Silk Road Briefing Sponsors Expedition To Find The Source Of The Oxus River

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Horseman in the Wakhan Corridor near No Shaq, a 7500 metre peak

Silk Road Briefing, published by the Asian investing professional services firm Dezan Shira & Associates, is sponsoring an expedition to discover the source of the Oxus River in Afghanistan, one of the countries along the ancient Silk Road routes.

Last year Silk Road Briefing sponsored the New Silk Road Project which saw two Oxford Undergraduates drive from London to China across the roads earmarked as part of China’s Belt & Road Initiative.

The Oxford Expedition To Discover The Source Of The Oxus has as its patron one of the last centuries most famous explorers, Sir Ranulph Fiennes, as well as the Marquis of Salisbury, and will take several months to complete its aims. As the Expedition itself states, “Somewhere in the Wakhan Corridor in Afghanistan, the River Oxus rises before, thousands of miles later, spending itself in the wastes of the Aral Sea. Extraordinarily, its exact source is still not known to geographers.

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Over the last 200 years at least four different sources have been proposed. All are in the Small and Large Pamirs, spectacularly beautiful wildernesses in Afghanistan which Marco Polo called ‘the Roof of the World’ long before Tibet laid claim to the title. The Pamirs themselves are enormous grassy basins 14,000 feet high, approached only by yak or horse and occupied by a small number of Kyrgyz nomads. Now, finally, the question of its source can be decided by an Expedition that spends enough time in the Pamirs to apply modern scientific instruments to the question to decide it once and for all”.

The Oxford Expedition will establish conclusively which of the four proposed sources is the true source of the Oxus, laying to rest a question that has preoccupied geographers since the nineteenth century.

It will do this by measuring the flow scientifically at the following places:
1. Roshan/Vomar
2. Qala Panj.
3. The eastern exit of Lake Chakmaktin.
4. The conjunction of the Little Pamir and Wakhjir rivers.
And then..
5. Finding the source of the Chelab, somewhere on the watershed of the Great and Small Pamirs.

Leading the expedition are Matthew Leeming and Colin Boyle who will hopefully be announcing their finding of the source at the Royal Geographic Society in London and New York. An account of the expedition by Matthew Leeming will also be published at a later date by Picador.

Chris Devonshire-Ellis Chairman of Dezan Shira & Associates comments “As an adventurous firm ourselves, we have a long history of sponsoring expeditions throughout Asia, and are pleased to be assisting with this exciting adventure. We will keep our readers updated with progress on this exciting and ambitious challenge.”

The Oxford Expedition To Discover The Source Of The Oxus website is here


About Us

Silk Road Briefing is produced by Dezan Shira & Associates. Chris Devonshire-Ellis is the practice Chairman. The firm has 26 years of China operations with offices throughout China, Asia and Europe. Please refer to our Belt & Road desk or visit our website at for further information.



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Afghanistan Now Part of China’s Central Asian Push

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