Thursday, 22 November 2012

Madagascar and the Maritime Silk Road

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The Republic of Madagascar is an island country in the Indian Ocean, off the southeastern coast of Africa. It was a very important stop along ancient maritime trading routes.
And based on pottery and porcelain relics found in the country, archaeologists at Antananaviro University believe that China and Madagascar had contact in ancient times. The archaeologists say they hope to cooperate with their Chinese counterparts in the future to find out more about the two countries’ ancient relations.
Antananaviro University’s archaeology research lab, houses a large amount of ancient pottery works and porcelain pieces. According to the archaeologists, all of them came from China in the distant past.
Chantal, director of Dep. of Archaeology, Antananarivo Univ., said, "China and Madagascar established trade links as early as in the 10th century. Goods from China, mainly pottery and porcelain, were transported to Arab countries through the ancient Silk Road, and then to the Africa."
Chantal said she and her colleagues at the Department of Archaeology hope to cooperate with their Chinese counterparts in the future, to get a better understanding of how these Chinese relics made lt all the way to Africa.
Chantal said, "We have very little contact with Chinese archaeologists, who we believe have the knowledge and experience that can help us do the research. Maybe in the future we can reach out to each other and help each other, academically."
Many experts in China hold the view that communication and exchanges between China and African countries started in the 15th century, when the renowned explorer Zheng He commanded voyages to Southeast Asia, the Middle East and tbe coast of Africa. But according to the relics excavated in Madagascar and the research conducted by archaeologists at Antananaviro University, those contacts may started even earlier. Hopefully further cooperation in the future will help prove that.

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