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Title: Maritime cultures of the Erythraean Sea
Author: Thomas, Ross Iain
ISNI:       0000 0004 2677 7213
Awarding Body: University of Southampton
Current Institution: University of Southampton
Date of Award: 2009
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In the first three centuries AD an explosion in the long distance trade between the Roman Empire and various states in India, East Africa and South Arabia, known as the Erythraean Sea Trade, was sparked by Roman Imperial interests and the expensive tastes of Rome’s growing elite. In the north of the Red Sea, this created bustling, cosmopolitan port communities at Aila, Berenike and Myos Hormos. The peoples of both Egypt and Nabataea could only await the implications for their lives in being subject to empire and the economic opportunities available through providing for its elite. More specifically, these annexed kingdoms had indigenous populations who inhabited the desert coastal regions of the Red Sea, which were perceived in antiquity as being ethnically distinct and whose various relationships with the Roman Imperial authorities were varied, often chequered. Here they are discussed. The purpose of this study is to discover the role of maritime activities in the construction of group identities in the Northern Red Sea ports of the first three centuries AD. This question has five component parts: How is group identity (such as ethnicity) defined? How is identity represented archaeologically? How to identify maritime activities? How important were maritime activities in defining group identities? And: How can we recognise the various power relationships that shaped these identities? This study provides detailed analysis of original material from Aila, Berenike and Myos Hormos, namely maritime artefacts that cover many finds groups (metal, cordage, basketry, bone, shell, horn, wood, pitch, stone) as well as reanalysis of published or forthcoming material from the finds groups of ceramics, stoppers, and faunal remains from these sites. These artefacts provide an independent source of information with which to compare historical documents on these communities. This is an original approach to the question of how ethnic identity was distinguished within port communities through assessing consumption practices (such as diet) and maritime activities.
Supervisor: Blue, Lucy Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: CC Archaeology