This page features antiquities, primarily from the Central Asian Bronze Age period from the mid-third to the mid-second millennium B.C. They were purchased in Afghanistan during the time when we were residents there in the early 1970s. In part, we were drawn to these mysterious objects because they appeared to prefigure the forms and designs of later steppe art. Strangely, there was also congruence between their reticulated, highly abstracted renderings of scorpions and birds of prey in bronze, and the designs of recent textile arts of unrelated Central Asian peoples of the 18th and 19th centuries. When we left Afghanistan after the Soviet invasion, we were able to export them through the kind assistance of a Kabul Museum archaeologist, who felt – correctly, as it turned out – that our Bronze Age materials would be safer in the U.S. than in Afghanistan. At the time, almost nothing was known about these materials, as the first archaeological excavations in which they were discovered, those of Raphael Pumpelly in the early 20th century (in what later became Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan) had been cut short by the Bolshevik Revolution. Russian archaeologist Victor Sarianidi was the most important of the Soviet scholars who revived this field after a lengthy hiatus, and his and other works on the period were published beginning in the 1970s. Sarianidi was in Afghanistan at the same time that we were; his famous discovery of the Tilla Tepe gold hoard actually occurred accidentally, while he was excavating an earlier Bronze Age site. Later, the vast majority of the Bronze Age objects in our collection were used to illustrate scholarly works published in the Soviet Union, Russia, Turkmenistan, and the United States, most extensively by Sarianidi in Myths of Ancient Bactria and Margiana on Its Seals and Amulets.
Bactrian and Other 1st - 2nd- 3rd millenium B.C.: below Link to: Hunnish - Epthalite - Sogdian