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Spy Satellites Expose Silk Road Empires In Afghanistan

According to a recent research, a spy satellite imagery discovers forgotten Silk Road positions and evidence of empires that disappeared in the ominous desert areas of Afghanistan.

Dozens of pictures gathered by commercial and spy satellites and drones have revealed this fresh archaeological acumen, says the Science.

Between the discoveries, there were huge caravanserai and positions Silk Road travelers applied for centuries. Furthermore, there were underground passageways down beneath the desert.

However, these archaeological locations are very risky for an individual to go and investigate them in person.

That’s why the US State Department gave $2 million grant to facilitate this mapping trial.

Their aim was to help the researchers to study the archaeological culture of Afghanistan in a safer way.

“I’d expect tens of thousands of archaeological sites to be discovered. Only when these sites are recorded can they be studied and protected,” said David Thomas, an archaeologist at La Trobe University in Melbourne, Australia.

He is famous for doing amateur research without physical contact; however, he is not a member of the mapping crew.

The most captivating localities involve large caravanserai that Silk Road travelers used back in the 17th century.

These positions had mud and bricks composition and could be the potential home of many people and livestock.

Moreover, they appeared on every 12 miles which is a distance caravan could pass without resting.

What is the Silk Road?

The Silk Road was an extensive chain of roads crossing from Japan and Korea to the Mediterranean Sea.

Many years, goods like precious gems, perfumes, spices and silk from the East traveled to the West using these roads, reports UNESCO.

The Silk Road

In the center of Central Asia, in present-day Afghanistan, it was the intersection of this ancient business, hence, this country had a profit of everything that went through there.

During the spring of the silk roads, empires in that area gathered an abundant amount of wealth, says UNAMA.

Furthermore, UNAMA said the common opinion is that these caravan roads weakened when the sea routes between China and the West opened.

Nevertheless, the imagery from the spy satellites reveals that the caravan routes were still rising a few centuries later.

Aerial imagery of Tar-o-Sar (Credit: Digitalglobe, Inc.)

The mapping effort unseals lost history from other periods as well.

Experts revised the images from the 70’s and they appear to show secret canals that join the Helmand and Sistan provinces.

The imagery has also discovered the melting pot of religions, from Zoroastrian fire temples to Buddhist stupas.


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