From short-sea to deep-ocean shipping, humans have used maritime trade networks since prehistoric times. Yet, there have been no attempts to study the logistical processes that sustained these networks.
A new project funded by the University of Helsinki seeks to do just that, and I’m very excited to be part of it.
Led by Veronica Walker Vadillo, the Ports and Harbours of Southeast Asia project will unpack human-environment entanglements in early modern maritime trade networks.
During this multi-disciplinary project, we will apply approaches used in archaeology, ethnography, and history to analyse the mechanisms upon which the Southeast Asian shipping network developed.
Using existing data from the 14th-17th centuries, as part of the project, we will:
- analyse the role of nautical technology in the development of trade networks;
- identify critical services and infrastructures that serviced the ships and facilitated trade; and
- determine the impact of the environment on the shipping network and trading activities.
The expected outcome is a new theoretical and methodological framework for the study of these phenomena.
I will keep you updated on our progress along the way.
In the meantime, if you would like to learn more about the project, and the incredible team I’m working with, please visit the project website here.
Image: (c) Patrik Foto