News & Updates


We are very glad to announce the official Open Access publication of the new book chapter Buddha on the Rocks by Marike van Aerde, Alexander Mohns and Abdul Ghani Khan, as part of The Global Connections of Gandharan Art series at Oxford University

In this chapter, we offer new archaeological, interpretative and statistical analyses of early Buddhist and zoomorphic petroglyphs, which were carved along the ancient routes that connected the north of the Indian Subcontinent (current-day Pakistan) with the Tarim Basin (current-day China), from ca. 300 BCE onwards.

The full book can be accessed and downloaded at Oxford University, by clicking the image.
Our specific chapter, 'Buddha on the Rocks' can also be directly accessed via the DOI: 10.32028/9781789696950 or at Archaeopress Oxford.


A Diplomatic Invitation


This month we were cordially invited by the Sri Lankan Ambassador to the Netherlands, his Excellency Mr. Sumith Nakandala. The Ambassador is very interested in our research concerning ancient Indian Ocean trade, and has suggested plans for collaborations and connections for possible archaeological studies in Sri Lanka. Together with our team coordinator, Dr. Marike van Aerde, PhD student Sam Botan and MA student Alex Mohns, who is also from Sri Lanka, partook in the visit and are eager to maintain this valuable connection. On behalf of our entire team, we would like to thank Ambassador Nakandala very much for his hospitality and interest in our work.   


Our Silk Roads Vlog has been featured in the official Leiden University Archaeology Blog. (Check out the blog entry by clicking on the logo).


Archaeology in the time of corona


Leiden University published a news item about our team, on how we are managing our work during this global pandemic. Our team members are scattered across different continents right now, but we are keeping in close contact. Instead of our planned fieldwork and conferences this year, we will be focusing on digital publications and research.

In the article you can read more about our plans, and find out what the situation is like for an international research group like ours. Click on the banner to visit the page.


UPDATE: Impact of the COVID-19 outbreak

Because of the fast-spreading coronavirus pandemic, our team’s research in Vadodara, India (planned for March  2020) was cancelled at the last moment. We fully understand and support the precautions India is taking, so all we can do for now is adapt and make the best of the current situation. 

This outbreak has a big impact on international projects like ours, re logistics/bureaucracy, visa, permits, funding... But even as things lock down for a while now, we are already looking and planning ahead to later in the year to catch up and continue our work. Hopefully a little flexibility goes a long way. Moreover, we all have a responsibility to protect our (international) communities, so for now we will instead focus on finishing some new publications, catching up on our reading, and staying in touch with our students.
Stay safe everyone!


International Women’s Day
8 March 2020

We are very lucky to have talented men and women from all around the world in our research group, who interact and work together as equals. U
nfortunately, in science and academia, we still need days like today to highlight gender inequality is far from over - there is still a lot of prejudice, skewered job and pay percentages, even right-out misogyny, and most of it remains deeply ingrained in the system.

One of the best ways to tackle this is to focus on what’s to come, to celebrate the young female scientists who are making a difference and will continue to do this. To illustrate, here are Rishika, PhD student, and Marike, team supervisor, in Alexandria, near the auditorium where Hypatia of Alexandria taught classes as one of the world's first female lecturers and famous mathematician.

Marike adds: 'Over the past years, I have had the privilege to teach and work with young women from, among others, India, South Korea, Mongolia, Japan, China, Mexico, Greece,  USA and Iran. While all my students are equal to me, regardless of gender, I can’t deny that there often still seems to be a different set of rules for women; I have encountered this often myself.' 
We all need to work together to acknowledge this, understand the roots of it, and change it. #IWD2020 #EachforEqual