Tous les articles par Eric Vallet

Professeur des universités en études arabes, Université de Strasbourg

Colloque : Commerce et croyances dans l’Océan Indien, XVe -XIX e siècles

Collège de France, CHAIRE D’HISTOIRE GLOBALE DE LA PREMIÈRE MODERNITÉ, Professeur Sanjay Subrahmanyam
Séminaire sous la forme d’un colloque


Lieu : Amphithéâtre Maurice Halbwachs, 11, place Marcelin-Berthelot, 75005 Paris


Jeudi 5 juin 2014

  •  09h00 Introduction Sanjay Subrahmanyam, Collège de France
  • 10h00 Pause
  • 10h30 À l’ombre des saints : commerce et baraka en Arabie, XIIIe-XVIe siècle, Éric Vallet, Université Paris I
  • 11h30 Khorasan in the Indian Ocean: Dynamics of Space and Ritual from Inner Asia to India and Africa, Nile Green, UCLA
  • 14h00 Ottoman Humanism, the Indian Ocean and the Map of the World,  Giancarlo Casale, Minnesota
  • 15h00 Commerce et croyances à Banten (Java) sous le règne de Sultan Ageng (XVIIe siècle), Claude GUILLOT, CNRS
  • 16h00 Pause
  • 16h30 Messianisme, rationalisme et connexions asiatiques : les Moghols face à leurs théologiens (v. 1610),  Corinne LEFÈVRE, CNRS

Vendredi 6 juin 2014

  • 09h00 L’islam et les rois-marchands du monde malais (XIVe-XVIIe siècles), Paul Wormser, INALCO
  • 10h00 Pause
  • 10h30 From Surat (1630) to Hughli (1632) : Two Mughal-Portuguese Conflicts between Trade and Religion, Jorge Flores, EUI, Florence
  • 11h30 Cross-Cultural Credit Networks and “Trust”: Bills of Exchange between Julfan Armenians and Marwaris in Early Modern Iran and India, Sebouh Aslanian, UCLA
  • 14h00 Protestants, catholiques et…lusophones : commerce, politique et relations interconfessionnelles sur la côte Malabare au XVIIIe siècle, Kapil Raj, EHESS
  • 15h00 Rupture and Continuity in the Bay of Bengal’s Nineteenth-Century History, Sunil Amrith, Birkbeck College
  • 16h00 Pause
  • 16h30 Quelques réflexions sur le rôle de la religion dans les réseaux marchands d’Asie du Sud, Claude Markovits, CNRS
  • 17h30 Conclusions, Sanjay Subrahmanyam, Collège de France

Eric Vallet

Professeur des universités en études arabes, Université de Strasbourg

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Appel à communications : The Red Sea and the Gulf: Two Alternative Maritime Routes in the Development of Global Economy, from the Late Prehistory to Modern Times

The University of Naples “L’Orientale” will host the Red Sea VII conference, the latest in the successful series of conferences previously held at the British Museum, University of Southampton, University of Exeter (UK) and University of Tabuk (KSA).

For over a century the University “L’Orientale” conducts research in regions outside of Europe, including those of the Red Sea and the Gulf. The first expedition that has involved the University took place in the early years of the twentieth century on the shores of the Red Sea, in present Eritrea. In the last thirty years, the activities of “L’Orientale” in the coastal regions of the Red Sea have intensified considerably seeing involved, at various levels, professors, researchers, fellows, graduate students and students. In the field of archeology should be mentioned excavations in eastern Sudan, at the Pharaonic port of Mersa Gawasis and in the Egyptian Eastern Desert, the recent collaboration with the Eritrean Government and the CeRDO for the excavations at Adulis, Eritrea, the excavations in Ethiopia, Yemen and Saudi Arabia. In the field of linguistic and historical studies, “L’Orientale” conducts research projects in countries surrounding the Red Sea and beyond.

