An Archaeology of Western Asia’s Political Boundaries From 1000 CE to the Present.

I know. I know. This isn’t, truly, an archaeological subject. But, this animation is incredible! And the implications for archaeology are manifold. 

It come to us from LiveLeak.com, and depicts the changing boundaries of western Asia ONLY since 1000 C.E. 

[I may be math-impaired. But even I can figger out that it represents a total of only about 1012 years!]

Thanks to Marcel Zemp for pointing me in this direction.


I was most intrigued by the political picture for most of the last millennium in what’s now Germany. Second place was pre-Russian Empire Lithuania. My gawd, it stretched from the Baltic to the Black Sea! No wonder there’s so much antipathy between ethnic Russians and Lithuanians! Third would be the western extent of the Mongol Empire—measured in degrees of longitude it rivals Russia as the greatest empire in history. [Not so ‘great’ for the conquered people. But, you get the idea.] 

Back to the archaeological implications of these data. It finally makes sense. No wonder so many Medievalist archaeologists have no hair left! It’s from pulling it out in frustration trying to sort out the ethnicity or polity from such a palimpsest—using just the archaeological record. This must be the social science Gordian Knot of the present day! 

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