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Rahmstorf, L., Barjamovic, G., Ialongo, N. (eds), Merchants, Measures and Money. Understanding Technologies of Early Trade in a Comparative Perspective. Proceedings of Two Workshops Funded by the European Research Foundation (ERC) - Open access Publication

Rahmstorf, L., Barjamovic, G., Ialongo, N. (eds), Merchants, Measures and Money. Understanding Technologies of Early Trade in a Comparative Perspective. Proceedings of Two Workshops Funded by the European Research Foundation (ERC). Weight & Value 2. Kiel/Hamburg: Wachholtz Verlag, 2021
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Rahmstorf, L., Barjamovic, G., Ialongo, N. (eds), Merchants, Measures and Money. Understanding Technologies of Early Trade in a Comparative Perspective. Proceedings of Two Workshops Funded by the European Research Foundation (ERC) - Open access Publication

Rahmstorf, L., Barjamovic, G., Ialongo, N. (eds), Merchants, Measures and Money. Understanding Technologies of Early Trade in a Comparative Perspective. Proceedings of Two Workshops Funded by the European Research Foundation (ERC) - Open access Publication

Merchants, Measures and Money Understanding Technologies of Early Trade in a Comparative Perspective Lorenz Rahmstorf, Gojko Barjamovic, Nicola Ialongo (eds) doi: 10.23797/9783529035418 Lorenz Rahmstorf, Gojko Barjamovic, Nicola Ialongo (eds.) Merchants, Measures and Money Understanding Technologies of Early Trade in a Comparative Perspective Weight & Value: Volume 2 Wachholtz Verlag, Kiel/Hamburg Published: 2021-3-31 Abstract This second volume in the series collects papers from two workshops held at the University of Göt- tingen in 2019 and 2020. The international meetings tackled questions related to merchants and mo- ney in a comparative perspective, with examples spanning from the Bronze Age to the early Modern period and embracing Europe, the Mediterranean, Asia and East Africa. The first part of this volume presents historical case studies of how merchants planned and carried out commercial expeditions; how risk, cost, and potential profit was calculated; and how the value of goods was calculated and converted. The papers in the second part address current theories and methods on the development and function of money before and after the invention of coinage. The introduction of balance scales around 3000 BCE enabled the formation of overarching indexes of value and the calculation of the commercial value of goods and services. It also allowed for a selected set of commodities to take on the role of currency. Around 650 BCE, this led to the invention of coinage in the Eastern Mediterra- nean. © L. Rahmstorf, published by Wachholtz 2021. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License. Merchants, Measures and Money Understanding Technolog ies of Early Trade in a Comparative Perspective Proceeding s of Two Workshops Funded by the European Research Council (ERC) Edited by Lorenz Rahmstorf, Gojko Barjamovic and Nicola Ialongo Weight&Value02.indb 1 19.02.21 11:45 Weig ht & Value Edited by Lorenz Rahmstorf Seminar für Ur- und Frühgeschichte Georg-August-Universität Göttingen Volume 2 Publications of the ERC -2014- CoG : WEIGHTANDVALUE : Weig ht Metrolog y and its Economic and Social Impact on Bronze Ag e Europe, West and South Asia Götting en 2021 Weight&Value02.indb 2 19.02.21 11:45 Merchants, Measures and Money Understanding Technolog ies of Early Trade in a Comparative Perspective Edited by Lorenz Rahmstorf, Gojko Barjamovic and Nicola Ialongo with contributions from Rodney Ast, Gojko Barjamovic, Alain Bresson, Georg Christ, Gareth Dale, Jan Gerrit Dercksen, Mark Gardiner, Anthony Harding, Nicola Ialongo, Carsten Jahnke, Christoph Kilger, Sibel Kusimba, Chapurukha M. Kusimba, Elizabeth Lambourn, Natascha Mehler, Claude Mordant, Rebecca Peake, Lorenz Rahmstorf, Felix Rösch, Malfalda Roscio, Clive Stannard, Piotr Steinkeller, François R. Velde, Julien Zurbach Proceeding s of Two Workshops Funded by the European Research Council (ERC) WACHHOLT Z VERL AG K IEL/HAMBURG Weight&Value02.indb 3 19.02.21 11:45 This publication was funded by the European Research Council [Grant no. 648055] The contributions to this volume have been individually reviewed by colleagues from the respective subfields to which they relate. The editors are grateful to the 19 colleagues who acted as peer-reviewers. Redaktion: Sandra Busch-Hellwig, Laura Hermann, Heinz-Peter Koch ISBN 978-3-529-03541-8 DOI 10.23797/9783529035418 © 2021 by Seminar für Ur- und Frühgeschichte der Universität Göttingen Cover: Front cover (top left): Reconstruction of the scale from Bordjoš, Banat, Serbia, c. 1200 BC (modified after P. Medović, Die Waage aus der frühhallstattzeitlichen Siedlung Bordjoš (Borjas) bei Novi Bečej (Banat). In: B. Hänsel (Hrsg.), Handel, Tausch und Verkehr im bronze- und früheisenzeitlichen Südosteuropa. Südosteuropa-Schr. 17 = Prähist. Arch. Südosteuropa 11 (München, Berlin 1995) 209-218, here fig. 5). Front cover (top right): Spool-shaped balance weights with markings from Tiryns, Argolid, Greece, mid- and late 3rd millennium BC. Courtesy of Lorenz Rahmstorf. Front cover (upper bottom): Examples of trientes of the Second Punic War issue at Minturnae. Courtesy of Clive Stannard. Front cover (lower bottom): Gold trader’s complete weighing tool kit, Bani-Shangul, Ethiopia. Donation by Per Sandvik, Vitenskapsmuseet, University of Trondheim, E 485-38 (photo: B. E. Thingstad). Back cover (top): Experimental leather zip pouch with fastening of leather loops and bronze baton inspired by the zip pouch found in the Middle Bronze Age Danish tomb of Hvidegard (made by Jess Paske); bone balance beam (made by Vincent Lascour) and three bronze weights (made by Aurélie Legras and Killian Morin) (© Claude Mordant). Back cover (bottom): The control of lengths of measurements is depicted in a 15th-century version of Jónsbók (Heynes­bók) (AM 147 4to). Image provided by The Árni Mag­nússon Institute of Icelandic Studies, Reykjavík. Alle Rechte, auch die des gesamten Nachdrucks, der photomechanischen Wiedergabe und der Übersetzung vorbehalten. Wachholtz Verlag Kiel/Hamburg 2021 Gedruckt auf säurefreiem, chlorfrei gebleichtem Papier Weight&Value02.indb 4 19.02.21 11:45 Preface by the editor of the series This volume presents the contributions of two editing this publication. The layout of the papers further workshops which were held within the and the book was again arranged by Heinz-Peter scope of the research project ERC-2014-CoG Koch. He was also responsible for solving graphi- ‘WEIGHTANDVALUE’. Volume  1 in the se- cal problems. Laura Hermann revised the language, ries Weight & Value presented the proceedings Sandra Busch-Hellwig corrected formal inaccura- of Workshops 1 and 2 held in 2016 and 2017 fo- cies. I would like to express to them and to Olaf Ir- cussing on “Weights and their Identification” and lenkäuser from Wachholtz Verlag my deepest grati- “Weights and Marketplaces”. This volume publishes tude for their outstanding work. The invitation and the contributions of Workshops 3 and 4. Work- hosting of the workshop’s participants, the printing shop 3, “Weights and Merchants. The Technology and the open access of this publication have been of Early Trade”, took place between 15th-17th May financed by the ERC Grant. 