Themes such as ancient demography, agrarian economy and paleoclimate are some of the newest main lines of investigation pursued by researchers affiliated with the Italian Archaeological Mission in Pakistan, following in the footsteps of Giuseppe Tucci’s seminal work. These topics are particularly relevant in a frontier-region like Swat (modern Khyber Pakhtunkhwa region of Pakistan) positioned at the foothills of the Hindukush-Karakoram where traditions and know-how coming from outside are refl ected back and magnified much like in a concave mirror Swat is simultaneously the center and periphery much like the regions of Bamiyan, Kapisa and Nangarhar in Afghanistan, and the neighboring Kashmir. All these areas share physical, climatic and economic features; they area high altitude plains surrounded by mountains where double-crop agriculture in practiced. Climate is a topic hardly discussed in the scholarship dedicated to these cultural regions. Until now studies focusing on reconstructing the archaeological, historical, and environmental contexts of northern Pakistan and piedmont of the Hindukush-Karakoram have been based solely on visual art, less on material culture, and heavily relying on textual sources. Texts are crucial to understand all religious and cultural phenomena, however material culture and environmental data, including palaeobotany, genetics and climate, are also important as it explains migration movements and settlement patterns of human groups. In particular, changes in climate can explain processes of contraction of economies and settlements in ancient Swat as well as changes the local agricultural production, which are refl ected in material culture. Environmental and climatic variabilities aff ect the development and collapse of ancient societies and this line of investigation, still in its infancy today, must be further developed using a multifaected approach.

Routes of Swat, New Perspectives

Luca Maria Olivieri
2022

Abstract

Themes such as ancient demography, agrarian economy and paleoclimate are some of the newest main lines of investigation pursued by researchers affiliated with the Italian Archaeological Mission in Pakistan, following in the footsteps of Giuseppe Tucci’s seminal work. These topics are particularly relevant in a frontier-region like Swat (modern Khyber Pakhtunkhwa region of Pakistan) positioned at the foothills of the Hindukush-Karakoram where traditions and know-how coming from outside are refl ected back and magnified much like in a concave mirror Swat is simultaneously the center and periphery much like the regions of Bamiyan, Kapisa and Nangarhar in Afghanistan, and the neighboring Kashmir. All these areas share physical, climatic and economic features; they area high altitude plains surrounded by mountains where double-crop agriculture in practiced. Climate is a topic hardly discussed in the scholarship dedicated to these cultural regions. Until now studies focusing on reconstructing the archaeological, historical, and environmental contexts of northern Pakistan and piedmont of the Hindukush-Karakoram have been based solely on visual art, less on material culture, and heavily relying on textual sources. Texts are crucial to understand all religious and cultural phenomena, however material culture and environmental data, including palaeobotany, genetics and climate, are also important as it explains migration movements and settlement patterns of human groups. In particular, changes in climate can explain processes of contraction of economies and settlements in ancient Swat as well as changes the local agricultural production, which are refl ected in material culture. Environmental and climatic variabilities aff ect the development and collapse of ancient societies and this line of investigation, still in its infancy today, must be further developed using a multifaected approach.
The World of the Ancient Silk Road
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/10278/5002332
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