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The Archaeology of Seafaring in Ancient South Asia

The Archaeology of Seafaring in Ancient South Asia


Part of Cambridge World Archaeology

  • Date Published: August 2003
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9780521011099

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About the Authors
  • Prior to European expansion, communities of the Indian subcontinent had a strong maritime orientation. In this new archaeological study, Himanshu Prabha Ray explores seafaring activity, religious travel and political economy in this ancient period. By using archaeological data from the Red Sea to the Indonesian archipelago, she reveals how the early history of peninsular South Asia is interconnected with that of its Asian and Mediterranean partners in the Indian Ocean Region. The book departs from traditional studies, focusing on the communities' maritime history rather than agrarian expansion and the emergence of the state. Rather than being a prime mover in social, economic and religious change, the state is viewed as just one participant in a complex interplay of social actors, including merchants, guilds, boat-builders, sailors, pilgrims, religious clergy and craft-producers. A study that will be welcomed by students of Archaeology and Ancient History, particularly those interested in South Asian Studies.

    • First comprehensive study of the Indian Ocean region in antiquity
    • Highlights boat-building and maritime archaeology within developments in political economy of ancient South Asia
    • Presents archaeological and textual sources to debate the global nature of the pre-modern world
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    Product details

    • Date Published: August 2003
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9780521011099
    • length: 350 pages
    • dimensions: 244 x 173 x 23 mm
    • weight: 0.68kg
    • contains: 14 b/w illus. 4 colour illus. 22 maps 5 tables
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    Part I. Historiography and the Maritime Landscape:
    1. The perspective
    2. Historiography
    3. The maritime landscape
    4. Geographical knowledge of the Indian Ocean in antiquity: Part II. Fishing and Sailing Communities: Cross-Cultural Contacts
    5. Marine and coastal resources
    6. Maritime communities
    7. Boat nomads
    8. Piracy
    9. Fishing communities: the historical record
    10. Sailing communities: Part III. La Longue Durée: Transportation
    Boat-Building Technology and Navigation:
    11. Archaeology of the boat
    12. The stitched tradition
    13. Early European response
    14. The ethnographic evidence
    15. Boat-building centres
    16. Traditional navigation
    17. Ownership of vessels
    18. Organisation of shipping
    19. Organisation of shipping
    20. Innovation and change
    21. Repair and maintenance
    22. Chronology of disjunction: Part IV. Maritime Trade Networks: The Beginnings (third-second millenia BCE)
    23. Mesopotamian contacts
    24. The Persian Gulf and early maritime networks
    25. The Harappan civilization
    26. The maritime regions of the Harappans
    27. Networks of trade: internal
    28. Transition and change: Part V. Regional Integration: (late second - first millennium BCE)
    29. The Persian Gulf
    30. Socotra
    31. Peninsular India
    32. Sri Lanka
    33. Southeast Asia: Part VI. Consolidation of Political Structure:
    34. The setting
    35. Political concepts in early Buddhism: theory and practice
    36. Satavahanas and their successors
    37. Alliance as political strategy
    38. The early policies in Sri Lanka
    39. Political developments in early Southeast Asia
    40. Royalty and ritual: Part VII. The Greeks: Adventurers, Traders and Travellers
    41. The explorers
    42. Hellenistic settlements
    43. The Nabataeans, Sabeans and Gerrhaeans
    44. The maritime network
    45. Christian communities: Part VIII. Merchant Lineage and the Guild
    46. Merchant communities and interaction with the state
    47. Organisation of inland trade
    48. The Indian Ocean network
    49. Foreigners and trade networks
    50. Money and the use of coins: Part IX. Multiple Meanings: Craft Production and Trade Networks:
    51. The trading commodities
    52. The textiles
    53. Beads
    54. Ivory
    55. Metal artefacts
    56. Organisation of crafts: Part X Shared Faith:
    57. Social base of early Buddhism
    58. The worship of the Stupa and the Relics
    59. Pilgrimage
    60. Ritual and ceremony
    61. Buddhism and maritime activity
    62. Archaeology of monastic sites
    63. Continuity and change: Part XI. Retrospect and Prospect:
    64. In conclusion
    65. Future research strategy.

  • Author

    Himanshu Prabha Ray, Jawaharlal Nehru University
    Himanshu Prabha Ray is Associate Professor at the Centre for Historical Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University.

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