2019, Workshop 4, “Weights and Money. Un- The two first volumes in this series can be re- derstanding Money in a Comparative Perspective garded as a prolegomena to the material evidence from Prehistory to Modern Times”, between 27th- that we have focussed on in the research project: 29th May 2020. I am grateful that nearly all parti- mainly weights, but also scales and weight-adjusted cipants delivered a paper for the proceedings. My artefacts. In the workshops, the problems of the special thanks are due particularly to the authors of identification and the contextual use of these ob- the last workshop as they had only three months jects were discussed for the Bronze Age and later to prepare the written versions of their papers. As periods. In the volumes which will follow in this with Volume 1, this publication is available as open series, the actual data, especially the weights from access. Please note that larger, high-quality versions Bronze Age Europe, West and South Asia, which of the footnotes and figures printed within this have been investigated by the research team over volume are available for download: https://doi. the years since 2016, will be published in detail. org/10.23797/9783529035418 I would like to thank my co-editors Gojko Bar- Göttingen, January 2021 jamovic and Nicola Ialongo for their support in Lorenz Rahmstorf Weight&Value02.indb 5 19.02.21 11:45 Contents Lorenz Rahmstorf, Gojko Barjamovic, Nicola Ialongo Understanding technologies of early trade in a comparative perspective . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1 Part I: Weights and Merchants Carsten Jahnke Trade in different worlds. Trade between Western Europe and Novgorod from the end of the Viking Age to the time of the medieval Hanseatic League . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13 Natascha Mehler, Mark Gardiner Coinless exchange and foreign merchants in medieval Iceland (AD 900-1600) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 35 Gojko Barjamovic Technologies of trade in Western Asia in the Middle Bronze Age . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 55 Felix Rösch The technology of medieval maritime trade. An archaeological perspective on northern Germany and beyond . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 69 Elizabeth Lambourn Trade and containerisation. Perspectives from the medieval Indian Ocean world . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 99 Anthony Harding The movement of commodities in Bronze Age Europe . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 127 Rodney Ast Marcus Laelius Cosmus. Italian merchants and Roman trade at Berenike under the Julio-Claudian emperors . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 141 Claude Mordant, Rebecca Peake, Mafalda Roscio Weighing equipment in Late Bronze Age graves in the Seine and Yonne valleys . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 159 Piotr Steinkeller International trade in Greater Mesopotamia during late Pre-Sargonic times. The case of Ebla as illustrated by her participation in the Euphratean timber trade . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 173 Weight&Value02.indb 6 19.02.21 11:45 Part II: Weights and Money François R. Velde A functional approach to money in the ancient world . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 199 Georg Christ Weights, measures, monies: Venetian trade in Mamluk Alexandria within an imperial framework 207 Sibel Kusimba, Chapurukha M. Kusimba Cowries and blood. Money, value, and relationships in precolonial East Africa . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 225 Christoph Kilger What Viking merchants had in mind. Exploring Islamic weight standards and weighing practices within early medieval trading networks . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 245 Clive Stannard Small change in Campania from the fourth to the first century BC, and the newly discovered Second Punic War Roman mint of Minturnae . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 261 Alain Bresson Metal-object currency before coinage: China and the West . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 289 Gareth Dale The infinite silver of Xenophon. Money and growth in Classical Athens . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 305 Julien Zurbach Metal money before coinage in the Aegean, ca. 1400-600 BC . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 317 Jan Gerrit Dercksen Money in the Old Assyrian period . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 331 Author Guidelines . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 361 Weight&Value02.indb 7 19.02.21 11:45 Contributors Rodney Ast is Senior Research and Teaching As- broad field, his particular focus lies on the economy sociate at the Institute for Papyrology at the Univer- of Assyria and Babylonia. sity of Heidelberg, Germany. His areas of interest include Greek and Latin papyrology and paleogra- Mark Gardiner is an Associate Professor in the phy, the cultural and social history of Greco­-Roman School of History and Heritage, University of Lin- Egypt, Egyptian archaeology and digital human- coln, UK. He has published widely on medieval ities. He participates in fieldwork at the Red Sea buildings and the archaeology of historic land- coastal site of Berenike and in the Dakhla Oasis. scapes and farming in Britain and Ireland, but he has also had a long-standing concern with opera- Gojko Barjamovic is Senior Lecturer on Assyri­ tion of trade in the North Atlantic and its impact ology in the Department of Near Eastern Lan­ on local communities. guages and Civilizations at Harvard University, USA. His field of interest is the history of Assyria Anthony Harding is Emeritus Professor of Ar- in the 2nd and 1st millennia BC with particular fo- chaeology at the University of Exeter, UK. He is cus on the study of trade during the Old Assyri- a specialist on the Bronze Age archaeology of Eu- an period. His publications include: A Historical rope, and has written several books and many ar- Geo­graphy of Anatolia in the Old Assyrian Colony ticles on aspects of the Bronze Age, particularly Period (2011) and Libraries Before Alexandria cross-continent connections, warfare and settle- (2019). ment archaeology. In recent years he has worked especially on the archaeology of salt. Alain Bresson is Professor in the Departments of Classics and History and a member of the Ori- Nicola Ialongo is postdoctoral researcher in the ental Institute at the University of Chicago, USA. ERC-2014-CoG ‘WEIGHTANDVALUE’ at the His research focuses on the ancient economy, es- Georg-August-University of Göttingen, Germany. pecially that of the Greek world. He is the author He received his PhD at the University of Rome of The  Making of the Ancient Greek Economy: In- “La Sapienza”, Italy. His interests comprise prehis- stitutions, Markets, and Growth in the City-States toric economy and trade, religion and power in (2016). In his most recent publications, he inves- prehistoric societies, Bronze Age hoards and votive tigates the structure of money circulation in the depositions, relative chronology of the European wider Mediterranean region.  