Genesis of the silk road and its northern directions

Petr I. Shulga, Daniil P. Shulga, Karina A. Hasnulina

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


This article argues that the conclusions in the prevailing modern scientific literature on the formation of the Great Silk Road 3rd‑2nd millennium BC or from the 4th‑3rd centuries BC cannot be considered reasonable in light of available scientific and archival evidence. Until the 3rd‑2nd centuries BC at the western and northern borders of Xinjiang Region the predominantly Caucasoid population of Xinjiang contacted the related cultures of Kazakhstan and Sayano‑Altai, but did not have any noticeable or documented trade (exchange) connections with the eastern Mongols of the Gansu Corridor, nor with farmers of ancient China and nomads of Northern China. Significant migrations of the population from Xinjiang to China and in the opposite direction between the third and the first half of the 1st millennium BC according to the available archaeological records has not been observed. The Silk Road from China through Xinjiang to the west with the direct involvement of the Chinese, only begins to function in the 1st century BC, and then only when the Han Empire at great cost finally succeeded in pushing the Hunnu out of Xinjiang, and established control over this territory. This event was preceded by active trade relations between the northern kingdoms of China and the nomads of Southern Siberia in the 4th and 3rd centuries BC and the delivery of the gifts to the Huns from the Han Dynasty in the 2nd century BC. This enabled silk and varnish products to penetrate Southern Siberia, Central Asia and then back into Xinjiang.

Translated title of the contributionО становлении Шелкового пути и его северных направлениях
Original languageEnglish
Article number5
Pages (from-to)1167-1180
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Siberian Federal University - Humanities and Social Sciences
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 2021


  • 5.04 SOCIOLOGY

State classification of scientific and technological information

  • 03.41 Archaeology


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