Sri Lanka & the Ancient Indian Ocean

Published on 14 December 2020 at 20:25

In this Vlog, MA student Alex Mohns will tell you about his research on Sri Lanka's major ancient trade ports and sites: Mantai, Anuradhapura and Ruhuna. You will be introduced to various methods and techniques we use, such as satellite and distribution charts, and the wider framework of documenting and understanding international trade networks from Antiquity. You'll also get a closer look at some Indo-Pacific glass beads, which were traded from Sri Lanka all across the Indian Ocean region in ancient times.

Originally, Alex would have conducted fieldwork in Sri Lanka this year, but due to the Covid-19 pandemic, this was put on hold. Nevertheless, we have been turning to different angles and approaches, and those have already led to interesting new insights. Rather than focusing on individual sites or datasets, the aim is to try and connect as many of these ancient Sri Lankan 'nodal points' as possible in an overarching study, as a first step towards reconstructing not only the main and famous sites, but also the crucial spaces in between that made up the network. 

This Vlog is also our Christmas Special for 2020, so be on the look out for extra fun and shenanigans!

Disclaimer: the scenes in the ceramics lab were filmed at the Faculty of Archaeology, Leiden University, early December 2020 prior to lockdown. All safety rules and regulations were followed. (N.B. In the scene where Alex runs through the corridor, he is wearing a mask).

Indo-Pacific glass beads (Van Aerde 2020)

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