Bronze Age and statistical methods in archaeologi­ cal research. Georg Christ is Senior Lecturer in Medieval and Early Modern History in the Department of Histo- Carsten Jahnke is Associate Professor for Medi- ry at the University of Manchester, UK. His fields eval History, SAXO-Institute, University of Co- of interest include global trade connections and penhagen, Denmark. He studied History, German knowledge management in the pre-modern period Literature, German Language, Philosophy and with a particular focus on Mamluk-Venetian eco- Education Science at University of Kiel, Germany. nomic and political relations in the 14th century. In 2004, he received a postdoctoral lecture qualifi- His publications include Trading Conflicts (2012), cation (habilitation) from the same university. His A King of Two Seas (2017), History and Economic main research interests focus on the trade of the Life (2020). Late Medieval/Early Modern period in the Baltic Sea. Gareth Dale teaches Politics at Brunel Univer- sity London, UK. His publications include books Christoph Kilger is Senior Lecturer at the De- on the GDR (German Democratic Republic) and partment of Archaeology and Ancient History, Eastern Europe, migrant labour, revolutions, green Uppsala University, based at the Visby campus growth, and Karl Polanyi. He has published in The in Gotland, Sweden. His doctoral thesis was pub- Ecologist, Open Democracy, The Conversation, Jaco- lished in 2000 as Pfennigmärkte und Währungsland- bin, Viewpoint, and Spectre. schaften: Monetarisierungen im sächsisch-slawischen Grenz­­land ca. 965-1120 and his research interests Jan Gerrit Dercksen is Lecturer in Assyriology include monetisation and monetary practices of at the Institute for  Area Studies (LIAS), Leiden the Viking-Age and the spiritual economy of the University, the Netherlands. He obtained his PhD Middle Ages. in 1996 on the analysis of the Old Assyrian trade in copper. His main research interests are the Old Chapurukha M. Kusimba is Professor of An- Assyrian and Old Babylonian periods. Within this thropology in the Department of Anthropology Weight&Value02.indb 8 19.02.21 11:45 at the University of South Florida, USA. For two Georg-August-University of Göttingen, Germany. decades, he has directed an active research program He has academic degrees from the Universities of in anthropological archaeology, ethnoarchaeology, Bristol, UK (MA), Heidelberg, Germany (PhD) and community archaeology and museology in and Mainz, Germany (habilitation). He is leading East Africa. Additionally, he has ongoing collabo- the ERC Consolidator Project ‘WEIGHTAND- rative research programs in India and the Peoples’ VALUE’ as the principal investigator and has spe- Republic of China. He is a member of the Ameri- cific research interests in early trade. can Academy of Arts and Sciences. Felix Rösch currently holds the position of re­ Sibel Kusimba is Associate Professor of Anthro- search fellow at the Seminar für Ur- und Früh- pology in the Department of Anthropology at the geschichte at Georg-August-University of Göttin- University of South Florida, USA. She is an eco- gen, Germany. He is a trained scientific diver and nomic anthropologist who studies the history and received his MA degree in 2011 and his PhD in influence of money and exchange and how value is 2015, both at the Institute of Pre- and Protohistory, created and circulated in society. She has conduc- University of Kiel, Germany. His research interests ted anthropological and archaeological fieldwork are historical archaeology, the maritime Middle in Kenya for two decades on topics ranging from Ages, settlement archaeology, urbanisation, trade inter-ethnic cooperation, to leadership, to environ- and exchange and digital methods. mental change, to the origins of trade. Her forth- coming work, Reimagining Money, examines the Mafalda Roscio works in preventive archaeolo- impact of new forms of money. gy as a senior protohistoric ceramics specialist at Éveha Lyon, France. She completed her PhD at the Elizabeth Lambourn is a medieval historian and University of Burgundy, Dijon, France, in 2011 on Reader in South Asian and Indian Ocean Studies at the transition between Middle Bronze Age Tumu- De Montfort University Leicester, UK. Originally lus culture and Late Bronze Age Urnfield culture trained in Islamic Art History, her  work engages from north-east France to south-west Germany. equally with texts and ‘things,’ and with texts as ma- Her research interests include material culture and terial ‘things.’ She has published widely on various funerary practices in European protohistoric soci- aspects of the circulation of artefacts, animals, peo- eties, cultural identity and relationships, relative ple, and ideas around the Indian Ocean area, like chronology and social structures analysis. the monograph Abraham’s Luggage. A Social Life of Things in the Medieval Indian Ocean World (2018).  Clive Stannard is an Honorary Visiting Fellow of the School of Archaeology and Ancient History Natascha Mehler is a medieval and post-medie- at the University of Leicester, UK. He reads Social val archaeologist and Professor at the Department Anthropology and History at the University of of Prehistory and Historical Archaeology, Univer- Cape Town, South Africa. His current research fo- sity of Tübingen, Germany, and Honorary Reader cusses on integrating numismatics and archaeology at the Institute for Northern Studies at the Univer- to study trade in the western Mediterranean, and sity of the Highlands and Islands, Inverness, UK. the evolution of the monetary economy of central Her work focuses on archaeological approaches to Italy, in the 2nd and 1st centuries BC. trade in the North Atlantic and she has worked on Icelandic archaeology for more than 20 years.  Piotr Steinkeller following his undergraduate work at Warsaw University, Poland, studied As- Claude Mordant is Emeritus Professor of Euro- syriology at the University of Chicago, USA (PhD pean Protohistory at the University of Burgundy, 1977). He has taught since 1981 at the Depart- Dijon, France. His main research interests focus on ment of Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations the Late Bronze Age in Europe and include funer- at Harvard University, USA, and is Professor of ary practices, manufacturing techniques of bronze Assyriology. His research focuses on Mesopotamia objects, social consumption of metal, non-funerary during the 3rd millennium BC, in particular, socio- metal deposits and cultural modelling. economic history, historical geography (including   Iran/Persian Gulf ), religion, and history of early Rebecca Peake is a senior project manager at the cuneiform writing. French National Institute for Preventive Archaeo- logical Research (Inrap), specialising in the Bronze François R. Velde is senior economist and Age and the Early Iron Age. Her research interests research advisor in the economic research include funerary practices, material culture, mobil- department at the Federal Reserve Bank of ity, isotope analysis and manifestations of commen- Chicago, USA. His field of interest is economic sality in Late Bronze Age society. history, primarily monetary, with topics ranging from the 7th century BC to the 20th century AD. Lorenz Rahmstorf is Director and Professor Publications include  The Big Problem of Small of the Seminar für Ur- und Frühgeschichte at Change (with Thomas J. Sargent). Weight&Value02.indb 9 19.02.21 11:45 Julien Zurbach is Associate