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Title: The Siren of Cirebon : a tenth-century trading vessel lost in the Java Sea
Author: Liebner, Horst Hubertus
ISNI:       0000 0004 5349 8623
Awarding Body: University of Leeds
Current Institution: University of Leeds
Date of Award: 2014
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This thesis examines data collected during the salvage of the cargo of a merchant ves-sel foundered in the Java Sea, by a short inscription in a fragment of a bowl and coins dat-ed to around 970 CE. The wreck’s position indicates that the ship was on her way to the island of Java; the verssel herself belongs into the so called ‘lashed-lug and doweled’, Western Austronesian (‘Malayo-Indonesian’) tradition of boat-building. The surviving cargo ranges from Chinese stonewares and Southeast Asian ceramics to Middle Eastern glassware, tin and lead from –proposedly– the Malay Archipelago, and a wide variety of “smaller finds”, most of which can be attributed to the broader area of the western Indian Ocean. The find palpably demonstrates the far-reaching and well-institutionalised trade rela-tions throughout early medieval Asia. It is often assumed that pre-modern Asian com-merce was largely organised in small-scale ventures, the so called “pedlar trade”, and a number of sources indicate structural features of the ships facilitating this commerce that could have supported such a “particularised” exchange. However, a critical assessment of the composition and distribution of the ship’s payload and a virtual reconstruction of the ship and her initial loading pattern reveal that the vessel’s ceramic cargo in all probability was not acquired, handled, and bound to be marketed as a particularised “peddling” ven-ture, but managed by a single authority. The huge amount of ceramics carried on the ves-sel raises questions regarding frequency, volume and modus operandi of maritime ex-changes in tenth-century Southeast Asia, implying that the ship’s tragic voyage was but an attempt at instituting a virtual monopoly in such trade.
Supervisor: Caldwell, I. Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available