Shipping of the Indian Ocean World

  • Nick Burningham
Part of the Palgrave Series in Indian Ocean World Studies book series (IOWS)


This broad survey of the shipping of the Indian Ocean World attempts to cover all the traditions of shipbuilding, which produced vessels suitable for interregional voyaging in the last two millennia. European shipping, which intruded into the Indian Ocean at the end of the fifteenth century, is only mentioned briefly although some of the finest ships of this tradition were built at Bombay and Calcutta. The survey is divided into two parts and five regions that represent the geographical extent of five clearly distinguishable traditions of shipbuilding. While the style and outward appearance of ships is relatively easily diffused from one culture to another, the basic method of constructing a planked boat or ship is more deeply embedded and more impervious to external influence (Seán McGrail (1985) “Towards a Classification of Water Transport”, World Archaeology 16.3, 291). This survey relies greatly on the considerable corpus of work on the subject developed by Pierre-Yves Manguin over more than three decades. This chapter cannot attempt to cover in detail everything that Manguin has presented, but attempts a broad outline plus some new data and reinterpretation.

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Nick Burningham
    • 1
  1. 1.Western Australian Maritime MuseumFremantleAustralia

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