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The Archaeology of Bengal: Trading Networks, Cultural Identities

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The objective of this paper is to draw on archaeological data from Bengal to address issues relating to the social and cultural milieu of trade from the 5th-4th centuries BC to the 6th-7th centuries AD. Trading activity by its very nature was mobile, cut across political frontiers and as a result created its own networks of communication and information transfer. Within this extensive trading system, diverse communities in Bengal developed distinctive cultural identities as they interacted with their unique environment as well as with the larger Indic cultural sphere. This cultural identity included religious affiliation and it is important to highlight the vibrancy and dynamism of these cultural identities from the prehistoric period to the 8th-9th centuries AD. L'objectif de cet article est de partir des données archéologiques du Bengale pour en extraire les problématiques en relation avec le milieu social et culturel du monde commercial du 5eme-4eme s. av. J.-C. au 6eme-7eme s. de notre ère. L'activité commerciale fut, par sa nature même, mobile, au-delà des frontières politiques et créa en conséquence ses propres réseaux de communication et de transfert de l'information. Dans le cadre de ce système de commerce extensif, diverses communautés au Bengale ont développé des identités culturelles spécifiques en établissant des relations aussi bien avec leur propre environnement qu'avec la sphère culturelle indienne plus générale. Cette identité culturelle inclut les affiliations religieuses et il est important de mettre en valeur la vivacité et le dynamisme de ces identités culturelles de la période préhistorique au 8eme-9eme siècle de notre ère.


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