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Eurasian Silver

Eurasian Silver (eurasiansilver.com) is an online catalog tracing, organizing, & interconnecting the modern lives of 3rd- to 13th-century CE silver vessels discovered in hoards across the Eurasian continent.

I began designing & building Eurasian Silver in 2020 while undertaking foundational research for my second book project. Provisionally titled, Creating Cosmopolitanism: the Banquet in Central Eurasia (5th–13th century CE), the book will explore how the material culture circulated at dinner and drinking parties was an integral component for negotiating cross-cultural relations.

With silver vessels operating as the footholds for the book, I designed this online catalog to comprehensively map surviving Iranian & Central Asian banqueting vessels found in hoards thousands of kilometers north across the Steppe, Taiga, & Tundra. The data presented on the website is focused on provenance, mapping, & historiography. The corpus of 3rd- through 13th-century silver vessels is extraordinarily rich. However, only a handful of objects– most without provenance– in American or Western European collections are regularly researched & published, & citations are too often limited to works in English, French or German. This imbalance is often the result of inaccessibility to materials held in collections across Eurasia or publications only available in Russian & other Slavic languages. Thus I envision this platform as a foundation from which future studies can jump by pooling together raw data on objects and essential bibliographies, as well as a network for communication between researchers, curators, archivists, & librarians.

This project runs in dialogue with the current work of Arkadii Baulo, Tat'iana Chichko, & Natal’ia Fedorova, whose research investigates the movement and later lives of Eurasian silver vessels. It builds on the foundational knowledge established in the first half of the 20th century by Valerii Chernetsov, Iakov Smirnov,  & Kamilla Trever, & the rigorous studies undertaken in the second half of the 20th century by Vladislav Darkevich, Boris Marshak, & Vasilii Leshchenko.