The Maritime Silk Road
Global Connectivities, Regional Nodes, Localities
Amsterdam University Press
The Maritime Silk Road foregrounds the numerous networks that have been woven across oceanic geographies, tying world regions together often far more extensively than land-based routes. On the strength of the new data which has emerged in the last two decades in the form of archaeological findings, as well as new techniques such as GIS modelling, the authors collectively demonstrate the existence of a very early global maritime trade. From architecture to cuisine, and language to clothing, evidence points to early connections both within Asia and between Asia and other continents—well before European explorations of the Global South. The human stories presented here offer insights into both the extent and limits of this global exchange, showing how goods and people travelled vast distances, how they were embedded in regional networks, and how local cultures were shaped as a result.
Franck Billé is a cultural anthropologist based at the University of California, Berkeley, where he is program director for the Tang Center for Silk Road Studies. He is the author of Sinophobia (Hawaii, 2015), coauthor of On the Edge (Harvard, 2021), editor of Voluminous States (Duke, 2020), and coeditor of Yellow Perils (Hawaii, 2019) and Frontier Encounters (Open Book, 2012). He is currently finalizing his latest book, Somatic States: On Cartography, Geobodies, Bodily Integrity (Duke University Press). More information about his current research is available on his website: www.franckbille.com.
Sanjyot Mehendale is Chair of the P.Y. and Kinmay W. Tang Center for Silk Road Studies and Vice Chair of the Center for Buddhist Studies at UC Berkeley. Her main research concerns is a focus on the Kushan period, in particular on trade and cultural exchange and the relationship between Kushan kingship and Buddhist institutions. A recipient of a National Endowment for the Humanities Fellowship, she has developed, in collaboration with the Electronic Cultural Atlas Initiative, a digital archive of the Begram ivory and bone carvings, which were once housed in the National Museum in Kabul, Afghanistan (www.ecai.org/begramweb=). The author of several articles on Silk Roads art and archaeology, she is the co-editor of Central Asia and the Caucasus: Transnationalism and Diaspora (Routledge, 2005).
James W. Lankton is currently a Senior Research Associate at UCL Institute of Archaeology in London and has been a Visiting Scholar at the Tang Center for Silk Road Studies, UC Berkeley. For the past twenty years James has focused on the interpretation of chemical analyses of early glass found both East and West, with recent projects on glass from South and Southeast Asia and Korea in the late 1st c. BCE to the 6th c. CE, and Egypt and the Mediterranean basin from the Late Bronze Age.
Willem van Schendel, Professor of History, University of Amsterdam and International Institute of Social History, the Netherlands. He works with the history, anthropology and sociology of Asia. Recent works include A History of Bangladesh (2020), Embedding Agricultural Commodities (2017, ed.), The Camera as Witness (2015, with J. L. K. Pachuau). See uva.academia.edu/WillemVanSchendel.
Hyunhee Park (Ph.D. Yale University) is a Professor of history at the City University of New York, John Jay College and the CUNY Graduate Center. She specializes in the history of cross-cultural contacts in East Asia and the Islamic World, in Sino-Islamic contacts in particular, in the Mongol Empire, and global history, focusing on information/knowledge transfers, including transfers of geographical knowledge, foodways, and distillation technologies. She authored Mapping the Chinese and Islamic Worlds: Cross_x0002_Cultural Exchange in Pre-Modern Asia (2012), Soju: A Global History (2021), and 30 articles for academic journals and edited volumes.
Derek Heng is Professor of History at Northern Arizona University. He specializes in the pre-modern trans-regional history of Maritime Southeast Asia and the South China Sea, utilizing textual and archaeological data to study the interactions between Southeast Asia and China, and their impact on the state formation process in coastal Southeast Asia. He is the author of Sino-Malay Trade and Diplomacy in the Tenth Through the Fourteenth Century (Athens: Ohio University Press, 2009), and has published several articles and essays in the Journal of Southeast Asian Studies, Journal of Sung-Yuan Studies and International History Review. He also writes on the history and historiography of Singapore’s past, and is the co-author of Seven Hundred Years: A History of Singapore (Singapore: National Library Board, 2019).
Eivind Heldaas Seland is Professor of ancient history and premodern global history at the University of Bergen, Norway. Among his latest books are Ships of the Desert, Ships of the Sea. Palmyra in the World Trade of the first three centuries CE (2016), and A Global History of the Ancient World. Africa, Asia and Europe before Islam (2021).
Osmund Bopearachchi is Emeritus Director of Research of the French National Center for Scientific Research (C.N.R.S.-E.N.S. Paris), former Adjunct Professor of Central and South Asian Art, Archaeology, and Numismatics, University of California, Berkeley and former Visiting Professor and Member of the Doctoral School of the Paris-Sorbonne University. Professor Osmund Bopearachchi is a numismatist, art historian, and archaeologist. He is the author of 14 books, 5 exhibition catalogues; 2 book translations; editor of 6 volumes; author of 145 research articles and 9 prefaces; and 14 book reviews in reputed international journals and 2 databases.
Ariane de Saxcé is Research Associate for South and South-East Asia at the German Archaeological Institute, Commission for Non-European Cultures (KAAK), Bonn. She received her PhD from the University of Paris-Sorbonne in 2015, with a thesis entitled “Trade, Interactions, Networks: Maritime Exchanges in the ‘Erythraean Sea’ between the 3rd c. BCE and the 7th c. CE,” with a scholarship from the National Institute of Art History (Paris) and the Getty Research Institute (Los Angeles). For her Post-Doctoral research at the École Pratique des Hautes Études (Paris), she worked on religious and cultural interactions of Sri Lanka at the early medieval period. Now in the KAAK, she is excavating on the West coast of Sri Lanka and on the Jaffna peninsula.
Jun Kimura is a maritime archaeologist and an associate professor at Tokai University. His doctorate degree is from Flinders University, Australia. Dr. Kimura is also a member of the ICOMOS-International Committee on the Underwater Cultural Heritage. His research focus is the archaeological study of shipbuilding in East Asian and Southeast Asian regions. Dr. Kimura is an expert in underwater survey and excavation with a number of fieldwork experiences at wreck sites. His scholarly publications include “Naval Bat_x0002_tlefield Archaeology ofthe Lost Kublai Khan Fleets” and Archaeology of East Asian Shipbuilding Tradition.
John Miksic is emeritus professor in the Southeast Asian Studies Depart_x0002_ment of the National University of Singapore and senior research fellow at the School of Humanities, Nanyang Technological University. His book Singapore and the Silk Road of the Sea won the inaugural award for best book on Singapore history in 2018. His specialties include historical archaeology of Southeast Asia, urbanization, trade, ancient Buddhism, and ceramics.
Shadreck Chirikure is an archaeological scientist who specializes in materials analysis in archaeology. He holds the Edward Hall Professorship of Archaeological Science in the Research Laboratory for Archaeology and the History of Art, School of Archaeology, Oxford. He is also British Academy Global Professor in the same institution. Previously, he was profes_x0002_sor of Archaeology at the University of Cape Town where he directed the Archaeological Materials Laboratory. He is the author of Metals in Past Societies (Springer).