This project focuses on archaeology and preservation of the prehistoric and early Silk Road periods with the goal to examine Trans-Eurasian contacts through time. The ultimate goals and purpose of the project are both academic and public:1) to combat the rise in antiquities theft and loss of cultural heritage in Kazakhstan;2) establish Nazarbayev University as an international and academic hub for Silk Road studies;3) train local students and professionals in scientific archaeological methods and archaeological site management.
In order to achieve these goals, the proposed project consists of two major components: 1) Archaeological excavations conducted at the site of Tasbas-Dali in the Bayan-Zhurek Valley of southeast Kazakhstan. The archaeological project includes an educational component consisting of undergraduate and graduate student participation and training from Nazarbayev University and other institutions in Kazakhstan. The archaeological data obtained will be used to measure changes in materiality and economy brought about with the introduction of pastoralism and agriculture to the region; 2) A workshop to be hosted at Nazarbayev University in Astana. Participants will consist of academic professionals and students, and representatives from private and museum institutions. The workshop will center on discussions and brainstorming for how to address contemporary issues and challenges facing cultural heritage management in developing economies.