A COMPOSITIONAL STUDY OF A SELECTION OF SONG DYNASTY CHINESE CERAMICS FROM THE JAVA SEA SHIPWRECK: RESULTS FROM LA-ICP-MS ANALYSIS

Lisa C. Niziolek

Abstract


Although much historical work has been done on early trading networks in the South China Sea and Indian Ocean regions, few published projects have utilized the rich contributions that underwater archaeology can make to the study of such relationships and their intricacies. In this paper, I use the twelfth-thirteenth century Java Sea Shipwreck as a starting point to examine medieval maritime exchange networks and the production of trade goods in East and Southeast Asia during the early second millennium AD. Specifically, I report on the results of laser ablation-inductively coupled plasma-mass spectrometry (LA-ICP-MS) analysis conducted at The Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago on a number of high-fired Chinese ceramics from the shipwreck. This geochemical analysis was undertaken in order to assess correlations between style and material and to identify potential kiln sites where the pieces were manufactured. By doing so, we can better understand the organization, intensity, and scale of ceramic production in China at the time and how these commodities linked Chinese producers to consumers throughout East and Southeast Asia and the Indian Ocean World.

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7152/jipa.v35i0.14893

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