Professor of Ancient Greek History at the École Normale Supérieure (ENS) in Paris, France. He is also a member of the Research unit Archéologies et Philologies d’Orient et d’Occident (AorOc) and of the Institut Uni- versitaire de France (IUF). He specialises in early Greek economic history  and Mycenaean epigra- phy, and has done fieldwork  on Crete, in Kirrha (Phocis) and Miletus. His publications include Les hommes, la terre et la dette en Grèce, ca 1400-ca 500 a.C. and Naissance de la Grèce. De Minos à Solon (with M. C. D’Ercole). Weight&Value02.indb 10 19.02.21 11:45 Understanding technologies of early trade in a comparative perspective by Lorenz Rahmstorf, Gojko Barjamovic & Nicola Ialongo For as long as merchants have existed, such spe- century AD that separated the value of money cialists in conducting commercial exchange have from commodity. But their importance is mostly shared a common set of problems. They had to relevant to the scope of the discipline under which plan and execute trade expeditions, calculate risks, money is investigated, and they all represent sim- costs, and potential profit, and assess and convert plifications of a complex problem of payment that the material value of goods from one to another. formed only one of several technological, conven- The chapters presented in this volume present tional and infrastructural challenges faced by the historical case studies of how such problems were traders. addressed. The chapters as a whole suggest that the hard Authors engage broadly with the tools of trade. boundaries between economic ‘formalist’ and ‘sub- Some contributors study the means of representing stantivist’ approaches to premodern economies value, such as currency; ways of recording, storing from a generation ago has softened in recent years, and verifying information, such as technologies of and their relative importance now seems inversely counting, writing, tokens, tallies, and seals; and correlated with the density of economic data avail- measuring and navigational instruments, such as able in an academic subfield. Sociologists and econ- maps, itineraries, and computing aids. Others pay omists with their vast datasets rely on statistics and particular attention to weights, weighing systems mathematical modelling to describe the behaviour and weight-regulated artefacts, or explore com- of individuals past and present. Assyriologists and mercial infrastructure, such as marketplaces, roads, Classicists have at their disposal thousands of an- bridges, ports, inns/caravanserais, bearers and cient records to reconstruct far-reaching economic beasts of burden, vessels and vehicles, clothing, lift- practices and observe long-term processes. Prehis- ing equipment, ropes/saddling, and containers, as torians have more ambiguous material evidence to well as the physical institutions of its management, track ancient patterns of behaviour; their data tend protection and patronage. Studies in Part II have a to mould theories, with plenty of room to infer particular focus on the role of money in trade. what cannot be seen directly. Exploring historical Presenting cases that span the Bronze Age to cases together, side by side, and addressing the same the early modern period across Africa and Eurasia questions, even when there are no obvious answers, facilitates comparison between commercial tech- allows this volume to form a broad picture of mer- nologies and accentuates both general and particu- chants, measures and money across space and time, lar taxonomies and aspects of such technologies while simultaneously paying due attention to the to define exemplary tool kits of traders through specific and oftentimes unique details presented by time and space. A few milestones merit particular each case. mention for the fact that authors refer to them re- The scholarly background and financial support peatedly across chapters. The invention of balance behind this volume comes from the ERC-funded scales around 3000 BC helped in the formation of research project WEIGHTANDVALUE devoted overarching indexes of value between commodities to the study of metrology and value in pre-modern and the objective commensuration of the commer- societies. A series of conferences organised around cial value of goods and services. In some societies, subtopics relevant to the overall goal of the project technologies of counting and measurements, e. g. has brought together specialists from a wide series weight and volume, allowed a limited number of of academic disciplines to present historical cases commodities to function as media of exchange. and discuss their broader implications. This volume This was particularly true in the densely populat- assembles 18 chapters contributed by participants ed parts of Africa and Eurasia where the value of in two such thematically closely linked meetings on money became linked to its perceived value as a the infrastructure of exchange and the technologies commodity. Alongside other commodities, silver of valuation and currency. These were the third and and gold in particular came to function as the basis fourth conference held under the aegis of the pro- of valuation and a means of payment. Later devel- ject, respectively. opments include the introduction of fiat money in Given their origin in the overall project funded the early 1st millennium BC in China, the appear- by the ERC, meetings were somewhat loosely titled ance of institutionally guaranteed minted currency Weights and Merchants and Weights and Money. in Western Asia in the 7th c. BC, and the gradual To stimulate a more uniform set of case studies, global abolishment of the gold standard in the 20th we provided contributors with a general set of Weight and Value • Vol. 2 • 2021 1 Weight&Value02.indb 1 19.02.21 11:45 Lorenz Rahmstorf, Gojko Barjamovic & Nicola Ialongo questions in advance of each meeting for them to • Bulk products (volume) address within the framework of their case. These What kind of transport boxes, vessels, con- original sets of questions are presented below to tainers were used? How were they secured? provide readers with a sense both of what thoughts What role did seals/sealings play? drove us as organisers, and to see how the contribu- How was volume measured? Which goods tors chose to engage with those questions as applic­ were measured by volume? able to their individual topics. • Commodities and weight How was amorphous material evaluated for Part I: Weights and merchants its value? Were scales and weights used, and for which The catalogue of questions for the first meet- categories of goods? ing was divided into five overall sections on (1) Were traders bringing weights with them terminology, (2) tools of exchange, (3) social and during travels? Whom would such weights political organisation of trade, (4) infrastructure of belong to: personal, company, institutional? mobility: prerequisites and physical evidence, and Was only one weight system in use or where (5) security, risk and the legal system. Particular at- several in use at the same time? Were different tention was devoted to the study of weights, weigh- systems used for different goods and/or dif- ing systems and weight-regulated artefacts, but nu- ferent trading partners? merous other aspects of commercial infrastructure Do the merchants refer to different regional were addressed as pertinent to the individual cases. metrologies? How did they convert between Case studies spanning 5,000 years of history across them? Africa and Eurasia facilitate comparison between Did the merchants verify the exactness of commercial technologies and accentuate both their weights and how? general and particular taxonomies and aspects of such technologies to define exemplary tool kits of • Currencies traders through time and space. Did merchants use a commonly accepted cur- rency? 