Silk Road, retlaw snellac
In the first century BCE, overland trade routes stretching from China to central Asia, and later from central Asia to the Mediterranean, would be joined in what was labeled as the Silk Road. Though many goods flowed back and forth, silk emerged as the famous linking product between Eurasia. Eventually the Han Dynasty connected with the Roman Empire through a serious of overland and waterway connections.

Your client, Dusty Trails, is a travel writer for Explore magazine and keenly interested in the Silk Road. A self-proclaimed renaissance man, Mr. Trails enjoys outdoor activities, photography, and attending cultural events. To help Mr. Trails decide which features of the Silk Road he should travel back in time to visit, you'll need to research the Silk Road and present your key findings on the following questions:

Key Questions:

  1. What was the Silk Road? How was the Silk Road created? How was it protected? How were cities and territories connected?
  2. What type of goods or ideas- physical, intellectual, or religious- crossed the Silk Road?
  3. Why is the Silk Road important to World History? What is the relationship between the Silk Road and the Han Dynasty and Roman Empire?

The answers to these questions will culminate in a travel poster and oral presentation. The poster should persuade prospective tourists and include the following components:

Travel Poster Components
  1. One poster for the Silk Road
  2. At least six "must see" tourist destinations/features with detailed text and relevant images
  3. At least two audio recordings

Note: For the Silk Road, "destinations/features" may be physical, intellectual, or religious.

The presentation is your opportunity to explain why the Silk Road is an ideal tourist destination and should follow these guidelines:

Oral Presentation Guidelines
  1. Less than 3 minutes in length
  2. Should address/explain the "must see" features of the Silk Road
  3. Should explain why the client should visit these features


Before you begin the research process, read the following brief overview from Wikipedia to get a sense of the Silk Road:

The Silk Routes (collectively known as the 'Silk Road') were important paths for cultural, commercial and technological exchange between traders, merchants, pilgrims, missionaries, soldiers, nomads and urban dwellers from Ancient China, Ancient India, Ancient Tibet, Persia and Mediterranean countries for almost 3,000 years.[4]

Extending 4,000 miles, the routes enabled people to transport goods, especially luxuries such as slaves, silk, satin and other fine fabrics, musk, other perfumes, spices, medicines, jewels, glassware and even rhubarb, as well as serving as a conduit for the spread of knowledge, ideas, cultures and diseases[5] between different parts of the world (Ancient China, Ancient India, Asia Minor and the Mediterranean). Trade on the Silk Road was a significant factor in the development of the great civilizations of China, India, Egypt, Persia, Arabia and Rome, and in several respects helped lay the foundations for the modern world. Although the term the Silk Road implies a continuous journey, very few who traveled the route traversed it from end to end. For the most part, goods were transported by a series of agents on varying routes and were traded in the bustling mercantile markets of the oasis towns.[5]

The central Asian sections of the trade routes were expanded around 114 BCE by the Han dynasty,[6] largely through the missions and explorations of Zhang Qian,[7] but earlier trade routes across the continents already existed.[citation needed] In the late Middle Ages, transcontinental trade over the land routes of the Silk Road declined as sea trade increased.[8] Though silk was certainly the major trade item from China, many other products were traded, and various technologies, religions and philosophies as well as the bubonic plague (the so-called 'Black Death') also traveled along the Silk Routes.

The Research Process

Deciding which dynasty your client would be most interested in visiting may seem like a complicated task, but the Big6 can help you organize your research efforts. As you work through the assignment, keep each of the following steps in mind. If you need help, simply follow the hyperlink for more information:

Step 1: Task Definition
Step 2: Information Seeking Strategies
Step 3: Location and Access
Step 4: Use of Information
Step 5: Synthesis
Step 6: Evaluation

Project Workspace

Each student researching this topic will have a project workspace for documenting his/her research and posting the travel poster. All work related to the project should be maintained there:

Silk Road Student Template DO NOT EDIT THIS PAGE
Mac R
Haris K
James P
John S
Toby Y
Elly W
Caroline R
Sarah F
Taylor B
Bridget C
Mitzi H
Molly B
Ben E
Connor G
Joseph M