John Mock & Kimberley O'Neil



Highlights

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Exploration Highlights

2016 Highlights

John Mock New Published Article about Fieldwork in Wakhan

"Tibetans in Wakhan: New Information on Inscriptions and Rock Art" appears in the Revue d'Etudes Tibétaines, Number 36, October 2016: pp. 121–141. Download a printer friendly version.

The article is translated into Tibetan by Tibet University, Lhasa, faculty member Shawo Khacham, which makes this information about Tibetan history and culture available to the greater Tibetan community.

Wakhan, the remote north-eastern district of Afghanistan’s Badakhshan Province, is intimately connected with the historical Silk Road. Wakhan’s historical archeology is known largely from the British archaeologist Aurel Stein’s visit in 1906. Stein’s focus was the 747 CE battle between forces of the Tibetan and Tang Chinese empires. On five trips to Wakhan, Kimberley O’Neil and John Mock were able to re-visit all sites described by Stein and locate several previously unknown sites. This article expands upon Stein’s descriptions and presents an initial analysis of the new finds, including Tibetan-style watchtowers and numerous Old Tibetan rock inscriptions and associated chorten images, several with inscribed dates. These materials suggest answers to questions raised by Stein and offer new information on the Tibetan Empire in Wakhan, Balur and Central Asia.


Revue d'Etudes Tibétaines, Number 36, October 2016

Wildlife Conservation

"Snow Leopards in Art and Legend of the Pamir," appears in Snow Leopards, Biodiversity of the World: Conservation from Genes to Landscapes, Thomas McCarthy, David Mallon, volume eds., Philip Nyhus, series ed., Academic Press, 644 pages (1st ed. 2016, ISBN 978-0128022139, Buy this book).

The new series, Biodiversity of the World: Conservation from Genes to Landscapes includes titles focused on specific species or taxa across disciplinary boundaries and spatial scales. This book presents the latest information on the elusive snow leopard, including its biology, behavior, and conservation status of the snow leopard, a species that has long been one of the least studied, and hence poorly understood, of the large cats.

It brings together the most current scientific knowledge, documents the most pressing conservation issues, and shares success stories in alleviating the broad threats that now jeopardize the long-term survival of this species. It also brings current knowledge of the species, not only to researchers and conservationists, but also to decision makers, academics, and students.


John Mock Invited to Conference in Poland

John has been invited to the international conference, "Art & Religions in Pre-Islamic Central Asia", to be held at the Polish Institute of World Art Studies and the Manggha Museum of Japanese Art and Technology in Kraków in October 2016.


John Mock Attends Workshop & Lectures in France

Conference at the Nantes Institute for Advanced Studies

John presented a paper, "Sociolinguistic Perspective on Language and Governance in Gilgit-Baltistan: Background, Concepts and Issues" at a workshop on Law and Governance in Gilgit-Baltistan held April 26-28, 2016.

Lecture at the Collège de France

John gave a talk entitled The Tibetan Empire in the Afghan Pamir: Recent Discoveries from Wakhan on April 29, 2016 at the East Asian Civilisations Research Centre (CRCAO).

Summary:

Wakhan, the remote north-eastern district of Afghanistan’s Badakhshan Province, is intimately connected with the historical Silk Roads. Wakhan’s historical archeology is known largely from Aurel Stein’s visit in 1906 and less so from the work of Austrian, German, French and American teams in the early 1970s, who were more focused on natural science and left the sites mentioned by Stein largely unvisited.

Stein’s central focus in Wakhan was on the 747 CE battle between forces of the Tibetan and Tang Chinese empires. During five trips to Wakhan I was able to re-visit all sites described by Stein and locate several new, previously unknown sites. In this illustrated talk, I expand upon Stein’s descriptions and present an initial analysis of the new finds. These include the site of Lien Yu¨n, which Stein discussed but was unable to definitively locate, Tibetan-style fort complexes and watchtowers, and several Old Tibetan rock inscriptions, some with inscribed dates. These materials suggest tentative answers to questions raised by Stein and offer new information on the Tibetan Empire in Wakhan, Balur and Central Asia.


