Cultural globalization 2,300 years ago between Uzbekistan and Iberia

A team of researchers has detected that the same pottery and similar containers were made, a fact that supports the connections between Central Asia and the Mediterranean.

A team of Hispano-Uzbek researchers has discovered that the ceramics found in the town of Termez, in Uzbekistan, is like the one that was made in Empúries (Girona) 2,300 years ago.

The professor of the University of Barcelona (UB) Josep Maria Gurt is the director of the Termez research project in Bactriana-Uzbekistan, which tries to clarify the existing interconnection between Empúries and this Central Asian country more than two thousand years ago.

«Already 2,300 years ago on both sides the same pottery was made, the same type of containers,» explains the person in charge of the project, who points out that «from Alexander the Great and to the Islamic world there are great and constant connections between Central Asia and the Mediterranean. » «There is a community of thought, knowledge and technological transmission,» says Gurt, who recalls that Termez and Empúries are separated by more than 5,500 kilometers away.

The research team has carried out seven archeological excavation campaigns in Termez, where they have carried out technological studies and characterization of ceramics, as well as Carbon 14 dating.

«These analyzes allow us to discuss the theories developed by archaeologists and historians of the Soviet era and, therefore, all this is a small revolution,» says Gurt.

One of the aspects that are still unknown are the influences that occur between Central Asia and the Mediterranean, as well as finding out the mechanisms in the transmission of ideas and knowledge in both directions.

«We excavate and analyze the extracted material, in this sense, we have a very important advantage that everyone does not have, which is that they let us take archaeological material, geological samples, charcoals, etc., to analyze and study it in our laboratories. This, obviously, makes our work much easier, «says the UB professor.

Professor Gurt’s team centers its excavations in the complex city of Termez, located in southern Uzbekistan and with a series of walled enclosures from different eras. The historical setting is situated in the Hellenistic period with the conquest of Alexander the Great (329 BC), to continue with the Greco-Bactrian kingdom, the Yuezhi period, the Kushan period, Buddhist temples, the Kushano-Sassanid culture and Islam. (early eighth century after Christ).

The ceramics found in the last campaign, explains Gurt, «seem to be obtained in any Spanish city founded during the Islamic period,» for example. «We would excavate in one of these locations and we would obtain exactly the same,» says the expert.

Therefore, «there is a certain cultural globalization established for more than two thousand years ago, there is an immense community of thought, knowledge and technological transmission from one extreme to the other, along 5,500 kilometers in a straight line», adds the researcher.

When asked if they are imported ceramics, Gurt points out: «We are showing that it is not knowledge that travels, but we do not know how, fashions move and create trends in very different places, from North Africa to Italy they are doing same and when in a place it changes of fashion, in the other extreme also «.

The team, made up of members of the University of Barcelona, ​​the University of Salamanca and the Institute of Fine Arts of Tashkent, plans to return this autumn to Termez for a new excavation campaign. The research is funded by the Palarq Foundation, a non-profit organization created to support Spanish archaeological missions, and the Ministry of Science, Innovation and Universities.

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