The Red Sea VII conference will be titled “The Red Sea and the Gulf: Two Maritime Alternative Routes in the Development of Global Economy, from Late Prehistory to Modern Times”. The committee proposes for the first time a comparison, on a scientific level, between two sea corridors and their shores, the Red Sea and the Gulf, which are similar geographically and environmentally, complementary to each other as well as competitors in their economic and cultural interaction with the Mediterranean and the Indian Ocean, both in the past and in the present. The conference will be an opportunity to meet and exchange information among scholars from worldwide institutions interested in the western Indian Ocean, and also an opportunity to share new ideas and to promote innovative projects based on international collaborations.

We are inviting speakers from around the world with an interest in the Red Sea and the Gulf to present on a wide range of subjects relating to the main topic of the conference. These include:

  • Recent and ongoing research

  • The Red Sea and the Gulf in the Global Economy

  • Naval technologies and maritime knowledge in the Red Sea and the Gulf

  • Campania, the Mediterranean and the Red Sea

  • People, ideas, technologies and religions between the Red Sea and the Gulf

  • Africa, Arabia, Persia: linguistic transitions
  • Greek, Roman, and Byzantine Maritime Trade to the East

The last day of the conference will be devoted to two workshops:

“Legal regulations in the Red Sea and in the closed seas from past to present”

“Ports and Harbors of Bronze Age Egypt”

 Academic posters and multimedia products for display at the conference are also welcome.

Abstracts for individual papers should be 250-500 words in length and accompanied with brief cv. Proposals for themed panels should comprise four individual abstracts plus a panel proposal of 300 words.

The submission deadline is 15 DECEMBER 2014

Note: the selection of the papers to be presented will be made by the scientific committee. Notification of acceptance of papers will be given within two months from the deadline of due submissions.

The proceedings of previous Red Sea conferences have been regularly published. The committee intends to continue this tradition.


The organising and coordinating committee includes Rodolfo Fattovich, Andrea Manzo and Chiara Zazzaro with the collaboration of Romolo Loreto and Luisa Sernicola.

The local scientific committee comprises Giorgio Banti, Giuseppe Camodeca, Giuseppe Cataldi, Riccardo Contini, Ersilia Francesca, Bruno Genito, Roberta Giunta, Romolo Loreto, Andrea Manzo, Adriano Rossi, Luisa Sernicola, Roberto Tottoli, Chiara Zazzaro.

The international scientific committee comprises Ali al-Ghabban (Saudi Commission for Tourism and Antiquities, KSA), Abdelrahman Ali Mohamed Rahma (National Corporation for Antiquities and Museums, Sudan), Dionisius Agius (University of Exeter, UK), Kathryn A. Bard (Boston University, US), Lucy Blue (University of Southampton), Rodolfo Fattovich (Università “L’Orientale”, Italy), Steven E. Sidebotham (University of Delaware, US), Janet Starkey (British Foundation for the Study of Arabia, UK), Maurizio Tosi (Università di Bologna, Italy).


For further information, please contact the organising committee:

The Red Sea VII Organising Committee

Università degli Studi di Napoli “L’Orientale”

Piazza S. Domenico Maggiore, 12

80134 Napoli



Tel.: +39 – 0816909614/716 or 0816909616/741

Or alternatively contact :

Dr. Andrea Manzo

Dr. Chiara Zazzaro

Eric Vallet

Professeur des universités en études arabes, Université de Strasbourg

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Présentation en ligne – The copper plates from Kollam

The Indian Ocean was among the first maritime spaces of human circulation and exchange but it is also one of the least well researched. We still know surprisingly little about the Indian Ocean world before the late 15th century CE when European powers – Portuguese, Spanish, English, Dutch and others – first sailed into this ocean.