1. Terminology Did they use local currencies? • Notions What role did metal (gold, silver) bullion play What is the terminology used for the agents in the exchange? of exchange (traders, merchants, entrepre- Are weight-regulated artefacts attested? neurs, etc., e. g. German: Händler, Kauf- mann)? Are they differentiated in function 3. Social and internal organisation and complexity? • Organisation and scale Were merchants working alone or within an • Underlying concepts agency or company? What terminology is appropriate according How were informal collaboration and formal to your opinion? partnerships structured? Do you think that there is an evolutionary How important were family relations within concept underlying these notions? the group? Did the merchants form a guild? • Expeditions versus regular trade Is trade related only to states? Is trade an ap- To what extent can we differentiate, by ar- propriate term for exchange in prehistoric chaeological means, between individuals who cultures? travelled to resources to obtain material for Does the use of certain tools (e. g. weights) themselves, and professional traders who ob- and the presence of particular types of infra- tained the material from abroad for others at structure by mobile individuals allow us to home? identify traders also in prehistoric societies? 2. Tools of exchange: Conceptional approaches • Gender and physical evidence Were traders both male and female? • General classes of tools What role did gender play in the exchange What basic tools were used to facilitate trade? and who were their partners? Is there any documentation for numbers used to document goods in transport or exchange? • Social esteem Which computing aids were used? Were tal- What position did merchants hold within so- lies used? ciety: where they fully embedded or spatially and/or socially separated? What was their • Trade and literacy standing in society? Was their profession re- Was writing used to document trade? lated to a certain rank? 2 Weight and Value • Vol. 2 • 2021 Weight&Value02.indb 2 19.02.21 11:45 Understanding technologies of early trade in a comparative perspective If the traders lived abroad and in an enclave, Was trade protected by e. g. patrols, guards, what was their social standing within the lim- fortifications? its of that society? What types of vessels were used in maritime and riverine trade? • Temporality versus permanence Were any ports built? Were foreign traders al- How stable was the system of trade? lowed to use them? What measures were taken to ensure its per- Did traders build their own religious struc- sistence and by whom? tures, such as sanctuaries, chapels, churches, mosques? • Training, qualification, aptitude Are guild houses known? Were ancestry, aptitude, or other qualities of the individual relevant to his/her position • Storage and banking and success in business? What installations were used for storage, both To what extent were merchants trained and for goods and tools? how? Are hoards archaeologically attested? How To what extent was family relation important are they explained? Can they be related to for education? (potential) traders? Did banks/temples/treasure houses exist? 4. Mobility How were they secured? • Mobility How mobile were the merchants? How is this 5. Security, calculation and law related to agency? • Security Were traders more mobile than other mem- What measures were taken to ensure the secu- bers of society? rity of traders? How is this traceable – e. g. through written Were traders armed or even feared as war­ records, grave goods, isotope studies, aDNA? riors? Are there indications for the movement of Was there any convention or law regulating live animals? the treatment of foreigners; were there regu- How regular were trading expeditions? lations specific to traders? If traders were under state-protection, what • Exploration were the punishments when traders were How were trade relations set up in the first place? harmed? What comprised its exploration phase? To what extent did merchants rely on local • Costs, risks and insurance partners? What was the difference between maritime and overland trade in terms of risk? • Geography How was risk calculated? How does it relate To what extent was the regional geography to potential profit? known to the traders? Were traders explorers? Did merchants insure their risk? Were banks, How was geography represented – e. g. by investors etc. involved? maps, itineraries, tallies? What can we say about the geographies • Trust and legal institutions known to traders beyond the trade circuits What role did trust play? How was trust es- themselves? tablished between partners? What distances were travelled? What measures were taken when somebody’s What kind of measuring and navigational in- confidence was betrayed? struments were used? Were legally binding records used to stipulate How precise were they? and regulate the conduct of exchange? How did they measure and calculate time? Were there official and legal institutions open to litigate relations of trade and finance? • Physical trade infrastructure Did the traders use roads and bridges? Several of the points on this list could only be To what extent did they have any agency in addressed directly for cases in which there are eye- the building of such structures, e. g. in collab- witness accounts written or reported. Plainly, these oration with local partners? are lacking from all prehistoric and even from Did they use carts and beasts of burden; many historical cases. The effort was nevertheless where there organised caravans? to stimulate contributors working on incomplete Did they pay tolls and fees; were these differ- material to think about merchants in their case ent from what locals paid? within the larger framework of the meeting. Some Did inns, caravanserais, paddocks, animal authors chose to systematically address the points breeding stations etc. exist? provided in the list whenever possible. Others Weight and Value • Vol. 2 • 2021 3 Weight&Value02.indb 3 19.02.21 11:45 Lorenz Rahmstorf, Gojko Barjamovic & Nicola Ialongo gave summary reflections on specific regions and/ commodities and as measures of value on Iceland, or chronological periods, and some would focus preventing coins from taking over as currency in on the particular aspect of transport. The order of the trade; foreign merchants were compelled to papers in the first half of this volume reflects this adopt the specific Icelandic commodity money multidirectional approach with contributions pre- system. Trade was often dangerous, and the Ice- sented in order of content rather than chronology landic sagas offer ample evidence for violence and of subject. conflict; lead bullets excavated on marketplac- es may support this notion. Foreign merchants Carsten Jahnke offers an overview of