Recycled paper goods from Astana graveyard



Astana, Turfan

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To save space in archaeological reports, Aurel Stein labeled similar items from a single site and photographed them together on the same page. This photo shows some of the paper goods he found at the Astana graveyard in Turfan: a hat decorated with flowers, a rolled-up flag, a string of coins, and, most typically, shoes. Craftsmen cut paper documents into shoe soles and covers, sewed them with thread, and then blackened the exterior. The arrow marks the writing still visible in side one of the shoes. By disassembling such items and reconstructing the original documents, archaeologists have learned much about life along the Silk Road. (Hansen 84)


Hansen, Valerie. The Silk Road: A New History. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2015


“Recycled paper goods from Astana graveyard,” Telling the Sogdian Story , accessed June 20, 2019,