This website presents some of the new research that is being undertaken at universities and museums around the world into the early history of the Indian Ocean and its connections to the ocean we know today. The research presented here focuses on a 9th century legal document which was written at the port of Kollam in present-day Kerala in 849 CE. In South Asia, even until very recently, legal documents were inscribed onto copper sheets. Known as copper plate grants, these are one of the main sources for early and medieval Indian history.

Lire la suite…

Eric Vallet

Professeur des universités en études arabes, Université de Strasbourg

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Appel à communications : Ports and Forts in the Islamic World Coastal military architecture from the Arab Conquest to the Ottoman Period

Call for Papers

Panel on ‘Ports and Forts in the Islamic World Coastal military architecture from the Arab Conquest to the Ottoman Period’

The 20th Annual Meeting of the European Association of Archaeologists
Istanbul, Turkey on September 10-14, 2014
Theme 1 – Connecting Seas – Across the Borders


Islam was always associated with merchants and trade. This session seeks to understand the development of cities and fortifications related to port areas as places of exchange, but also as places of conflict. Coastal fortifications were often related to port facilities, to protect them or to control them. Understanding the relationship between port functions and defensive structures requires an in depth examination of archaeological remains and written sources, to distinguish what is mere desire to defend the territory against threats coming from the sea, the desire to control the flow of goods and passengers, or just to isolate the port from the surrounding area. What sort of transformation and evolution can we observe in the fortified port sites from the first Arab conquests to the Ottoman Period? Can we determine different strategies of port organisation in the Mediterranean Sea or in the Indian Ocean? The presentation and study of the coastal military architecture will help us to understand this “Muslim Mare Nostrum”, from the Mediterranean Islamic West to the Indian Ocean.

Unfortunately, this panel is organised without any funding. The participants will have to pay a registration fee and also their own travel and accommodation costs.

The opening call for paper proposals starts the 16 December, 2013.
Proposed papers (title and abstract of 250-300 words approx.) should be sent before 27 January, 2014 to the following:


Dr. Stéphane Pradines (
Associate Professor, Aga Khan University, ISMC, London


Dr. Eric Vallet (
Lecturer, Sorbonne University, Paris I, Paris

Accepted papers will be selected by the scientific committee of the international round table.
Authors will be informed in February 2014.
Languages of the round table: Arabic, English, French & Turkish

For further information on the conference please visit the following website:

Eric Vallet

Professeur des universités en études arabes, Université de Strasbourg

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Conférence : Sebastian R. Prange, Piracy and Maritime Politics in the pre-modern Indian Ocean

Dans le cadre de la série de conférences Actualité de la recherche en céramique chinoise (Responsable : Bing ZHAO, CNRS UMR 8155 CRCAO), le CEMAf et le CRCAO s’associent pour la rencontre suivante :


Sebastian R. PRANGE (assistant professor, University of British Columbia)
Piracy and Maritime Politics in the pre-modern Indian Ocean


Guillaume CARRE (EHESS/Centre de Recherches sur le Japon)
Wolfgang KAISER (U. Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne/CRHM –Modernités et Révolutions)


Séance organisée par
Thomas VERNET (U. Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne-CEMAf) et Bing ZHAO (CNRS/CRCAO)


Mardi 10 décembre, 14h-16h

Attention, changement de salle :

Amphithéâtre Guillaume Budé
Collège de France
11, place Marcelin Berthelot
Paris 5e



Cette communication reviendra sur un lieu commun historiographique : le caractère
prétendument pacifique et ouvert de l’océan Indien avant l’arrivée des Portugais. Elle mettra en
évidence que la violence maritime, et la coercition, furent des caractéristiques systémiques du
commerce maritime indo-océanique bien avant l’irruption des flottes européennes. Des
parallèles seront ainsi établis entre les passés maritimes indo-océaniques et européens.

