The Archaeology of Seafaring in Ancient South Asia

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Cambridge University Press, Aug 14, 2003 - History - 335 pages
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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.
 

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Contents

Historiography and the maritime landscape
1
12 Historiography
10
13 The maritime landscape
19
14 Geographical knowledge of the Indian Ocean in antiquity
25
Archaeology of trade
27
The palaeoenvironment and location of Mahasthangarh
28
Fishing and sailing communities crosscultural contacts
30
beginnings
37
64 Alliance as political strategy
145
65 The early polities in Sri Lanka
147
66 Political developments in early Southeast Asia
149
67 Royalty and ritual
152
Royal inscriptions from peninsular India
155
The Greeks adventurers travellers and traders
165
71 The explorers
168
72 Hellenistic settlements
172

23 Boat nomads
43
24 Piracy
46
the historical record
47
26 Sailing communities
51
Tamil poems of love and war
53
La longue durée transportation boatbuilding technology and navigation
55
32 The stitched tradition
59
33 Early European response
64
34 The ethnographic evidence
66
35 Boatbuilding centres
70
37 Ownership of vessels
72
38 Organisation of shipping
74
39 Innovation and change
75
310 Repair and maintenance
77
Maritime archaeology of the Indian Ocean
80
Maritime trade networks the beginnings third to second millennia BCE
82
41 Mesopotamian contacts
84
42 The Persian Gulf and early maritime networks
87
43 The Harappan civilisation
91
44 The maritime regions of the Harappans
93
45 Internal networks of trade
96
46 Transition and change
98
Instruments of trade
100
Regional integration late second to early first millenia BCE
103
51 The Persian Gulf
105
52 Socotra
109
53 Peninsular India
111
54 Sri Lanka
117
55 Southeast Asia
120
The megalith builders of peninsular India
125
changing paradigms
127
Consolidation of the political structure
129
theory and practice
133
63 Satavahanas and their successors
136
73 The Nabataeans Sabaeans and Gerrhaeans
175
74 The maritime network
177
75 Christian communities
182
IndoGreek coins
186
The merchant lineage and the guild
188
82 Organisation of inland trade
193
83 The Indian Ocean network
198
84 Foreigners and trade networks
205
85 Money and the use of coins
208
The prevalence of writing
212
Craft production and trading networks multiple meanings
214
91 The trading commodities
216
92 Textiles
217
93 Beads
227
94 Ivory
231
95 Metal artefacts
233
96 Organisation of crafts
235
Shared faith
245
101 Social base of early Buddhism
248
102 The worship of the stupa and the relics
251
103 Pilgrimage
253
104 Ritual and ceremony
255
105 Buddhism and maritime activity
258
106 Archaeology of monastic sites
260
107 Continuity and change
269
Details of relic caskets enshrined
272
Retrospect and prospect
275
112 Future research strategy
279
beginnings of agriculture in peninsular India?
290
Glossary
292
References
296
Index
328
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About the author (2003)

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

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