The Oasis of Bukhara, Volume 1

Population, Depopulation and Settlement Evolution


In The Oasis of Bukhara: Population, Depopulation and Settlement Evolution, Rocco Rante, archaeologist at the Louvre Museum, presents the results of a large-scale and ambitious regional archaeological investigation of the oasis of Bukhara, corresponding to the delta of the Zerafshan River, from the end of the 1st millennium BCE to the Timurid period. Rante reports the conclusions of several studies of the oasis, realised with the collaboration of distinguished specialists, and covers topics such as human migration, water and the city, urban development and changes in human behaviour. He also revisits the history of this part of Central Asia, providing new historical and cultural insights arising out of the intense archaeological activities undertaken in the field.

The volume is co-published by Brill, Leiden, and the Louvre Museum, Paris.

Prices from (excl. shipping):

Add to Cart
Rocco Rante, Ph.D. (2009), Professional Research Fellow (2018), University Pantheon-La Sorbonne, is archaeologist at the Louvre Museum. He has published Rayy: From Its Origins to the Mongol Invasion (Leiden, 2015) and The Greater Khorasan (Berlin, 2015).
"Archaeologists Rante (Louvre Museum) and Mirzaakhmedov (Uzbek Academy of Sciences) envision a three-volume English language publication reporting the results of a large-scale, ten-year regional study by the Mission Archéologique Franco-Ouzbèke in western Central Asia, focusing on the geoarchaeology of the Zerafshan River delta for the long-durée: 3rd century BCE through 16th century CE. Three chapters of this initial volume, written mostly by Rante, concentrate on the survey of the landscape paleoecology, hydrography, and settlement evolution (1,040 archaeological sites), offering a detailed paradigm for urban morphology, differentiating unique sites and urban categories (bipartite and tripartite cities) through six well-defined chronological phases. The narrative emphasizes population dynamics; political administration and communication; the management of economic resources; interactions between urban, suburban, and rural communities; and sacred landscapes. Six chapters document in abundant detail trench excavations in six settlements, including three large cities: Ramitan, Paykend, and Bukhara. Rante’s concluding essay provides historical and cultural reconstructions of oasis irrigation systems, climate change, desiccation, and resulting social dynamics. The meticulous narrative is accompanied by 216 magnificent color illustrations, an extensive bibliography (172 references), and a comprehensive index. This report is unique for Central Asia and designed for professionals and researchers... Summing Up: Highly recommended. Graduate students, faculty, and professionals." C.C. Kolb in: Choice Connect, Vol. 57 May 2020.

List of Figures


Part 1: The Survey

1 Landscape and Human Dynamics
 1  The Zerafshan Landscape and Its Evolution
 2  Human Occupation from the Neolithic to Antiquity
 3  The “Silk Road” in Archaeological Surveys and Historical Sources
 4  The Birth of the North-eastern Route of the Silk Road

2 Settlements and Their Evolution
 1  The Archaeological Survey
 2  Settlement Distribution within the Oasis
 3  Chronology and Evolution of Settlements

3 Morphology of Cities
 1  Urban Topography
 2  The Tripartite Sites
 3  Urban Categories and Water Resources
 4  Water Network and Tripartite Sites between Hydrological and Historical Surveys
 5  The Road Network
 6  The Bipartite Sites
 7  Water Network and Bipartite Sites between Hydrological and Historical Surveys
 8  The Road Network
 9  Socio-economic Aspects
 10  Urban Fortifications within the Oasis

Part 2: The Excavation

 Introduction to Part 2

4 Ramitan
 1  Landscape and Archaeological Vestiges
 2  Earlier Works
 3  Plan of the City
 4  Stratigraphy
 5  Evolution of the Urban Plan
 6  Main Monuments
 7  Fortifications
 8  The Suburb (rabad)

5 Paykend
 1  Landscape and Archaeological Vestiges
 2  Earlier Works
 3  Plan of the City
 4  Stratigraphy
 5  Evolution of the Urban Plan
 6  Main Monuments
 7  Trench E
 8  Sector A
 9  Sector B
 10  Sector C
 11  Sector F
 12  Sector D
 13  Sector E
 14  Sector I
 15  Sector K
 16  Sector J
 17  Sector L

6 Iskijkat
 1  Landscape and Archaeological Vestiges
 2  Some Data from Earlier Historical Studies
 3  Plan of the City
 4  Stratigraphy
 5  Evolution of the Urban Plan

7 Kakishtuvan
 1  Landscape and Archaeological Vestiges
 2  Plan of the City
 3  Stratigraphy
 4  Evolution of the Urban Plan

8 Site 250
 1  Landscape and Archaeological Vestiges
 2  Plan of the City
 3  Stratigraphy
 4  Evolution of the Urban Plan

9 Bukhara
 1  Landscape and Archaeological Vestiges
 2  Earlier Works
 3  Stratigraphy
 4  A New History of Bukhara


This volume will be of interest to anyone interested in the history and archaeology of Central Asia and the Iranian world, as well as to all regional geo-archaeological investigation specialists.
  • Collapse
  • Expand