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Monmouth’s Damian to share how medieval sea traffic is tracked, and what it means

01/20/2017

Using geospatial analysis, archaeologists can track the voyages of ships long ago.

Monmouth College Assistant Professor of History Michelle Damian will share such analysis from Asia during her archaeology lecture on Jan. 30, titled “Medieval Maritime Networks: Tracing Connections in Japan’s Seto Inland Sea.”

Her talk will be at 7:30 p.m. in the Pattee Auditorium in the Center for Science and Business. Free and open to the public, it is part of a series sponsored by the Monmouth College Classics Department, in cooperation with the Western Illinois Society of the Archaeological Institute of America.

“Despite the political upheaval of Japan’s late medieval period, trade connections within the Inland Sea region actually flourished, resulting in the beginnings of a regional commodities market,” said Damian, who began teaching at Monmouth last fall after serving as a postdoctoral fellow at Harvard University’s Reischauer Institute of Japanese Studies.

“Until now, it has been difficult to track maritime practices in this area due to the lack of written records of medieval seafaring,” she said. “However, using geospatial analysis of extant documentary and archaeological evidence, it becomes possible to discern the flow of certain commercial goods within the Seto Inland Sea region.”