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Mediterranean containerization

Bevan, AH; (2014) Mediterranean containerization. Current Anthropology , 55 (4) pp. 387-418. 10.1086/677034. Green open access


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The Mediterranean has long played host to unusually intense patterns of maritime-led exchange, involving both products made beyond the basin and local, culturally distinctive goods such as oils and wines that continue to be well-known markers of the region's economies and lifestyles today. Protecting these commodities, and sometimes highly emblematic of them, have been specialised physical packages, of which clay amphoras are perhaps the most well-known early examples. In contrast, modern steel shipping containers, occurring in unusual densities at the Mediterranean pinch-points of globalised trade, represent only a latest phase of this cultural tradition. Mediterranean containers therefore have a continuous history spanning at least five thousand years and one that, worldwide, offers a uniquely long-lived, continuous and detailed record of economic specialisation. Remarkable, then, that there has been as yet so little consideration of this tradition over its full time-span. This paper makes the case for developing a more strongly longitudinal, comparative and cautiously evolutionary perspective on these highly iconic, material forms.

Type: Article
Title: Mediterranean containerization
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1086/677034
Publisher version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1086/677034
Language: English
Additional information: (C) 2014 by The Wenner-Gren Foundation for Anthropological Research
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of SandHS > Institute of Archaeology
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of SandHS > Institute of Archaeology > Institute of Archaeology Gordon Square
URI: http://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1412617
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