A Seat at the Table: Addressing Artefact Biases in Asian Shipwreck Assemblages

Dublin Core

Title

A Seat at the Table: Addressing Artefact Biases in Asian Shipwreck Assemblages

Description

The ceramic trade throughout Medieval Southeast Asia was prolific. Terrestrial sites have yielded massive amounts of ceramic material and the archaeological reports of shipwreck cargoes corroborate the versatile and extensive qualities of trade ceramics in the region. The sheer quantity of ceramic artefacts found in shipwreck assemblages, paired with a well-researched framework of the aesthetic, show that there is no doubt that we rely heavily on ceramic data to date wrecks and establish regional trading patterns. This paper will debate that we are too 'ceramo-centric' in our analyses of shipwrecks. While ceramics typically represent the bulk of the recovered material in these instances, many other types of media are present in the assemblage. Yet, these “lesser” materials suffer from a lack of investigation and therefore play virtually no role in the archaeological and historical assessment. This case study focuses on the non- ceramic assemblages for six shipwrecks from the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries of Southeast Asia (three Chinese-built and three Southeast Asian-styled junks). The typological study of the metallurgical, organic and geological material from these wrecks can complement much of the work surrounding existing trade models as well as reveal new concepts of crew life, belief systems and culture. These facets come together to offer a more holistic narrative as well as stimulating the need within the region for more study regarding the locations where past peoples mined and manufactured raw metals.

Creator

Brian M. Fahy, in Van Tilburg, H., Tripati, S., Walker Vadillo, V., Fahy, B., and Kimura, J. (eds.)

Date

5/15/2014

Files

Citation

Brian M. Fahy, in Van Tilburg, H., Tripati, S., Walker Vadillo, V., Fahy, B., and Kimura, J. (eds.), “A Seat at the Table: Addressing Artefact Biases in Asian Shipwreck Assemblages,” The MUA Collection, accessed February 8, 2023, http://www.themua.org/collections/items/show/1603.

Document Viewer