the vo- followed local Icelandic jurisdiction in their in- luminous medieval trade system connecting the teractions. Also journeys over the open Atlantic Western Baltic Sea region and Novgorod. The were dangerous, but as successful long-distance author casts the exchange as taking place between trade was highly profitable, merchants sought to two culturally and linguistically very different re- reduce the risk and spread investment by form- gions, tracing its chronological developments, and ing alliances and joint ventures, at least during emphasising its fluidity and adaptivity to changing the later phases of the period under review. There political and economic circumstances. The case are indications that also women engaged in trade provides dense documentation for the commercial ventures, for example as representative agents in strategies used to overcome barriers of language, the home ports. divergent institutional settings, and sometimes opposing cultural traditions between the parties Gojko Barjamovic traces structures and pro- involved in the trade. Jahnke traces a wide variety cedures of trade in Northern Mesopotamia and of approaches that developed to meet such chal- Anatolia in the early 2nd millennium BC. Drawing lenges, including technological (record keeping, upon a large body of private commercial archives transportation, metrology, currency, communica- from the site of Kültepe in modern-day Turkey, he tion), institutional (mobility, legal, security, insur-discusses the physical and commercial infrastruc- ance), and social (agency, intermarriage, guilds) ture and technologies used by overland traders, solutions. A characteristic feature of the Hanse- providing a picture of the ‘tools of the trade’ in atic system was its high degree of reliance upon Western Asia in the 19th century BC. The records dense and trust-based personal networks of col- from Kültepe document one particular trade route laborators across a large geographical space. These and its auxiliaries, which the author in turn uses networks allowed the head merchants to remain to trace the existence of several other such high-­ at home, and to direct their trade from a distance intensity trans-regional commercial circuits that through letters. Jahnke emphasises how individu- ultimately tied together the densely settled zones al success in such a system depended on person- of Africa and Eurasia and allowed goods to travel al reputation and the ability to call in and return in great volume over great distances, from Siberia favours, and highlights its dispersed nature as and China to Egypt and the Aegean. Barjamovic a way to lower both risks and transaction costs, uses the intensity and volume of commercial inter- while at the same time overcoming cultural and action to argue that the proceeds along the major linguistic fault lines. trade routes transformed local economy, affect- ing not only producers, consumers, traders and Natascha Mehler and Mark Gardiner follow transporters, but also changing societies along the the list of circulated questions closely in their pre­ major routes that provided passage, nourishment sentation of the case of medieval Iceland, ca. 900- and security for the merchants. He points out that 1600 AD. Their discussion of trade and exchange such supporting infrastructures are ephemeral in mechanisms over the northern Atlantic is based the written and material record, and yet, for the on both written sources and archaeological data. system to operate the way it did, one must neces- Numerous languages (Icelandic, Danish, English, sarily infer their existence. An apparent difference German, Latin) were spoken by merchants and between the case documented at Kültepe and clients in the system, reflecting the shifting multi-­ the one discussed by Steinkeller (later in this centered state system of the seven centuries in volume) appears to be the mostly private nature question. Multilingualism was promoted by the of large-scale commercial activities: state actors fact that merchants, their servants and appren- provided the necessary physical and institutional/ tices had to, in some cases, stay in Iceland dur- legal infrastructure and security to allow traffic to ing winter, sometimes hosted by local chieftains. flow in return for taxation, but they were not di- During the Viking Age, these chieftains regulated rectly involved in commercial activities as would prices in political assemblies and used a commod- appear in the case of Ebla. This image may, how- ity money system based partially on (hack)silver ever, be a result of the nature of the ancient data, as a standard of value. Weights for measuring one set coming from an institutional context, and silver are preserved in Viking Age graves. By the the other for private archives, and it is not clear to 13th century, woollen cloth, and later also dried what extent state actors were directly involved in fish (stockfish), became more prevalent both as either case. 4 Weight and Value • Vol. 2 • 2021 Weight&Value02.indb 4 19.02.21 11:45 Understanding technologies of early trade in a comparative perspective Felix Rösch compares commercial and institu- Anthony Harding turns to a fundamental prob- tional developments during the Middle Ages at four lem of Bronze Age research: exchange and its dy- trading locations of Groß Strömkendorf/Reric, namics in Europe. The material that gave name to Schleswig, Lübeck and Bardowick in northern Eu- the epoch already provides a suggestive exempli- rope, which can be considered either as production fication: casting bronze often required transport- sites, ports of trade, central places, or nodal points. ing copper and tin over hundreds of kilometres. In addition, he summarises the evidence for trans- Bronze Age Europe was mostly illiterate, and even port by sea and land during this period, and de- the early Greek Linear B texts offer little clue as to scribes the advances in Nordic ship building. Early how exchange was organised. Hence, modelling ports like Schleswig had a commercial waterfront trade draws upon a great deal of indirect evidence. design, with platforms meant to host marketplaces. Harding is concerned with the physical evidence In later times, the marketplace moved to the town for the movement of goods and trade-related de- center and trade then also took place in merchant vices and infrastructure. With the exception of houses. Some aspects are particularly interesting, weights and balances, no devices that may have seen in a comparative perspective. For instance, the facilitated such exchange appear to have survived, early use of standardised weights and weight systems unless one understands the category of peculiar in the northern German/western Baltic region dur- objects with signs (the so-called Brotlaibidole) as a ing the Viking Age was apparently not regulated by kind of receipt produced in an exchange process. central authorities. It instead relied on long-lasting Harding primarily emphasises the importance of customary relationships between old and new trad- riverine over terrestrial routes, which would have ing partners, including exchange relations with the relied on pack animals. But even the evidence of Mediterranean and Western Asia. The author also transport over water remains elusive, since direct makes a case about imported ceramics, frequently