Commodity, commerce, and economy: re-evaluating cotton production and diffusion in the first millennium

Kelley, Anna Colleen (2019). Commodity, commerce, and economy: re-evaluating cotton production and diffusion in the first millennium. University of Birmingham. Ph.D.

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Abstract

The history of global communication networks has come to the fore in recent years, particularly
in the period of transition from late antiquity to the early medieval period. Much of the current scholarship has placed the Mediterranean at the center of exchange networks, focused on high-status hubs of elite long-distance interaction, leading to an acceptance of the core/periphery paradigm of trade directionality between the Mediterranean and its frontiers. The present dissertation challenges this model by tracing the spread of a single consumable to map pathways of non-elite exchange in areas peripheral to the Mediterranean system. Analysis of cotton evidence from the first to eighth centuries in relation to plant evolutionary biology and ecological adaptation demonstrates that there were at least two cotton diffusion networks in the ancient world. One, which connected India to the Mediterranean, is emphasized in the literature to show the economic importance of long-distance trade. The other network connected communities through Africa and the Middle East, and appears to have had a greater impact on the global spread of cotton. This second network also led to significant regional specialization in textile production at an earlier date than previously recognized. As the textile industry was significant to the ancient economy, these findings demonstrate the need to rethink accepted reconstructions of commercial networks in the first millennium.

Type of Work: Thesis (Doctorates > Ph.D.)
Award Type: Doctorates > Ph.D.
Supervisor(s):
Supervisor(s)EmailORCID
Brubaker, LeslieUNSPECIFIEDUNSPECIFIED
Sears, GarethUNSPECIFIEDUNSPECIFIED
Licence: All rights reserved
College/Faculty: Colleges (2008 onwards) > College of Arts & Law
School or Department: School of History and Cultures, Centre for Byzantine, Ottoman and Modern Greek Studies
Funders: Other
Other Funders: College of Arts and Law - University of Birmingham
Subjects: D History General and Old World > D History (General) > D051 Ancient History
URI: http://etheses.bham.ac.uk/id/eprint/9988

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