This is a study of the history, archaeology, and numismatics of Central Asia, an area of great significance for our understanding of the ancient and early medieval world. This vast, land-locked region, with its extreme continental climate, was a centre of civilization with great metropolises. Its cosmopolitan population followed different religions (Zoroastrianism, Christianity, Buddhism), and traded extensively with China, India, the Middle East, and Europe. The millennium from the overthrow of the first world empire of Achaemenian Persians by Alexander the Great to the arrival of the Arabs and Islam was a period of considerable change and conflict. The book focuses on investigations in Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan, providing a complex analysis of the symbiosis between the city life based on oases, and the nomadic peoples grazing their animals in the surrounding semi-deserts. Other topics include the influence of the Greek colonists on military architecture, and the major impact of the Great Kushans on the spread of Buddhism and on the development of the Central Asian metropolis. Although written documents rarely survive, coinage has provided essential evidence for the political and cultural history of the region.