finds of cargo ships (apart from the more com- found in commercial settlements. He points to an mon canoes) is absent so far, with the exception of ongoing debate about whether such ceramics were a few boats uncovered in England. In this respect, imported as merchandise, used as containers, or the discussion of Bronze Age exchange in Europe whether they were carried along by foreign seafar- is primarily limited to commodities and their dis- ers as part of their personal belongings. This mirrors tribution. Har­ding discusses two case studies: the a long-standing debate around foreign ceramics, so-called Cypriot spearheads, as a material example frequently found in Bronze Age ports of trade and of the old debate surrounding contacts between the shipwrecks in the Mediterranean. East Mediterranean and Europe, and salt, its pro- duction, trade and function as a commodity. We Elizabeth Lambourn opens up her contribution do not know if salt was weighed out, but Harding with an overview of current research on medie- remarks that we so far lack heavy weights similar val exchange in the Indian Ocean – a field with a to the Near Eastern talent in the archaeological re- wide-ranging geographical scope and relying on a cord of Bronze Age Europe that would allow quan- great diversity of sources. Formalised mercantile tification by mass of heavy loads. associations with multicultural competencies were   active in the world’s third largest ocean. The author Rodney Ast goes beyond the technicalities of focuses on the phenomenon of containerisation, commerce to explore an ancient entrepreneur’s ties observable e. g. through storage and transport jars with social life, politics, and even popular culture. apparently produced in the Guangdong province Starting from unpublished inscriptions found in in China, but found in shipwrecks throughout the Temple of Isis at Berenike on the Red Sea coast, the Indian Ocean littoral from the 9th century AD the author reconstructs the identity and business onwards. The volume of one ceramic vessel recov- ventures of one particular merchant, Laelius Cos- ered from the Phanon Surin shipwreck is so large mus, active during the period of the early Roman that the question arises as to how – if at all – large Empire. Textual records show that this Cosmus amphorae were brought in and out of the hold. (or maybe other related persons bearing the same Further quantitative studies of the volume of most name) led maritime trade enterprises in the port common vessels are necessary. Also, soft container- towns of Berenike and Myos Hormos. By putting isation in sacks in bales is documented. Of particu- together circumstantial evidence from archaeologi- lar interest are the finds of labelled sacks reporting cal, epigraphic, and literary sources, Ast proposes a the name of the seller, the intended recipient, and suggestive interpretation of Cosmus’s social perso- giving general delivery instructions. Similar infor- na. He describes a successful entrepreneur of Italian mation also survives in the so-called India Book, a origins, possibly a freedman, as a public benefactor collection of documents from the Cairo Genizah. and important figure with prominent political ac- Inside the bales, textiles and also pepper, beads, lac, quaintances. Ast suggests that his reputation may storax and other items were transported. So far, have grown to a point where the poet Martial one there is little evidence for standardisation of sack generation later used Cosmus as inspiration for a and bale weights but, as the author concludes, more personage with the same name recurring in his fa- empirical research is still needed in the area. mous epigrams. Weight and Value • Vol. 2 • 2021 5 Weight&Value02.indb 5 19.02.21 11:45 Lorenz Rahmstorf, Gojko Barjamovic & Nicola Ialongo Claude Mordant, Rebecca Peake and Mafalda Part II: Weights and money Roscio discuss the frequent occurrence of weigh- ing equipment in cemeteries located in the Upper The catalogue of questions for the second of the Seine and Yonne valleys in France. They emphasise two meetings explores notions of money across the status of weight-bearers as warriors, but also as human cultures and historical periods. Some con- ‘men of science’, who would have acted at the same tributions were moved between the two halves of time as metalworkers and merchants. They suggest the volume, with presenters speaking at one of the that the concentration of graves with weighing meetings in the end producing chapters themati- equipment in this particular region is related di- cally better suited for the other part of the book. rectly to its geographical position on an important This clearly speaks to the fluidity of categories and crossroad. The Seine river basin is connected to the intellectual crossover between topics. Contribu- Channel and the British Isles to the northwest, to tions in the second part of this volume are arranged the Saône/Rhône rivers and the Mediterranean to by topic and in inverse chronological order, from the south, and to the Rhine river and Central Eu- historical situations in which the existence of mon- rope to the east. As a comparison, they evoke the ey can be taken for granted (e. g. the Mediterranean much later situation of the large medieval fairs in trade in the Late Middle Ages) to times in which Champagne held in the same region, which at- this is less obvious (e. g. Bronze Age Mesopotamia). tracted European merchants along the same river- The intention has been to ease comparison between ine routes. It remains to be proven that full-time economic systems, both those with and without ex- professional merchants operated in Bronze Age tensive use of money. Authors dealing with chrono­ Europe, but graves containing extensive evidence logically recent cases tend to focus their studies on of weighing equipment, gold or bronze scrap and social aspects of money. Authors addressing more other tools are important evidence pointing in that historically remote contexts in which the existence direction. Future research on object provenance of money is less obvious focus more on the tech- and genome of local populations may shed further nical properties of money. This disparity reflects a light on this open question. welcome shift from earlier dichotomies between substantivist and formalist approaches. Piotr Steinkeller explores the outline of a very early and previously unresearched ancient network 1. Core questions of long-distance trade. Based on records found in • Is standard economic theory adequate in ex- a palatial archive from the Syrian city of Ebla, he plaining the evidence of money? draws out the contours of an extensive commercial • Was there economy without money? network that connected resource-producing ar- • Are ‘primitive’ and ‘modern’ monies differ- eas and densely settled urban zones of Egypt and ent? Western Asia in the 24th century BC. The scale • Is ‘primitive’ money more different from and volume of this exchange points to the exist- ‘modern’ money, than primitive monies are ence of long-established and densely trafficked different from one another? routes between the multitude or relatively small • Does money ‘evolve’? states of Western Asia. The chapter dives into the • Does money have different functions in dif- mechanics of this exchange through the case of ferent