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Asia in the Horn. The Indian Ocean trade in Somaliland

AuthorsGonzález-Ruibal, Alfredo ; Torres Rodriguez, Jorge de; Franco Fernández, Manuel Antonio; Martínez Barrio, Candela; Gutiérrez de León Juberías, Pablo
KeywordsIndian Ocean
Multicultural trade
Trade ceramics
Horn of Africa
Issue DateSep-2021
CitationArchaeological Research in Asia 27: 100289 (2021)
AbstractThe Indian Ocean trade in the Horn of Africa during the Middle Ages has received much less attention than in other regions of the Islamic world, such as the Gulf and East Africa. The Horn is still too often represented as a void in maps showing routes and distributions of trade goods. In this article we present the results of archaeological surveys conducted between 2016 and 2020 in places of trade around Berbera, one of the main Red Sea ports in Somaliland. We will be focusing on the period comprised between the eleventh century, when the first traces of long distance connections are documented, and the late sixteenth century, when commerce collapsed. We will review the archaeological evidence with particular attention to ceramic imports, which reveal the intense participation of Somaliland (and the Horn at large) in the Indian Ocean system. This participation went through different cycles in which the nature of commercial relations, the volume of imported goods and their provenance varied. However, trade with Asia was always predominant, amounting, in the case of ceramics, to 90% of all imported items. Our surveys also suggest that Somaliland was not so much a destination as a transit market zone that conveyed products to the interior of the Horn of Africa.
Publisher version (URL)http://doi.org/10.1016/j.ara.2021.100289
Identifiersdoi: 10.1016/j.ara.2021.100289
e-issn: 2352-2267
Appears in Collections:(INCIPIT) Artículos
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