News FocusEuropean Association for South Asian Archaeology and Art Meeting

Diving Into the Indian Ocean's Past

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Science  20 Jul 2012:
Vol. 337, Issue 6092, pp. 288-289
DOI: 10.1126/science.337.6092.288-b

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Nearly 15 years ago, two fishers in the waters off the southern coast of Sri Lanka hauled up a stone slab etched with ancient Hindu symbols. During a brief 2008 dive, archaeologists retrieved pottery and glass ingots. Then, in December 2011, researchers began the first systematic dives to examine what appears to be the oldest known shipwreck in the Indian Ocean, radiocarbon dated to between the 2nd and 1st centuries B.C.E. Because almost nothing was known about seafaring in this time and place, the wreck promises to remake our understanding of the region and era, team members say.