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Title: Sri Lanka and the Indian Ocean contacts : internal networks and external connections
Author: Bohingamuwa, Wijerathne
ISNI:       0000 0004 6498 4117
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2017
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This study reconceptualises Sri Lanka's external trade and interactions from the middle of the first millennium BC to the early second millennium AD. Unlike earlier analyses, mine draws on the excavated material culture from three port-cum-urban centres - Mantai, Kantharodai and Kirinda - which were linked to major urban complexes, interior resource bases and Indian Ocean maritime networks. The scale and intensity of their external trade and connectivity, crafts and industries varied greatly over time and location. My findings illustrate Sri Lanka's earliest cultural-commercial connections with India from the middle of the first millennium BC. By the beginning of the CE, islanders were trading with the Middle East and the Mediterranean in the west and Southeast Asia and China in the east. The Middle East was a particularly strong connection from about the mid-3rd century. Materials from Southeast Asia and China arrive by the late 7th/8th centuries, with the focus of external trade shifting away from the Middle East to the Far-East around the end of the 10th century, lasting until the 12th/13th centuries and beyond. My findings demonstrate that internal developments in irrigated agriculture, iron technology, crafts, industries and procurement-distribution networks were crucial for external trade and connectivity. Contrary to the traditional view, I identify local agency as an important driving force behind both internal and external trade in ancient Sri Lanka. The island's external connectivity did not depend on a single factor but was based on specific historical realities which were constantly redefined and reformulated in response to the changing dynamics within and outside Sri Lanka.
Supervisor: Kennet, Derek ; Boivin, Nicole ; Robinson, Damian Sponsor: National Centre for Advanced Studies ; Ministry of Higher Education ; Sri Lanka ; University of Oxford ; Kerala Centre for Historical Studies ; British Museum
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Indian Ocean Maritime Trade Networks ; Archaeology ; Historical Archaeology ; Mahatittha ; Kantarodai ; Indian Ocean trade ; Maritime trade ; Kirinda ; Mantai ; Sri Lanka ; Jambukolapattana