This book brings together for the first time archaeological findings from key ports throughout the Indian Ocean - the Red Sea, South Arabia, the Gulf and India - to build up a balanced picture of relations between East and West. Combined evidence from artefacts and documents reveals a complex situation whereby ordinary goods were carried alongside the more costly items - such as pepper, aromatics and gems - that drove the trade. Here the focus is on ordinary artefacts that uncover a network of Romans, Arabs, Sasanians and Indians who participated in the trade. The evidence from ceramics, especially, shows the interplay between these different ethnic groups, where they lived, when the trade was active, and even how it was organised.The account is arranged geographically, drawing on new evidence from the author's experience of archaeological sites and materials on the Red Sea and in India. A final chapter sketches the changing fortunes of trade between the first century BC and the seventh century AD in the light of these important new archaeological discoveries.
About the Author
Roberta Tomber is Visiting Fellow in the Department of Conservation, Documentation and Science at the British Museum. She specialises in Roman and Indian Ocean pottery and has published widely on the subject, including "The National Roman Fabric Reference Collection" (1998) with John Dore.