Trade and containerisation. Perspectives from the Indian Ocean world.

Date

2020-12-31

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Book chapter

Peer reviewed

Yes

Abstract

This contribution begins with an overview of the scholarship on pre-modern Indian Ocean trade and current knowledge about technologies of trade in the western Indian Ocean. Viewing containerisation as a distinct and often neglected technology within tools of exchange, the sources and issues associated with the understanding of historical practices of containerisation of traded commodities across this vast, culturally diverse area are then explored in more detail. Parts two and three of the contribution focus on both hard containerisation in the form of ceramic storage and transport jars, and on soft containerisation as represented by sacks and bales. Although ceramics are the most visible and durable indexes of medieval exchanges and trade, in the Indian Ocean world textile bales and sacks were the preferred materials for packing and transporting solid commodities. Future studies of Indian Ocean trade must continue to work with both technologies, however varied their patterns of survival and problematical their interpretation.

Description

This paper was produced as part of my participation in an ERC funded workshop. I was not named on the grant application.

Keywords

Indian Ocean, trade, commerce, containerisation, ceramics, storage jars, sacks, bales

Citation

Lambourn, E. (2020) Trade and containerisation. Perspectives from the Indian Ocean world. In: L. Rahmstorf and G. Barjamovic eds. Weight and Value, vol. 2. Neumünster: Wachholtz Verlag.

Rights

Research Institute

Institute of History