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Afghanistan: Is Geography Destiny?

How did this Asian stone find its way to an African tomb thousands of years ago? (

How did this Asian stone find its way to an African tomb thousands of years ago? ()

The early civilizations—Nile River Valley, Minoan, Indus, and the Yellow River Valley—were great centers of complex and urban cultures. We don’t typically think of them as part of a global trade network. But emerging evidence questions whether long-distance trade between continents happened centuries earlier than we commonly believe.


For example, consider that lapis lazuli, a mineral excavated in present-day Afghanistan, found its way into Egyptian tombs. A common root language in the region (indeed, the root language for English) suggests pre-historical connections among people. Architecture, irrigation systems, and other complex infrastructural patterns are found throughout Eurasia, despite long distances between them.

Students are challenged to analyze whether evidence of continental trade and connections in pre-history. To do so, students must think like an archaeologist and historian, examine evidence, and draw conclusions whether the great Eurasian crossroads regions witnessed global trade as early as the third millennium BCE.

Students create a museum exhibition presenting and defending their thesis on early civilization and globalization.

Along the way, students examine primary and secondary source evidence from the region, and start to detect patterns that repeat throughout history, and gain a deeper understanding of why this region has been a focal point in world history—and contemporary international relations.

Download the full lesson plan, and visit our website on Afghan history, Homeland Afghanistan