John Mock's Writings in Press for Edited Volume

Wakhi Language

Two chapters entitled "Orality, Literacy and Scholarship: Shifts in Gender, Genre and Performance of Wakhi Oral Expression" and "Recent Developments in Wakhi Orthography," the latter with Fazal Amin Baig and Mir Ali Wakhani, will be published in Languages of Northern Pakistan and Its Surrounding Regions (Linguistic Studies dedicated to the Memory of Carla Radloff), J. Baart, T. Payne, H. Liljegren, eds., Karachi, Oxford University Press (in Press 2016).

2014 Highlights

Wakhan Declared Afghanistan's Second National Park

IUCN World Commission on Protected Areas (WCPA) published in its June 2014, No. 82 issue of The Mountain Protected Areas UPDATE:

"The Wildlife Conservation Society applauds the Afghanistan Government's recent declaration establishing the entire Wakhan District, one of the most remote areas of Afghanistan, as the nation's second national park. The Wakhan National Park, with its beautiful alpine grasslands and craggy mountains, will provide protection for Afghanistan's rare and vulnerable wildlife such as the snow leopard, Marco Polo sheep, lynx, Himalayan ibex and urial. This new protected area will be co-managed by the Afghanistan Government and local communities, providing livelihoods related to the park and improved services to one of the poorest and most isolated regions on earth. The new park, just over 1 million hectares or 4,200 square miles, is in Afghanistan's far northeast, and borders Tajikistan, Pakistan and China; its narrow valley landscape is sandwiched between the Pamir and Hindu Kush Mountains. This huge new protected area is about 25 percent bigger than Yellowstone National Park. Network members John Mock and Kim O'Neil, and George Schaller have been working toward this end. This is indeed good news!"

John Mock's Writings in Progress for Edited Volumes

Wakhan's History and Culture

A chapter entitled "The Red Buddha Hall Road Revisited: New Materials on the History and Culture of Afghanistan’s Wakhan Corridor 7th-9th c. CE," will be published in Archaeology and Cultural Heritage in Pakistan, India and Afghanistan: New Discoveries and Challenges, J. Mark Kenoyer, ed., Karachi, Oxford University Press.

Wakhi Language

Two chapters entitled "Orality, Literacy and Scholarship: Shifts in Gender, Genre and Performance of Wakhi Oral Expression" and "Recent Developments in Wakhi Orthography," will be published in Contributions to Linguistics of Northern Pakistan: Carla Radloff Memorial Volume, J. Baart, T. Payne, H. Liljegren, eds., Summer Institute of Linguistics.

2013 Highlights

New Articles about Fieldwork in Wakhan Published

Rock Art

"New Discoveries of Rock Art in Afghanistan's Wakhan Corridor and Pamir: A Preliminary Study," appears in The Silk Road, 11: Fall 2013. This article is a preliminary and general presentation of rock art in Wakhan District of Afghanistan’s Badakhshan Province. It reviews rock art identified by European expeditions between 1968-1974 and presents five newly identified rock art galleries in both the settled area and in the Pamir regions of Wakhan. The rock art is discussed in comparison with rock art in Tajikistan’s Pamir region, identified by Soviet and Tajik archaeologists; rock art in Ladakh, identified by French archaeologists; and rock art in Pakistan, identified by German archaeologists. Although a precise chronology is not possible at this stage of research, the article suggests that some rock art may have been composed as early as the Bronze Age and some as recently as modern medieval times. The article is concerned with the human use of the Bam-e Dunya or Roof of the World, and with the question of the peopling of Wakhan. The article proposes directions for further study of Afghanistan’s Wakhan and Pamir to better understand the ecological and cultural heritage of the Roof of the World.

The Silk Road, Volume 11, 2013

Old Tibetan Inscriptions

Two articles appear in the Revue d'Etudes Tibétaines, Number 27, October 2013:

  • "A Tibetan Toponym from Afghanistan"
  • "Darkot Revisited: New Information on a Tibetan Inscription and mchod-rten"

These articles discuss Old Tibetan inscriptions in Pakistan's Gilgit-Baltistan and Afghanistan's Wakhan. The inscriptions were made during the Tibetan Imperial era in the 8th century CE, when Tibet controlled the routes through the Pamir. The inscriptions from Wakhan are recent discoveries by John and Kimberley during their extensive fieldwork in Wakhan.

