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The ships and shipping of Indo-Roman trade: A view from the Egyptian Red Sea ports

The ships and shipping of Indo-Roman trade: A view from the Egyptian Red Sea ports
The ships and shipping of Indo-Roman trade: A view from the Egyptian Red Sea ports
The trade networks between the Mediterranean World and the Indian Ocean represent some of the longest maritime routes that were traversed in antiquity.Sea routes stretched from the Red Sea ports of the Egyptian coast, along the East African coast as far as Zanzibar, around the Arabian peninsula to north-west India, and directly across the Indian Ocean from Socotra to modern day Kerala. The mechanics of these routes are well attested through historical documents, for example the Periplus Maris Erythriae. which provide an overview of the extent, general timings, goods and routes of trade.By contrast, the ships that were the main vehicles of this trade are harder to uncover, in part due to the absence of shipwreck evidence of the type seen in the Mediterranean. Archaeological work at the Egyptian ports of Myos Hormos and Berenike has provided a less direct means to uncover the ships of the Indo-Roman world through the recovery of recycled and discarded maritime components from excavated layers at both sites. This archaeological evidence forms the main focus of this paper, allowing a more detailed picture of construction methods, rigging practice, and potential performance to be formulated. Exploration of these themes in turn allows wider comment on the relationship between maritime technologies in the Indian Ocean and Mediterranean during the early first millennium AD to be made.
2294-4281
137-171
Whitewright, Julian
80f5f9b9-3d0d-46bb-a759-7b59f5993bb2
Whitewright, Julian
80f5f9b9-3d0d-46bb-a759-7b59f5993bb2

Whitewright, Julian (2018) The ships and shipping of Indo-Roman trade: A view from the Egyptian Red Sea ports. HEROM. Journal on Hellenistic and Roman Material Culture, 6 (2), 137-171. (In Press)

Record type: Article

Abstract

The trade networks between the Mediterranean World and the Indian Ocean represent some of the longest maritime routes that were traversed in antiquity.Sea routes stretched from the Red Sea ports of the Egyptian coast, along the East African coast as far as Zanzibar, around the Arabian peninsula to north-west India, and directly across the Indian Ocean from Socotra to modern day Kerala. The mechanics of these routes are well attested through historical documents, for example the Periplus Maris Erythriae. which provide an overview of the extent, general timings, goods and routes of trade.By contrast, the ships that were the main vehicles of this trade are harder to uncover, in part due to the absence of shipwreck evidence of the type seen in the Mediterranean. Archaeological work at the Egyptian ports of Myos Hormos and Berenike has provided a less direct means to uncover the ships of the Indo-Roman world through the recovery of recycled and discarded maritime components from excavated layers at both sites. This archaeological evidence forms the main focus of this paper, allowing a more detailed picture of construction methods, rigging practice, and potential performance to be formulated. Exploration of these themes in turn allows wider comment on the relationship between maritime technologies in the Indian Ocean and Mediterranean during the early first millennium AD to be made.

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Accepted/In Press date: 5 February 2018

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 417816
URI: https://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/417816
ISSN: 2294-4281
PURE UUID: b2cea1e2-6e18-425e-a0ab-faa7db7dbe2b

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Date deposited: 14 Feb 2018 17:31
Last modified: 13 Mar 2019 18:55

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