This lecture will highlight the results of underwater surveys of a 2,000-year-old shipwreck uncovered off the coast of the small fishing village of Godavaya, Sri Lanka. The ship’s cargo of glass ingots, among other objects, will be the starting point of a discussion on the movement of glass raw materials and finished objects along the intertwined maritime and overland trading networks commonly referred to as the Silk Road. In particular, the talk will focus on the implications of this evidence for archaeological analysis of early patterns of globalization.
Sanjyot Mehendale teaches on Central Asia in the department of Near Eastern Studies. An archaeologist specializing in cross-cultural connections of early Common Era Eurasia, her Ph.D. work focusing on the archaeology of Eurasian trading networks. Recent research and writing projects have been supported by various grants including a fellowship from the National Endowment for the Humanities to create a publicly accessible database of the ivory and bone carvings uncovered at the early Common Era Kushan site at Bagram (Afghanistan). In 2007, Mehendale became a consultant to the National Geographic Society and the San Francisco Asian Art Museum to help structure the Afghanistan: Hidden Treasures from the National Museum, Kabul exhibition and contribute to the accompanying catalogue. Since 1996, she has conducted archaeological research in Sri Lanka, looking into first millennium CE maritime connections across the Indian Ocean.