Revue d'Etudes Tibétaines, Number 27, October 2013

Yosemite National Park Fire and Aviation Management Outstanding Achievement Award

Yosemite National Park Fire and Aviation Management Outstanding Achievement Award is presented to John Mock and Kimberley O'Neil in recognition of their procuring funds and conducting hazard fuel reduction projects to potentially reduce the threat of catastrophic wildlife to the community of Yosemite West (2013). Read more.

Development Challenges Confronting Pakistan is Published

John Mock contributed a chapter entitled, "No American, No Gun, No BS: Tourism, Terrorism and the Eighteenth Amendment," to the newly published book Development Challenges Confronting Pakistan.

"Offers congent analysis and astute observations on relevant topics…. Highly recommended." CHOICE

In this book, the global scholarly community concerned with development and social transformation has identified explicit "structural impediments" that constrain countries’ efforts to alleviate poverty and promote sustainable social development. The UNDP, in launching its Millennium Development Goals, contends that there are “practical, proven solutions” to breaking out of the poverty traps that entangle poor countries.

In Pakistan, there has been limited substantive research conducted to identify the unique blend of structural impediments to development that prevail in the country today. Indeed, Pakistan’s prospects to promote viable, sustainable social development appear bleaker today than a decade ago. Development Challenges Confronting Pakistan seeks to rectify this void by bringing together scholars and practitioners—many of them from Pakistan—to provide a scholarly understanding of the structural impediments, or barriers, that have negative effects on Pakistan’s ability to eliminate poverty, promote social justice and implement policies to promote equity. This book will be an essential tool for analysis, study and practice. Its publication is indeed a major event in South Asian scholarship.

"Although scholars and practitioners have identified explicit structural impediments that contrain contries' efforts to alleviate povery and promote sustainable social development, there has been limited research conducted to identify the specific barriers to development that previal in Pakistan today. The authors of Development Challenges Confronting Pakistan go far toward filling this voic, articulating the unique blend of factors that affeect Pakistan's ability to eliminate poverty and promote social justice." Lynne Rienner Publishers

Buy this book, ISBN 1-56549-553-5


2012 Highlights

John Mock Becomes a Getty Images Artist

As of August 1, 2012 John Mock’s creative images are managed exclusively by Getty Images as part of the Lonely Planet Images collection. If you want to view, search for, license and/or download images, just enter the photographer's name (john+mock) into the search box on Getty Images website – or take a look here.

2011 Highlights

Shrine Traditions of Wakhan Afghanistan

"Shrine Traditions of Wakhan Afghanistan" is published in a special issue on the Pamir of the Journal of Persianate Studies, Volume 4, Number 2, 2011. This study, based on field work from 2004-2010, describes the religious, social, and historical context of shrines of Wakhan District of Badakhshan Province, Afghanistan. The study draws comparisons between documented shrine traditions in adjacent Wakhan Tajikistan and in Hunza-Gojal of Pakistan.

Journal of Persianate Studies, Volume 4, No. 2

2008 Highlights

New Edition of Pakistan & the Karakoram Highway

John Mock and Kimberley O'Neil contributed a new "Trekking in Northern Pakistan" chapter to Lonely Planet Publications' Pakistan & Karakoram Highway. Foootscray, Australia: Lonely Planet Publications (7th ed. May 2008).
ISBN 1-74104-542-8
Buy this book
Comments from Pakistan, June 2008
  • "We appreciate your professional contributions towards tourism promotion in Pakistan particularly for the Northern Areas mountain communities who benefited and expect for the better future of tourism. Book cover is so attractive, presenting the best of its own." Saeed Jan, Misgar
  • "Your works are great and commendable." Fazal Amin Beg, Gulmit
  • "Congratulation to the new edition of LP ... Bohut Acha." Maqsood ul Mulk, Chitral
  • "I am thankful to inform me about your new adition. I congratate you and your success. I have seen your new aditon in Madina with some tourists [who] came from England and looked its some pages too." Yaqoob, Gilgit
  • "I [would] like to congratulate for the 7th edition of Lonely Planet, Pakistan and the Karkoram Highway." Ejaz ullah Baig, Baltit
  • "I congratulate you on the publication of [the] new updated edition of Pakistan & the Karakoram Highway. We highly appericiate your contribution in promoting tourism in Northern Areas." Ghadir Shah, Passu

