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Maritime Trade and Deerskin in Iron Age Central Taiwan: A Zooarchaeological Perspective.

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Title:Maritime Trade and Deerskin in Iron Age Central Taiwan: A Zooarchaeological Perspective.
Authors:Yen, Ling-Da
Contributors:Anthropology (department)
Date Issued:Dec 2017
Publisher:University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa
Abstract:This study explores the commercialized deerskin production of Iron Age central Taiwan, developed in the context of maritime trade starting from the third century. Three specific hypotheses were proposed to investigate the deerskin trade: (1) the transition-to-commerce hypothesis proposes that there was a commodity-oriented deerskin production developed for export during the Iron Age; (2) the overseas-trade hypothesis proposes that the transition to commerce was associated with expanding overseas trade; (3) the tramping-for-profit hypothesis proposes a trade mode of navigation along the coast in search of profit. These hypotheses were tested by a quantitative analysis of faunal remains and the concentration of exotic artifacts from three Iron Age sites.
The empirical data analyzed in this dissertation include materials from the early Iron Age Huilai and the late Iron Age Luliao and Nanshikeng sites. A comparison between the three assemblages suggests that there was a transition to commerce during the Iron Age and that transition was associated with expanding overseas trade. The commodity-oriented deerskin production and maritime exchange are not evident in the early Iron Age, but appear to have increased in the late period. However, the transition varied among the two late Iron Age sites, with the commercial pattern more evident at Luliao. Based on the associated materials from Luliao, rather than just tramping along the coast, sustained trading may have been established at the site.
This study proposes that indigenous structure was significant for the transition to commerce, in addition to the external influence of maritime trade. Gift exchange was essential to the societies of prehistoric Taiwan. The decline in the production of native trade goods provided an opportunity for the adoption of exotic items, and thereby the rise of a commercial export economy. Trading for foreign items with social significance was competitive. Successful trade competition relied heavily on the strategies used by the Iron Age people, resulting in this variation of commerce in central Taiwan.
Description:Ph.D. Thesis. University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa 2017.
URI:http://hdl.handle.net/10125/62091
Rights:All UHM dissertations and theses are protected by copyright. They may be viewed from this source for any purpose, but reproduction or distribution in any format is prohibited without written permission from the copyright owner.
Appears in Collections: Ph.D. - Anthropology


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