University of Wisconsin–Madison

Dr. Lisa C. Niziolek

March 03, 2017
206 Ingraham Hall

Early Maritime Trade in the South China Sea Region: Evidence of Globalization?

Dr. Lisa C. Niziolek
Boone Research Scientist, Asian Anthropology
Integrative Research Center
The Field Museum

Globalization has become a central concern of anthropology, and, recently, scholars have debated its definition, origins, and social implications. For example, some contend that it is a process associated with modern times while others argue that the first long-lived networks involving regular, transregional trade emerged between East Asia and the Mediterranean around AD 1000. It has become increasingly evident, based on a growing corpus of data, that long-distance economic and social interactions were very important in the ancient world in many different regions and had transformative effects on the communities involved. In this lecture, I examine current debates surrounding globalization and discuss how shipwrecks and other maritime archaeological sites can be used to investigate this phenomenon in East and Southeast Asia during the late first to mid-second millennia AD. In particular, I will highlight the Java Sea Shipwreck, a 12th-13th-century trading vessel thought to have been sailing from China to Java when it foundered in the Java Sea.