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Early maritime contacts

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Chapter Summary

This chapter presents some important highlights of early maritime contacts from the Bronze Age to the emergence of Islam. It was an important event because for centuries Mesopotamia became the focus of maritime trade from India and China as well as Yemen and East Africa, frankincense, copper, hard woods and silk were imported in exchange for products like gold and dates. Trade with the spice lands via the Red Sea during the Ptolemaic and Roman periods is well attested in the classical works of Strabo, Pliny the Elder and the Periplus. Many goods from Egypt, East Africa and India came by sea. Some maritime Roman artefacts were found at the site and are available for study by the Southampton team, these include cordage, wood, textiles and metal which help to explain "the components required by ships, for rigging, hull sheathing and construction".

Keywords: Bronze Age; copper; dates; Egypt; gold; Islam; maritime contacts; Mesopotamia; Red Sea; silk



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