This article investigates the nature of usage, as well as the geographical origin, of a small group of ivory artifacts recently discovered in the earliest exposed cultural depositions at the Early Islamic (650–1100 C.E.) port of Aylah (Aqaba, Jordan). In addition to explaining the finds and the significance of their context for interpreting possible historical implications, the article uses a range of techniques to learn more about the raw material. In combining archaeological, visual, and biomolecular analyses on these ivories, fresh perspectives are provided that shed new light on the infrastructure and geographical scope of late antique and early medieval trade systems. Moreover, it informs us about the economic and commercial roles played by Red Sea ports in this period and highlights the potential of analyzing organic artifacts from sites in the region to reveal new details and characteristics of historical Indian Ocean trade networks.
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Research Article| December 01 2019
From Tusk to Town: Ivory Trade and Craftsmanship along the Red Sea
Studies in Late Antiquity (2019) 3 (4): 508–546.
Ashley Coutu, Kristoffer Damgaard; From Tusk to Town: Ivory Trade and Craftsmanship along the Red Sea. Studies in Late Antiquity 1 December 2019; 3 (4): 508–546. doi: https://doi.org/10.1525/sla.2019.3.4.508
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