A Prehistoric Maritime Silk Road: Merchants, Boats, Cloth and Jade

    Research output: Contribution to conferencePaper

    Abstract

    It would be difficult to overstate the significance of the Silk Road in the transmission of commodities, people and ideas between the superpowers of the first millennium: China and Rome. Although the overland trade route that became known as the Silk Road was established during the Han Dynasty (206 BC-220 AD), silk was actually transported beyond Chinese borders long beforehand. As archaeologists know, the trade routes of the historical period are not infrequently based on prehistoric trade routes, reconstructed by sourcing materials excavated from dated archaeological sites. Recently, Chinese archaeologists (Han 2012) demonstrated this, identifying a series of inter-connected prehistoric trade routes called the Painted Pottery Road linking China to the West, establishing interregional interaction along the Silk Road millennia earlier than the historical period. Because textiles do not usually survive in the archaeological record, by necessity reconstructions are generally based on durable materials such as pottery. Although the concept of a prehistoric trade route linking the East and West was initially proposed almost a century ago to explain parallels between Yangshao pottery from the Yellow River and Mediterranean pottery (Andersson 1923), the Painted Pottery Road is based on new archeological data and it far more extensive.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages58-69
    Publication statusPublished - 2015
    EventThe 6th Session of Academic Forum of China Maritime Museum 2015 - Shanghai
    Duration: 1 Jan 2015 → …

    Conference

    ConferenceThe 6th Session of Academic Forum of China Maritime Museum 2015
    Period1/01/15 → …

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