of Social Science and Humanity, 8, 11, 2018, 285-289.

Israeli, R. ‘Medieval Muslim Travelers to China’ Journal of Muslim Minority Affairs, 20, 2, 2000, 313-321.

Korea Society, Silla Korea and the Silk Road. Golden Age, GoldenThreads, 2006, 206pp

Kovács, S. and M. Vér, ‘Mongols and the Silk Roads: an Overview’, Acta Orientalia Hung. 74, 1, 2021, 1–10

Kurin, R. ‘The Silk Road: Connecting People and Cultures’ in The Silk Road: connecting cultures, creating trust: the 36th annual Smithsonian Folklife Festival on the National Mall, 2002, 26-30.

Kwon, Y-P. ‘The Original Concept of the Silk Road and Richthofen’s Humanistic Ideas’, Acta Via Serica, 3, 2, 2018, 1-22.

Kylasov, A.V. ‘Traditional sports and games along the Silk Roads’, International Journal of Ethnosport and Traditional Games, 1, 2019, 1–10.

La Repubblica, Dossier. La Via sella Seta, 2017 (collection of eleven articles)

Lin, M.  ‘A Landscape Map of the 16th Century Silk Roads in the Palace Museum collections’,

Liu, X. The Silk Road in World History, Oxford UP, 2010.

Mertens, M.  ‘Did Richthofen Really Coin “the Silk Road”?The Silk Road, 17, 1, 2019, 1- 9.

Middleton, N. ‘Silk Road’ in N. Middleton, Extremes Along the Silk Road: Adventures Off the World’s Oldest Superhighway, 2005, 74-84.

Mirsha, M.K. ‘The ‘Silk Road’: Historical Perspectives and Modern Constructions’, Indian Historical Review, 47, 1, 2020, 21-39.

Mishra, M.K.The Silk Road Growing Role of India, ZBW – Leibniz Information Centre for Economics Working Paper,  2020. 30pp

Nagasawa, K.  ‘Development of Japanese Research on Silk Road’ Senri ethnological studies32, 1992, 49-54.

Neelis, J.  Early Buddhist Transmission and Trade Networks, 2011, 391pp

Pederson, N. e.a. ‘Pluvials droughts, the Mongol Empire and modern Mongolia’ PNAS 111, 12, 2014, 4375-4379

Peters, M.A.  ‘The ancient Silk Road and the birth of merchant capitalism’, Educational Philosophy and Theory, 53, 10, 2021, 955-961.

Rezakhani, K. ‘The Road That Never Was: The Silk Road and Trans-Eurasian Exchange’, Comparative Studies of South Asia, Africa and the Middle East, 30, 3, 2010, 420-433.

Rossabi, M. ‘The Silk Roads An Educational Resource’, Education about Asia, 4, 1, 1999, 16-20

Sarwar, L.  ‘The Old Silk Road and the New Silk Road An Analysis of the Changed Discourse’, Journal of Central Asian Studies, 24, 2017, 13-22.

Schneider, P.  ‘Les Routes de la soie dans l’Antiquité : une brève histoire des connexions Orient-Occident (4e siècle avant notre ère-6e siècle de notre ère)’, Cahiers d’histoire critique, 151, 2021, 35-46

Schorkowitz, D. ‘Mobility and Immobility in the Mongol Empire’, Mongolovedenie 12, 3, 2020, 430-445.

Selbitschka, A. ‘The Early Silk Road (s)Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Asian History. 2018.

Shu, M.  The Silk Road: Political Economy of Trade Routes. P/P Slides

Tan, L.  e.a. ‘Megadrought and cultural exchange along the proto-silk road’, Science Bulletin, 66, 6, 2021, 603-611.

Tuychievich, A.A. ‘Some Features Of The Service System On The Great Silk Road’, Journal of Contemporary Issues in Business and Government, 27, 1, 2021, 225-230.

Waugh, D.C. ‘The Silk Roads in History’, Expedition: The magazine of the University of Pennsylvania, 52, 9-22.

Waugh, D.C.  ‘“Richthofen “Silk Roads”: Toward the Archeology of a Concept’ Silk Roads, 5, 1, 2007, 1-10

Wang, T.  e.a. ‘Revealing lost secrets about Yingpan Man and the Silk RoadScientific Reports, 12, 1 699, 2022

Whitfield, S.  ‘Was there a Silk Road?’, Asian Medicine, 3, 2007, 201-213

Williams, T.  The Silk Roads: an ICOMOS Thematic Study, ICOMOS, 2014, 164pp

Xu, D. and S. Wen, ‘The Silk Road: language and population admixture and replacement’ in Dan Xu, Hui Li (eds) Languages and Genes in Northwestern China and Adjacent Regions, 2017, 55-78.

Yang e.a.(eds) Socio-Environmental Dynamics along the Historical Silk Road, 2019, 535pp

  1. Ying, ‘Solidi in China and monetary culture along the Silk Road’, The Silk Road3, 2, 2005, 16-20.



Chen zhi 明代“海上丝绸之路”发展模式的历史反思 2019 191-198

Li Jinming 中国古代海上丝绸之路的发展与变迁 9pp

Zhao Jung 海上丝绸之路: 一个文化遗产概念的知识生产 27pp

Overland Virtual Museums