Eric Vallet

Professeur des universités en études arabes, Université de Strasbourg

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Nouvelles fouilles archéologiques à Dembeni (Mayotte)

La mission archéologique de Dembeni, dirigée par Stéphane Pradines et réalisée avec le soutien du Service des affaires culturelles de la Préfecture de Mayotte, Ministère de la Culture et de la Communication, a effectué plusieurs campagnes depuis 2009, permettant notamment l’établissement du relevé topographique complet du site. Les dernières fouilles effectuées en 2013 ont notamment confirmé la présence d’importantes traces de cristaux de roche, faisant de ce site médiéval un centre important pour la redistribution de cette matière précieuse en direction d’autres régions de l’océan Indien.


En savoir plus :

S. Pradines et P. Brial, “Dembéni – Mayotte (976) : Archéologie swahilie dans un département français”, Nyame Akuma, juin 2012

B. Hopkin “Mayotte, ex-comptoir du cristal de roche”, Le Monde. Sciences et technologie, 14 octobre 2013

Article Dembeni, Site de la société d’histoire et d’archéologie de Mayotte


Eric Vallet

Professeur des universités en études arabes, Université de Strasbourg

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The Kollam Plates in the World of the Ninth Century Indian Ocean – Workshop, Leicester, 12-13 juin 2013

Atelier international organisé par Elizabeth Lambourn dans le cadre du programme de recherche “Routes, Networks and Communities in the Medieval Indian Ocean” (AHRC RESEARCH NETWORK).

Ce réseau de recherche se concentre sur l’histoire des échanges et des connections dans l’océan Indien entre l’Extrême Orient et l’Asie occidentale au IXe siècle de l’ère chrétienne, en s’intéressant tout particulièrement aux plaques “de Kollam” (ou Sthanu Ravi), un ensemble de documents produits dans le port de Kollam (Quilon) dans le Kerala (Inde du Sud), vers 849 de l’ère chrétienne, rédigés en trois langues (Tamoul, Arabe, Moyen Perse) et cinq écritures (Vatteluttu, Arabe, Pehlvi, Hébreu et une écriture indienne non identifiée) et attestant la présence et la collaboration à Kollam d’au moins cinq communautés (hindous, musulmans, chrétiens orientaux, zoroastriens, juifs) et deux associations marchandes.

A partir d’une nouvelle traduction de ces documents, le présent atelier entend développer une “expérience de micro-histoire à grande échelle”, en réunissant des spécialistes de l’histoire des différentes communautés et régions bordant l’océan Indien au IXe siècle.

Pour toute information, contacter Elizabeth Lambourn :

Programme – Kollam and the Indian Ocean Workshop II 12-13 June – 31 May 2013

Eric Vallet

Professeur des universités en études arabes, Université de Strasbourg

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Parution : Philippe Beaujard, Les mondes de l’océan Indien, Armand Colin, 2012


Philippe Beaujard, directeur de recherche émérite au CNRS (CEMAf), ethnologue et historien spécialiste de Madagascar et participant au programme MEDIAN, vient de publier une importante somme sur l’histoire des “mondes de l’océan Indien” aux éditions Armand Colin.

Elle se présente en deux volumes :

Volume 1. De la formation de l’Etat au premier système-monde afro-eurasien

Présentation de l’éditeur : La naissance de l’État et des cités, en Mésopotamie et en Égypte, puis dans la vallée de l’Indus et en Chine, induit les premières « globalisations », impulsées par l’essor des échanges, et des innovations techniques ou institutionnelles. La « Révolution urbaine » est aussi le temps d’une révolution idéologique et cognitive, marquée par l’invention de l’écriture. Ces processus conduisent à l’intégration croissante de régions interconnectées au sein d’économies-mondes qui se succèdent, dans les périodes de l’Âge du Bronze puis du Fer. Des empires se forment, tandis qu’un secteur privé émerge, articulé à l’État.
Au début de l’ère chrétienne, les échanges constituent l’océan Indien en un espace unifié et hiérarchisé, au centre d’un « système-monde » afro-eurasien unique qui montre une première division interrégionale du travail.
Mettant en œuvre une approche transdisciplinaire, cet ouvrage montre ici la fécondité d’une Histoire Globale renouvelée, prenant en compte l’ensemble de l’Ancien Monde et les périodes anciennes de son histoire.

