Mariana Castro, a fourth-year PhD candidate at ISAW, is one of 12 recipients of the UNESCO Silk Roads Youth Research Grant. Her project "Turquoise Extraction and Exchange in Pre-Modern Central Asia" was selected from pool of nearly 800 research proposals. According to the program description, this grant aims to emphasize the "shared heritage and plural identities of the Silk Roads, as well as its internal diversity, and potential in contemporary societies for creativity, intercultural dialogue, social cohesion, regional and international cooperation, and ultimately sustainable peace and development". Mariana will conduct a preliminary survey of turquoise mining complexes in the inner Kyzyl Kum Desert of Uzbekistan, where this stone has been extracted since prehistoric times. The project contributes to our understanding of pre-modern mining communities and will clarify ancient regional and supra-regional exchange networks. 

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