2007 Highlights

"Wakhan & the Afghan Pamir" in "Mazar-e Sharif & Northeastern Afghanistan" in Afghanistan. Footscray, Australia: Lonely Planet Publications (1st ed. August 2007).
ISBN 1740596420
Buy this book

2006 Highlights

Middle of Nowhere

From the Publisher

Lonely Planet's Guide to the Middle of Nowhere is a celebration of travel, the pioneering spirit and the truth that our well-trodden world is still full of places untouched and untrampled - they're all around us, you just need to explore. We take you on tankers to the Antarctic, with armed rebels in Colombia, the neon madness of Vegas and on epic journeys through Africa. Spin the globe, throw away the map, head out and find your own Nowhere.



"The Roof of the World" about the Wakhan Corridor, Afghanistan in The Lonely Planet Guide to the Middle of Nowhere, a semi-pictorial coffee table book, is a travel literature anthology with descriptive essays of quintessential wide open spaces and the "middle of nowhere" (Lonely Planet Publications, pp 170-173, October 2006).
ISBN 1741047846
Buy this book

Wakhan & the Afghan Pamir

Wakhan & the Afghan Pamir, a 16-page tourism brochure with descriptive text, route information and detailed two-page route map, published by the Aga Khan Foundation-Afghanistan (June 2006) for their Wakhan tourism development program.

Read more about our activities in the Wakhan Corridor and the Afghan Pamir.

2005 Highlights

John Mock and Kimberley O'Neil returned to Wakhan for the second consecutive summer. They worked as consultants for the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Technische Zusammenarbeit (GTZ) and Aga Khan Foundation-Afghanistan producing a report, Tourism Promotion in Wakhan District, Badakhshan, Afghanistan (Kabul, Afghanistan, November 2005) that will be used to begin opening Wakhan and the Afghan Pamir to worldwide tourism.

At the end of their fieldwork, they trekked across the Irshad Uween, a pass from the Little Pamir to the Chapursan Valley in Pakistan's Northern Areas, their second consecutive legal international border crossing between Afghanistan and Pakistan made with the full permission of both governments.


2004 Highlights

Recipients of 2004 Shipton/Tilman Grant

John Mock and Kimberley O'Neil traveled to Afghanistan's Wakhan Corridor. Their successful expedition to the source of the Oxus River in the Wakhjir Valley and across the Dilisang Pass to Misgar in Pakistan was supported by the 2004 GORE-TEX Brand ® Shipton/Tilman Grant awarded by W.L. Gore & Associates, Inc. Read the expedition report, or read it on W.L. Gore's / WINDSTOPPER ® Adventure Diaries. Play the expedition slide show.

2002 Highlights

Winners of the 2002 National Outdoor Book Award

John Mock and Kimberley O'Neil were awarded the 2002 National Outdoor Book Award in the Adventure Guidebook Category in Honor of Outstanding Writing in the Outdoor Field for the 1st edition of Hiking in the Sierra Nevada.


2000 Highlights

Recipients of 2000 Shipton/Tilman Grant

John Mock and Kimberley O'Neil completed a successful trekking expedition to the Oprang Valley in the northern Karakoram Range of Pakistan's Northern Areas. They trekked more than 250 kilometers, crossed five different 5,000-meter passes, and traversed six different glaciers. The expedition met its three proposed objectives:

  • to cross the Mai Dur Pass, linking Qachqar-e-dur and Ghuzherav Mai Dur, which had been crossed by westerners only twice in the twentieth century;
  • to reconnoiter and cross two previously unknown passes over the watershed between South Asia and Central Asia linking the Ghidims Valley, a tributary of the Ghuzherav Valley with the Sher Ilaw Valley, a tributary of the Oprang Valley that had never been visited by any westerner nor any woman; and
  • to reach the Oprang Valley, which had previously been visited only once by a westerner in 1934.
The expedition was supported by the 2000 GORE-TEX Brand ® Shipton/Tilman Grant awarded by W.L. Gore & Associates, Inc. Read the expedition report or read an expedition summary in The American Alpine Journal (2001).



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