Volume 2. L’océan Indien, au cœur des globalisations de l’Ancien Monde (7e-15e siècles)

Présentation de l’éditeur : L’océan Indien s’est peu à peu construit comme l’espace central d’un système-monde afro-eurasien, par le biais d’échanges sur les routes maritimes « des épices », elles-mêmes articulées aux « routes de la soie ». Ce système, dans lequel les échanges stimulent l’innovation et où la Chine joue un rôle moteur, se développe jusqu’au 16e siècle au fil de quatre cycles économiques. Ces derniers, qui s’accompagnent d’une croissance générale de la population, coïncident avec des évolutions politiques, sociales, religieuses, et semblent souvent refléter des transformations du climat.

Si l’émergence de l’Europe au 15e siècle débouche sur l’irruption portugaise dans l’océan Indien en 1498, les économies de l’Asie surpassent encore largement – et pour longtemps – les économies européennes.
Cette histoire de l’océan Indien replacé dans un cadre global conduit à une remise en cause de l’eurocentrisme de certaines recherches. Elle éclaire en outre la période ultérieure du système-monde capitaliste moderne, et invite à une réflexion sur les futurs possibles de ce système.

Eric Vallet

Professeur des universités en études arabes, Université de Strasbourg

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4th Southeast Asian Archaeology Workshop, Paris, Friday 29th June 2012

Coordination : Berenice Bellina et Oliver Pryce

You are cordially invited to the 4th Southeast Asian Archaeology Workshop, to be held at the à la Maison de l’Asie (22, avenue du Président Wilson, 75116) in Paris on Friday 29th June 2012.


From its foundation at UCL in 2006, the biannual Workshop has been intended to provide a predominantly Anglo-French forum for the informal dissemination and discussion of state-of-the-art regional research, particularly from post-graduate and post-doctoral scholars, complementary to the larger international format of the European Association of Southeast Asian Archaeologists meetings.


Recent and laudable advances in archaeobotanical “Indian Ocean” research have only emphasised the dearth of material culture data on this topic, especially pottery, and thus, for 2012, the Workshop will have a specific focus on “Ceramics related to maritime exchange networks between the Indian Ocean and South China Sea, c. 500 BC to c. 500 AD.”


Southeast Asian Archaeology Workshop IV

09:30 – 10:00 Arrival and coffee


10:00 – 10:15 Opening address from Bérénice Bellina and Oli Pryce


10:15 – 10:45 Yvette Balbaligo (University College London) Ceramic and social practices at Ille Cave, Philippines

Abstract: This paper discusses the ceramics from Ille Cave, a multi-period burial and occupation site dating from 9000 BC, and other caves sites in the Dewil Valley where Ille Cave is situated. The pottery shows a range of decorations, and forms suggest that vessels were associated with burial rituals. While some of the pottery share similar styles with earthenware found in Island Southeast Asia, there are technical and stylistic differences within the earthenware pottery from Ille Cave and between it and other cave sites in the Dewil Valley. This paper discusses the communities of practice who produced this range of pottery and its role in burial practices, to evaluate what this can tell us about the social organisation of the people who used the Dewil Valley. This paper will also assess the cultural links between the Dewil Valley and wider Island Southeast Asia, and consider how pottery and burial practices at the site relate to larger scale and longer term chronologies in the region.


10:45 – 11:15 Phaedra Bouvet (Paris X) Indian and Indian style ceramics from Khao Sam Kaeo (peninsular Thailand, Chumphon province : 4th – 2nd century B.C.) : how a technological approach combined with the GIS can help rough out the social environment of a site?


