Prehistoric Maritime Cultures and Seafaring in East Asia

  • Chunming Wu
  • Barry Vladimir Rolett

Part of the The Archaeology of Asia-Pacific Navigation book series (AAPN, volume 1)

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xxxix
  2. Neolithic and Metal Age Maritime Cultures of South China and Southeast Asia

  3. Prehistoric Seafaring and Exchange: From Coastal Waters to the Open Sea

About this book


This book focuses on prehistoric East Asian maritime cultures that pre-dated the Maritime Silk Road, the "Four Seas" and "Four Oceans" navigation system recorded in historical documents of ancient China. Origins of the Maritime Silk Road can be traced to prosperous Neolithic and Metal Age maritime-oriented cultures dispersed along the coastlines of prehistoric China and Southeast Asia.

The topics explored here include Neolithisation and the development of prehistoric maritime cultures during the Neolithic and early Metal Age; the expansion and interaction of these cultures along coastlines and across straits; the "two-layer" hypothesis for explaining genetic and cultural diversity in south China and Southeast Asia; prehistoric seafaring and early sea routes; the paleogeography and vegetation history of coastal regions; Neolithic maritime livelihoods based on hunting/fishing/foraging adaptations; rice and millet cultivation and their dispersal along the coast and across the open sea; and interaction between farmers and maritime-oriented hunter/fisher/foragers. In addition, a series of case studies enhances understanding of the development of prehistoric navigation and the origin of the Maritime Silk Road in the Asia-Pacific region.


Neolithic Seascape Prehistoric Seafaring Maritime Culture Prehistoric Maritime Silk Road Asia-Pacific Navigation

Editors and affiliations

  • Chunming Wu
    • 1
  • Barry Vladimir Rolett
    • 2
  1. 1.The Center for Maritime ArchaeologyXiamen UniversityXiamenChina
  2. 2.Department of AnthropologyUniversity of Hawaii at ManoaHonoluluUSA

Bibliographic information