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The Archaeology of Seafaring in Ancient South Asia


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Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

Himanshu Prabha Ray looks at the maritime orientation of communities of the Indian subcontinent prior to European expansion. She uses archaeological data to reveal the connections between the early history of peninsular South Asia and its Asian and Mediterranean partners in the Indian Ocean region. Differing from traditional works on the subject, the book discusses maritime history in the broader sense of ancient seafaring activity, religious travel and political economy rather than focusing specifically on maritime trade and shipping.


This is an archaeological study of the Indian subcontinent's ancient maritime history, before European expansion.


This is an archaeological study of the Indian subcontinent"s ancient maritime history, before European expansion.

About the Author

HIMANSHU PRABHA RAY is Associate Professor at the Centre for Historical Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University.

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 Dure: 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.

Product Details

Ray, Himanshu Prabha
Cambridge University Press
Alcock, Susan
Yoffee, Norman
Yoffee, Norman
Indian ocean region
Merchant marine
India - Commerce - Indian Ocean Region -
Indian Ocean Region - Commerce - India -
International - General
Edition Number:
Edition Description:
Cambridge world archaeology
Series Volume:
IG 13a
Publication Date:
Grade Level:
College/higher education:
4 line diagrams 10 half-tones 5 tabl

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Related Subjects

History and Social Science » Archaeology » General
History and Social Science » Asia » India » Ancient and General
History and Social Science » Politics » General
History and Social Science » World History » Ancient History
History and Social Science » World History » India
Languages » ESL » General

The Archaeology of Seafaring in Ancient South Asia New Trade Paper
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Product details 350 pages Cambridge University Press - English 9780521011099 Reviews:
"Synopsis" by , This is an archaeological study of the Indian subcontinent's ancient maritime history, before European expansion.
"Synopsis" by , This is an archaeological study of the Indian subcontinent"s ancient maritime history, before European expansion.
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