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This editorial reinforces recent calls for anthropologists to participate more actively in multidisciplinary reappraisals of the concept of civilization. Beyond the dominant relativist model of discrete cultures and historical accounts of complex trading networks across the Eurasian landmass, it is important to recognize the civilizational coagulations that sustained such networks. The challenge is how to explain the dogged persistence of civilizational boundaries in the face of continuous contacts between them, accelerated by modern means of communication.