Eleventh–twelfth century — political and economic balances in the western Indian Ocean in the light of historical and ceramic evidence from the site of Banbhore/Daybul
Keywords:eleventh–twelfth century, western Indian Ocean, trade, Daybul, Ceramics
This paper focuses on a critical phase that witnessed new maritime equilibriums in the western waters of the Indian Ocean under the Seljuq military umbrella, with the support of Hormuz and Daybul’s fleets and the harbours/markets along the Omani seaboards. Textual sources provide detailed information and chronologies. Daybul’s siege by the Seljuq army, the following peace agreement that confirmed its reorganization as the capital city of an autonomous nāḥiya, the Seljuq conquest of Oman and annexation within its system as a mulk, delimit a fluid space destined to become the core of international trades. Ceramic finds from the site of Banbhore attest to it, enhancing the role of Daybul as the pivot of a well-integrated network in the western Indian Ocean, favoured by its strategic location as a heading port of the monsoon routes and cabotage trade with South-East Asia. Extremely significant is the abundant presence of imported items found at Banbhore/Daybul until the late twelfth–very early thirteenth century. They belong to the same wares and morphological typologies as those recovered in eastern and southern Arabia, coastal East Africa, Gujarat, and the southernmost Indian regions. Following the same trading routes, typical unglazed grey and red pots produced at Banbhore reached the westernmost coasts of the Indian Ocean.
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