From almonds and apples to tea and rice, many foods that we consume today have histories that can be traced out of prehistoric Central Asia along the tracks of the Silk Road to kitchens in Europe, America, China, and elsewhere in East Asia. The exchange of goods, ideas, cultural practices, and genes along these ancient routes extends back five thousand years, and organized trade along the Silk Road dates to at least Han Dynasty China in the second century BC. Robert Spengler presents a broad array of archaeological, botanical, and historical evidence, narrating the story of the origins and spread of agriculture across Inner Asia and into Europe and East Asia. Through the preserved remains of plants found in archaeological sites, he identifies the regions where our most familiar crops were domesticated and follows their routes as people carried them around the world, shaping the course of human history.
Fee Free member and student, $5 nonmember
Register at my.arboretum.harvard.edu or call 617-384-5277.