Wandering the Silk Roads - Considering the Origins of Globalisation

Presenter: Professor Alison Betts

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About the lecture

The process of globalisation describes the changes and developments that took place as individual groups began to interact and inter-connect with their neighbours. Steger, in his 2010 work Globalisation defines it as the expansion and intensification of social relations and consciousness across world-time and world-space. To this, archaeologists would add the diffusion of material objects and ideas from group to group, often, as it turns out, with some rapidity over long distances. The past few decades have seen a growth in archaeological research into the prehistory of Eurasia, Central Asia and Western China, the heartlands of the ancient Silk Roads, revealing the story of the earliest faint connections between East and West in the Bronze Age, gradually consolidating through the Iron Age to emerge as the trade routes of Empires in the time of Roman and Han domination in West and East respectively.

This wide-ranging talk explored the rise of interconnectedness across Asia from its ancient fragile beginnings to the Silk Roads of romantic imagination, exploring particularly the nature of contact and its often unanticipated outcomes.

About the presenter

Professor Alison BettsAlison Betts is Professor of Silk Road Studies at the University of Sydney with research interests extending from Western Asia to China. Her current major project is the excavation of an ancient royal citadel in Uzbekistan which has yielded remarkable new data on the early history of Zoroastrianism. Professor Betts also has a collaborative project to study the Bronze Age of western

China and another to explore the Neolithic of Kashmir. Her key research themes include understanding ancient nomadic peoples, and East-West contact in prehistory, particularly the transmission of crops and metallurgical technologies.


The Hall Annual Lecture is given in honour of the founder of archaeology at The University of Queensland, Associate Professor Jay Hall.

This event is supported by Everick Heritage Consultants.

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About The Hall Annual Lecture

The Hall Annual Lecture is UQ Archaeology’s annual public lecture in honour of the founder of archaeology at UQ, Associate Professor Jay Hall.

Associate Professor Jay Hall is the former Head of UQ’s Archaeology program. As well as an award-winning teacher, Jay is the editor of Queensland Archaeological research - a publication he started in 1984. Jay retired in 2007 after more than 30 years at the University. He is currently an Adjunct Reader in Archaeology in the School of Social Science at UQ.


Advanced Engineering Building (#49), The University of Queensland, St Lucia Campus.
Public lecture: GHD Auditorium, Level 2; Reception: Level 3 Terrace