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Southeast Asia in the Ancient Indian Ocean World

Tom Hoogervorst
Publication Year:
172pp, Illustrated throughout
ISBN 10:
BAR number:


This book casts a new light on the role of Southeast Asia in the ancient Indian Ocean World. It brings together data and approaches from archaeology and historical linguistics with the aim to reconstruct pre-modern cultural and language contact between Southeast Asia and South Asia, East Africa and the Middle East. The interdisciplinary approach employed in this study reveals that insular Southeast Asian seafarers, traders and settlers had left their imprint on these parts of the world through the transmission of numerous biological and cultural items. It is further demonstrated that the words used to designate these commodities often contain clues about the precise ethno-linguistic communities involved in their transoceanic dispersal. Cumulatively, thisstudy underlines that the analysis of lexical data is a strong tool to reconstruct interethnic contact, particularly in pre-literate societies. Throughout the Indian Ocean World, Southeast Asian products and concepts were mainly dispersed by Malay-speaking communities, although others played a role as well.