University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Athropology


Author: Daniel C. Waugh

The Silk Roads in History

By: Daniel C. Waugh

There is an endless popular fascination with the “Silk Roads,” the historic routes of economic and cultural exchange across Eurasia. The phrase in our own time has been used as a metaphor for Central Asian oil pipelines, and it it common advertising copy for the romantic exoticism of  expensive adventure travel. One would think that, in […]


Marco Polo’s Travels: Myth or Fact?

By: Daniel C. Waugh

In his own lifetime and even today, Marco Polo’s account of his travels has been branded a falsification. A late medieval reader might have asked how it is that there could be such wonders about which we have never heard. Why is it, the modern critic muses, that Marco so often seems to get the […]


The Silk Road – Chronology of Selected Travelers

By: Daniel C. Waugh

136–125, 119–115 BCE. Zhang Qian, emissary sent by Han Dynasty Emperor Wu Di to the “Western Regions,” who supplied important commercial and political intelligence. 629–645 CE. Xuanzang (Hsuan-tsang), Chinese Buddhist monk who traveled through Inner Asia to India, studied there, and once back in the Chinese capital Chang’an (Xian) was an important translator of Buddhist […]