Tradition and Archaeology: Early Maritime Contacts in the Indian Ocean

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    Manohar CSH
This volume is a collection of papers presented at the International Seminar on ‘Techno-archaeological Perspectives of Seafaring in the Indian Ocean’ covering the period from the fourth century B.C. to the fifteenth century A.D. The two broad themes covered include archaeological evidence of maritime links, and technological studies of water-craft involved in trade and communication. This inter-disciplinary dialogue provides new insights on early seafaring in the Indian Ocean and questions several existing theories that have continued to be repeated in archaeological and historical writing.Trade did not cease with the decline of empires; instead there were relocations in routes and changes in the participants involved. The focus of traditions of ship-building and navigation for a study of maritime contacts emphasizes the role of innovation and technological change vis-à-vis tradition and continuity.

This addition to the corpus of research on Indian Ocean studies would be useful to the archaeologist, the historian, as also the ethnographer investigating ancient boat-types. It also endeavours to set the tone for a series of research-oriented seminars on the Indian Ocean, the second being held at Lyon in 1996 on Seafaring Communities.

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