Ceramic Consumption in the Transoceanic Trade Before the 10th Century AD: Evidence From the Phanom-Surin Shipwreck, Thailand

Underwater Archaeology Division, Fine Arts Department, Thailand

The Phanom-Surin shipwreck provides useful insights into maritime trading networks between China and the Indian Ocean before the 10th century CE. Excavations of the shipwreck 2013-2015 demonstrated that ceramics were by far the most common inorganic commodity being transported by the Phanom-Surin. The 2000 pieces of pottery recovered could be broadly categorized into three groups based on their presumed manufacturers; 1. daily utensils with a strong similarity to Dvaravati wares; 2. two types of characteristic Persian Gulf ceramics - infrequent occurrences of turquoise-glazed jars and torpedo jars; and 3.approximately sixteen green-glazed jars produced in Southern China during Tang Dynasty. In 2021, The Fine Arts Department of Thailand resumed their investigations of the Phanom Surin and its cargoes.

The whole wreck has now been uncovered, excavated and recorded. This paper presents the latest ceramic evidence from the shipwreck. Incorporating both new and pervious records, it has been possible to reconstruct the location and quantity of ceramics, and define the distribution of cargo on board the Phanom Surin. Results from this research provide new insights into the seafaring trade network between China, the Middle East, and Southeast Asia.