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SEALINKS: Exploration into the nature of early trans-oceanic contacts
While some oceans, like the Atlantic, operated as barriers, preventing contact and exchange until relatively recently, the Indian Ocean has for millennia served as bridge linking diverse and often distant lands and ethnic groups. The focus of the SEALINKS project is to gain new evidence and insights in the nature of early trans-oceanic contacts, including a strong emphasis of the movement of domesticated plants and animals, as well as commensal small mammals and arable weeds. At UCL, Dorian Fuller takes a lead roll in overseeing archaeobotanical sampling and its integration with other analyses, such as faunal and genetic research. The project has joined excavations and carried out sampling for plant and animals remains at sites in Sri Lanka, Kerala (India), coastal Tanzania and coastal Kenya, while in the earlier stages of the project evidence was synthesized from further north, from those lands framing the Arabia sea, including the Red Sea and the Persian/Arabian Gulf. A core of researchers and PhD students are based in Oxford’s School of Archaeology under the lead of Nicole Boivin, while plant genetics and phylogeography is based at the University of Warwick under the lead of Robin Allaby. Work on small mammal morphometrics and genetics is being carried out in Durham (Gregor Larson), Aberdeen (Keith Dobney) and Cornell University (Jeremy Searle). Archaeobotany is being lead at UCL by Dorian Fuller, and includes work by PhD and MSc students.
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