1st April 2019
It has long been believed that the Silk Road got its name from the trade in the highly-sought after fabric that travelled along routes from China to the West in the first millennia. However, archaeologists working in China have unearthed evidence of an actual road made from silk, which they believe stretches over 4,000 miles from Xian to Istanbul. They believe the silk rug-like road was laid in the 5th century to help traders and merchants navigate their way across the dangerous route.
The discovery was made in China’s Taklamakan Desert - ironically as part of the huge revitalisation of the Silk Road that the Chinese government are undertaking. When workers discovered patterns of a carpet hidden beneath the sand, archaeologists were called in to investigate. A team of archaeologists excavated the area and confirmed that there is an actual silk road buried beneath the desert, which probably stretches though Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan and Iran and into Turkey. This would make it the world's biggest ever carpet.
Head of the archaeology team Ann Teak-Relic, said “It seems the Silk Road was actually a road made of silk, stretching over 4,000 miles. The amount of work that must have gone into weaving the Silk Road is mindblowing. It was probably laid to help mark the way for traders, as we have found evidence of arrows pointing and occasional phrases such as “Isfahan 1250 miles, Istanbul 2600 miles, Samarkand 860 miles”.
Another theory is that the Silk Road was laid to keep the feet warm of the pilgrims who occasionally travelled the route barefoot. This discovery follows 2014's astonishing find of the world's first selfie in a cave in Ethiopia.