About this event

  • Date and time Thu 18 May 2023 from 10:45am to 12:45pm
  • Location Royal Society of Medicine
  • Organised by Senior Fellows Forum

Join Dr Frances Wood, English librarian and historian specialised in Chinese history, to learn about the ancient trade route connecting China with the West and the great impact that this exchange of goods and ideas had between the two great civilisations. Don't forget to register for the optional lunch after the lecture before Thursday 11 May 2023 at 12:30pm.

The Silk Roads were ancient trading networks stretching from China to the West, generally assumed to have been named by the German geographer Ferdinand von Richtoven in 1877. For westerners, it was the arrival of silk in ancient Rome that prompted the name: the Chinese, transporting rocks from Khotan to Chang'an (today's Xi'an) might have called them the Jade Roads. Crossing the deserts of Central Asia, they passed through the many different cultures and kingdoms that rose and fell throughout the centuries and the discoveries of archaeologists/explorers such as Sir Aurel Stein in the first years of the 20th century revealed much about long-forgotten entities such as the short-lived Tangut empire and the mercantile Sogdians who dominated Silk Rad trade from the 4th century. Visiting distant desert sites such as the long-abandoned cave temple complex of Dunhuang, Stein collected more than 20,000 artefacts for the British Museum, including the world's earliest printed book, produced in 868 AD, some 500 years before Gutenberg.

This event is available to attend in person or virtually. Please select your preference below.

A recording will be available for all registered event participants for up to 60 days after the event. The link will be sent 24 hours after the meeting.

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View the programme

Registration, tea and coffee
Welcome and introduction
The silk road: Jade, cucumbers, spies and treasure-seekers

Dr Frances Wood

Questions and answers
Close of meeting

Followed by lunch for those who have pre-registered

View the programme

Welcome and introduction
The silk road: Jade, cucumbers, spies and treasure-seekers

Dr Frances Wood

Questions and answers
Close of meeting


Royal Society of Medicine, 1 Wimpole St, Marylebone, London, W1G 0AE, United Kingdom

Registration for this event will close on 18 May 2023 at 8:00am (GMT). Late registrations will not be accepted.

The agenda is subject to change at any time

All views expressed at this event are of the speakers themselves and not of the Royal Society of Medicine, nor the speaker's organisations.

We are only able to share presentations that we have received permission to share. This is at the presenter and the RSM’s discretion.

This event will be recorded and stored by the Royal Society of Medicine and may be distributed in future on various internet channels.

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