Indian fine wares (the so-called “rouletted wares”) and Indian style local ceramics have been discovered at Khao Sam Kaeo. The study of their “chaîne opératoire” and the analysis of their distribution at the site provide information about the different social groups who lived at Khao Sam Kaeo and who used those wares : Were they Indian and/or local people? Did they live side by side, or did they live in separate “neighborhoods”? Did their coexistence at the site generate cultural transfers between the groups? With these questions arises the issue of “indianisation before indianisation”


11:15 – 11:45 Break


11:45 – 12:15 Franca Cole (University of Cambridge) TBC

Abstract: TBC


12:15 – 12:45 Aude Favereau (Paris X) and Bérénice Bellina (C.N.R.S.) Upper Peninsula Thailand ceramics indicative of late prehistoric exchange with the South China Sea

Abstract: Since 2005, the Thai-French archaeological mission in Upper Peninsula Thailand has been excavating and surveying sites belonging to various environments, social groups and of multiple uses. Those include a proto-urban settlement of cosmopolitan nature, Khao Sam Kaeo, and caves sites used as camp sites or burials along the coast such as Tham Tuay, Tham Pla (province of Chumphon) and on islands off shore such as Koh Din (province of Surat Thani) as well as in the interior along the earliest transpeninsular routes (sites in the district of Sawi).


Some of these ceramics share a common morpho-stylistic repertoire, amongst which the Sa Huynh-Kalanay-related type, that may be indicative of links to the South China Sea cultural sphere. This assemblage thus helps questioning the interplay between the various groups present in or in contact with the Upper Peninsula and how their circulation and exchange participated in the fashioning of their identity.


12:45 – 14:15 Lunch


14:15 – 14:45 Coline Lefrancq (Université Libre de Bruxelles) Ceramic productions from the early levels of the Mazar area at Mahasthangarh, Bangladesh


My study is based on the analysis of pottery from the Mazar area of the Mahasthangarh archaeological site in Bangladesh. This corpus, containing 95% common wares and 5% fine wares, of which most are Northern Black Polished and Rouletted wares, has not been studied yet. In 2001, the Bangla-French mission opened a new area called Mazar, located near a mosque. Given the information from ten seasons (to 2011), the excavators have delimited a general occupation of the site from the Maurya period to the XIII c. A.D.


In the same spirit as Sandrine Elaigne’s and Dominique Allios’ study of the material from the East Rampart, I am applying a techno-morpho-functional approach to the fine wares discovered during the last four campaigns. I study the diverse productions through the fabric analysis, clay identification and morphological types to reconstruct the chaîne opératoire and to propose possible uses of the vases. Finally, I will compare the results with published assemblages in order to shed a new light on economic exchange networks that developed during the different periods in the area of Mahasthangarh and in the Gulf of Bengal.


14:45 – 15:15 Noémie Martin (CEROI-INALCO) Madagascar, une île au carrefour d’influences

Abstract: La question de l’origine du peuplement malgache a été abordée tout au long du 20e siècle par différentes disciplines. Les études génétiques récentes ont confirmé l’hypothèse de vagues de migration vers Madagascar essentiellement depuis l’Asie du Sud-Est et la côte est-africaine.

Face à cet apport de populations d’origine bantu et austronésienne, la question s’est posée de savoir si la Grande Île s’inscrivait dans un continuum culturel avec l’Asie du Sud-Est ou avec la côte orientale de l’Afrique. J’ai choisi d’aborder cette problématique par le biais d’ensembles céramiques datés entre le 7e et le 16e siècle et qui reflètent la diversité des productions existantes dans l’île.

Les résultats qui seront exposés dans le cadre de cette communication constituent le point de départ d’une réflexion plus large sur la pénétration du monde culturel austronésien en direction de la côte est-africaine et à l’inverse, l’avancée du monde culturel bantu vers Madagascar.


15:15 – 15:45 Break


15:20 – 15:45 Oli Pryce (University of Oxford) Not just pots: building materials, furnaces, moulds, and tuyères are ceramic too!

