This blog provides a forum for presenting and discussing the latest findings relating to the ancient Indian Ocean, from archaeology, molecular genetics, historical linguistics and other disciplines. It takes a long-term view of the Indian Ocean region, exploring the processes that shaped its cultures, societies and environments from the Pleistocene to the historical period.

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Saturday, 15 May 2010

UK-Sri Lanka team explores Indian Ocean links

A new collaboration between a consortium of UK and Sri Lankan institutions has been initiated to study early maritime subsistence and trade in Sri Lanka. The collaboration brings together researchers and students from the universities of Oxford, UCL, and Ruhuna with the Post-Graduate Institute of Archaeological Research and the Sri Lankan Department of Archaeology. A first fieldwork season was recently conducted, investigating coastal midden and port sites, as well as inland shelters. The project aims to better understand the emergence of coastal communities, regional trade and long-distance contacts, though the application of a suite of new techniques to the extraordinary but still poorly known Sri Lankan record. Preliminary results are providing insights into the spread of crops and commensal species, as well as Sri Lanka’s role in the spice trade.

The project is being undertaken as part of the Oxford-based Sealinks Project and the UCL-based Early Rice Project. Students from the University of Ruhuna participated in an associated field school.