Building the Silk Road Archaeological Center promoted by Al Farabi KazNU

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Al Farabi KazNU:  The idea of establishing the International Campus for Archaeological Research at Al Farabi Kazakh National University (Kazakhstan) has been initiated by Al Farabi KazNU with the support from the Silk Road University Network (SUN) (South Korea). This is a part of growing collaboration between universities of the Silk Road region stretching from South Korea to Kazakhstan and all the way to Venice in Italy, focusing on the researching the history of internationally exchanges along the Silk Road over the centuries.

During the past, the studies of the different aspects of development of the Silk Road attracted significant attention from many universities from around the world. In fact, according to the Economist magazine the brand “Silk Road” has become one of the most recognized brands in the world. However, many studies and research projects have been conducted but usually by individual scholars or universities. There were not many large scale international interdisciplinary projects involving universities from different countries working on a single project

The International Summer Campus for Archaeological Research initiated by KazNU has been promoted to reverse this trend and to fill these gaps. KazNU and SUN plan to build the Campus on the premises of the existing archaeological excavation site covering several square kilometers. The Campus will be built in the area, which was used by the Silk Road traders, travelers and nomads for millennia. It is rich with ancient and medieval burial sites and ruins of ancient settlements.

That main goal of the project is to create a joint research multidisciplinary facility for researchers in studying archaeology, anthropology, ethnology and museology and for sharing experience and presenting innovative solutions for research problems. This project has several objectives, as it will serve as a platform for building collaboration among researchers from universities – the members of the Silk Road University Network (SUN). The participants also plan to develop academic programs for the summer schools and teach them on-line and off-line. It is expected that the first phase of the project would be open in summer 2019. The first group of scholars and students from South Korea expected to visit the site in July or August 2019

Vice-rector (vice-president) M. Burkitbayev of KazNU highlighted that the existing archaeological site was under KazNU management for almost 40 years. The students and faculty unearthed thousands of archaeological artifacts dated between the 6th and 12th centuries A.D.  “KazNU will work hard on the integration of the best practices into academic programs” – said Professor Burkitbayev. One of the good examples of the growing international collaboration is KazNU-led project “Smart cities on the great Silk Road.”

The photo is courtesy of Rafis Abazov, Ban Ki-Moon Institute for Sustainable Development at Al Farabi KazNU.