Abstract: Technical ceramics are a vital component of settlement (archaeological building materials, ‘ABMs’) and high-temperature industrial activities. I will concentrate here on my area of ‘expertise’, metallurgy, but my observations are largely applicable to glass and pottery, which also require kilns and/or crucibles whose design and operation are behaviours liable to be transmitted at variable fidelity through cultural contact and/or migration.


I will focus on two examples: firstly iron smelting furnaces, which as others have noted, provide for an enormous range of technological styles suitable for diachronic and multiscalar comparison between South and Southeast Asia, and potentially East Africa; secondly, high-tin bronze production crucibles/moulds demonstrating an imperfect transmission of a very highly skilled activity across the Bay of Bengal. Advancing non-pottery ceramic studies in trans-Asian research will require enhanced cooperation between material specialists where ancient technologies imply crosscutting skillsets and resource exploitation.


15:45 – 16:15 Jo Shoebridge (Durham University) The impression that the peacock left: Arikamedu Type 10 and Early Historic Indian Ocean networks of contact

Abstract: The South Asian ceramic Arikamedu Type 10 provides a wealth of unique stylistic attributes which, on interpretation, will aid the reconstruction of Early Historic Indian Ocean networks of contact.  This ceramic was first recorded by Sir Mortimer Wheeler during his excavations at Arikamedu on the Coromandel Coast, South India in 1945 (Wheeler et al: 1946) and has since been recorded at sites on the eastern coast of India, Sri Lanka, Egypt and Indonesia.  Previous research including Ford et al (2005) and Krishnan & Coningham (1997) have attempted to investigate the provenance of the raw material of this ceramic but have been unsuccessful.  Therefore this situation is currently being addressed through the development of an analytical technique specifically designed for this research, which principally uses image analysis.


This paper will discuss the initial development of the image analysis technique and the preliminary application of the method to the reconstruction of Early Historic Indian Ocean networks of contact.  It will also introduce the current phase of this research, namely the expansion of the methodology and the widening of the dataset.


16:15 – 16:45 Break


16:45 – 17:15 Roberta Tomber (British Museum) Closing address and discussion


17:15 onwards – Reception

Eric Vallet

Professeur des universités en études arabes, Université de Strasbourg

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Nouvelle parution : traduction de Sanjay Subrahmanyam, Vasco de Gama

Sanjay Subrahmanyam, Vasco de Gama. Légende et tribulations du vice-roi des Indes, traduit de l’anglais par Myriam Dennehy, Paris, 2012.

Traduction  de  The Career and Legend of Vasco Da Gama, Cambridge University Press, 1997.

Présentation du livre par l’éditeur :

Comment s’est forgée la légende de Vasco de Gama, ce navigateur qui contrairement à Christophe Colomb ne tint pas de journal de bord ? Quelles furent exactement les tribulations de cet  aventurier ? C’est à ces deux questions que l’historien répond. Concernant la légende, Sanjay Subrahmanyam analyse à parts égales les archives orientales et celles de l’occident. Concernant l’expédition à Calicut qui jeta les bases de l’expansion commerciale des Portugais dans l’Océan indien, il décrit longuement les conditions concrètes de la traversée. Ce livre, plein de bruit et de fureur, satisfera donc non seulement les amateurs de biographie, de récits d’aventure et de voyage mais aussi tous ceux qu’intéresse la fin de l’ethnocentrisme occidental. Car le monde qui revit sous nos yeux n’est plus celui du face-à-face entre un Orient à prendre et un Occident curieux et conquérant. Il s’agit, tout au contraire, d’un monde tissé d’interconnaissances, où interviennent à la fois les marchands du Kerala ou du Gujurat, les sultans mamelouks d’Égypte et les souverains d’Afrique orientale, les brahmanes indiens et les chrétiens syriaques…

Eric Vallet

Professeur des universités en études arabes, Université de Strasbourg

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