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HIST 1003: World History to 1600: Assignment

This guide is designed to help you find resources for your collaborative group project on The Silk Road

Collaborative Group Project

The Silk Road was not a paved road, nor was silk the only or even the most important item carried. Rather, the Silk Road was a network of ancient trade routes across Central Asia that linked people, ideas, goods, technology, and diseases from Rome to China during the period from c. 500 B.C. to A.D. 1500.

This semester you will work on a collaborative project that will investigate the nature of the Silk Road, and the impact of the trade route and the peoples who inhabited it on the development of associated civilizations. You are assigned to a particular group; your group will be responsible for researching, writing, and presenting information on your assigned city in three stages this semester. 

Locating and Citing Resources:

You may use the links provided to you on Moodle, but must use additional outside resources, many of which you can locate through this guide. All resources you cite must meet the criteria for a credible academic or reference source (Learn more about evaluating your resources). Wikipedia, amazon book reviews,, yahoo answers and such are NOT reliable internet sources. Restrict your Internet sources to those from a credible NEWS site or university/research center (.edu sites, British Library, museums etc.) If you have a question on the appropriateness of a source, please ask your instructor beforehand. If plagiarism is detected, the group member who contributed the material will be penalized and/or reported.

All outside information should be cited with parenthetical citation including a web-link.  (Example: Silk Road project,  For print resources, parenthetical citations (Author, Title, Page) will suffice. Full bibliographic information following Chicago style should be included for EACH source used in alphabetical order at the end of the paper. 

Part I

Collaborative Historical Background

(100 points - 10% of your total grade)

Research and write a 5-page paper (1250-1500 words) answering the questions below. This should be a proper paper with an introduction, thesis, body, and conclusion.

Summarize broadly how the Silk Road developed in general from the time period 500 B.C. to A.D. 1500.

  1. Summarize the rise and fall of the Silk Road as a whole. Broadly, what factors led the Silk Road to develop as a main conduit of trade?
  2. When and how did the city your group was assigned exert the most influence? What goods or services did your city specialize in (did it change over time?)
  3. How did political change, religious change, and/or war affect your city throughout the time period? Which groups (ethnic, class, etc.) exerted power or influence in your city at different times?
  4. What historical factors contributed to the decline of the importance of the Silk Road in the 16th century? More specifically, how did your city fare through this decline, and how did the city develop/decline/adapt in the centuries after?

Once you are given your assignment, your group should coordinate research on your assigned city using the Silk Road project wiki. Each group member is required to contribute in a significant manner to the summary. Although you will be graded on the quality of your answers as a whole, other members will not penalized for individual lack of participation. If you experience an issue with communication or follow through with a member of your group, please contact the instructor immediately. 

The group as a whole is responsible for the proper editing of submitted information. Each member should submit the SAME paper to turn-it in on Moodle by the assignment deadline of FRIDAY, September 23rd (11:59pm).

Part II

Wiki Assignment

(100 points - 10% of your total grade)

Create a wiki page on Moodle about your city and its history through the lens of the Silk Road. Continue your research using the resources on this guide and the links available on Moodle. If you use information outside of this guide, you must be sure that all resources you cite meet the criteria for a credible academic or reference source.

Each entry should consist of the following information:

  1. A revised and refined Silk Road summary your group created during week 3.
  2. At least 2 maps and at least 4 photographs/illustrations integrated into the text and cited with appropriate information including http:// link.
  3. A more detailed discussion of everyday life in your city:
  • How was the population divided (class, religion, ethnicity)?
  • What can you find out about the roles of men and women? Children?
  • What did people eat, where did they work etc…. what was life like for the upper or priestly classes?
  • The information you are able to gather will depend on your particular city - try to construct as vivid a narrative of everyday life as you can.

All group discussion should take place in the group forum (not by private email, text, etc - you will not get credit). As with the previous assignment, each group member is required to contribute in a significant manner to the summary. Although you will be graded on the quality of your answers as a whole, group members will not be penalized for lack of participation by other members. If you experience an issue with communication or follow through with a member of your group, please contact the instructor immediately.

The wiki should be properly formatted, sourced and finished by the assignment deadline of Friday, November 4 (11:59pm).





Part III

Silk Road Summary Paper

(100 points - 10% of your total grade)

Use the information provided in all of the wikis submitted by each of the research groups in the class to write a summary paper examining the history of the Silk Road as presented by members of your class. Papers should address the history of the Silk Road as a whole, summarize what they have learned in the wiki entries about each of the cities researched this semester, and evaluate the information provided in the wikis (what is interesting, what is strong, what is missing from the entries?). All information should be taken from the wikis and cited with a link to the wiki itself. (Example - Wiki - Palmyra,

Your paper should be 5 pages long (1250-1500 words) and consist of an introduction (with thesis statement), body and conclusion. Papers will be graded according to the effective use and evaluation of the information provided in the wikis, as well on grammar, structure, style and citation. This is an individual assignment - each paper should be uniquely authored and will be checked with turn-it-in.

Papers should be submitted to Moodle by the assignment deadline of TUESDAY, November 22 (5:00pm).