economic systems? the Euphratean timber trade, in which Ebla, due • Does the structure of the economic system to its geographical location, held an advantageous determine the function of money? position to act as transporter and commercial mid- dleman. The records document an intricate system 2. The materiality of money in which commercial channels were kept open by • What forms can money take? diplomatic interaction, and in which a complex • How can we identify non-coined money in infrastructure of portage pathways, wagon tracks, the absence of direct accounts? riverine ports and protective fortresses was main- • Does the form of money determine its func- tained for the systematic and large-scale logging tion? and transport of timber. Payments are recorded • Mass is an intuitive dimension of money, are in silver and gold, sometimes adding up to several there other dimensions? tons of silver and hundreds of kilograms of gold • How many different monies coexist at a given each year. The author suggests that parts of the time in a given economy? commercial network evidenced at Ebla must have • Are there different monies in modern econ- been operational before 3100 BC, thereby implic- omy? itly linking the commercial and cultural integra- • Are there differences in the circulation of dif- tion of the region between Egypt and the Indus ferent monies within the system? Valley to the process of urbanisation and the rise • Are there goods that cannot be bought with of state itself. money? • Are there goods that can or cannot be bought with specific money? 6 Weight and Value • Vol. 2 • 2021 Weight&Value02.indb 6 19.02.21 11:45 Understanding technologies of early trade in a comparative perspective • Are specific monies limited to sectors of the Responses to these questions were produced on population? different levels by the authors, including more the- • What are the differences, are they quantitative oretical and more data-driven approaches. Christ, or qualitative? Kusimba and Kusimba, and Kilger originally sub- • Are the standard values of different monies mitted their chapters to the proceedings of the always reciprocally convertible? Weights and Merchants workshop, but given the position of money as a central part in their argu- 3. Money as a unit of account ment, it seemed natural to place them alongside • What is the relationship between weight and the contributions to the second part and integrate face value? the two broad themes within an organic scope. The • Debasement, or its contrary: Has it ever hap- result is – we believe – a stimulating diversity of ap- pened that the pureness of a minted money proaches across the two halves of the book. was raised? • And if it has, then why? And what were the François R. Velde introduces an approach to consequences? the understanding of money grounded in his back- • Metal money: the value of metal versus face ground as an economist and economic historian. value; can the value of money in its ‘commod- His essay questions several common assumptions, ity state’ be higher than its face value? introducing money as an anomaly which econom- • If values are convertible, what is the difference ic theory does not account for. Money is, as Velde between money and commodities? I. e., if puts it, not ‘obvious’, but ‘a problem that needs to money is a commodity, can every commodity be solved.’ The standard theory simply states that be money? goods have prices and that goods are sold and pur- chased. The model does not differentiate purchas- 4. Money and the state es made with barter and money. Yet, even though • How does fiat money come into use? economic theory does not predict a role for money, • Why do central institutions adopt fiat mon- it is evident that money plays an important a role. ey? Is it always convenient? Therefore, Velde argues, if one aims to understand • How does the introduction of fiat money how money works, a role has to be created for it change monetary patterns of exchange? in the model. Such a role needs to work around • Is the introduction of fiat money an ‘instant the problem of the ‘double coincidence of wants’, revolution’, or does it produce change in the which predicts that a transaction cannot take place long term? if the buyer and the seller do not agree upon how • Do coins necessarily replace other forms of the price is paid. For example, a crop farmer who money stuff ? wants a smartphone cannot typically buy it for • Do states trade in non-coined money stuff ? wheat. The transaction does not take place, not because wheat is without value, but because the re- 5. Ancient versus modern knowledge tailer knows that it will be difficult to use wheat as • How much do we understand about money? payment in a future transaction. The double coinci- Does our knowledge develop in parallel with dence of wants sets a limit to the viability of barter. the functions of money, or do these functions Money provides a solution to this problem, by cre- exist in spite of our knowledge? ating a medium that everyone wants and is willing • What evidence is there for societies reflecting to accept as payment. on the properties of money? – including the Creating a role for money, however, is still insuf- governing body (i. e., elites, rulers, lawmakers, ficient to explain why money has value. According philosophers)? – and trade specialists? to the standard classification, money can derive • How did commoners and trade specialists re- value from political authority (fiat money), from act to changes in monetary policies? an implicit agreement between subjects (fiduciary • Are there examples of demands to change money), or from the market value of the substance monetary policies? of which it is made (commodity money). Velde, however, observes that this distinction is more 6. Money, morality and social relationships theoretical than practical, and that such traits • To what extent is money impersonal and un- often overlap. Other papers in this book address emotional? the question of the source of money’s value. Clive • What are societal attitudes towards monetary Stannard, for example, shows that coinage in late wealth? Republican Italy could derive its value simply from • Is the use of money acceptable for some social an implicit convention. Christoph Kilger, on the groups, but dissuaded or forbidden to others? other hand, notes that in medieval Islamic mar- • How are monetary transactions affected by kets, silver coins could be fragmented and circu- personal ties? late as commodity money. To complicate matters • How does money affect social relationships? further, one may also consider that monies that are not inherently valuable (e. g. banknotes or sea Weight and Value • Vol. 2 • 2021 7 Weight&Value02.indb 7 19.02.21 11:45 Lorenz Rahmstorf, Gojko Barjamovic & Nicola Ialongo shells) have in fact the same functions of monies customs, taxes, contrasting laws, and different lan- made of valuable materials (e. g. gold coins, hack- guages, metrologies, and monetary systems. One silver). Velde concludes that money has value only would expect – Christ argues – that this threat- because people believe that it does. While the cir- ened international trade by increasing transaction cularity of this statement at first glance may look costs and preventing market integration, and yet as a resignation to an unsolvable problem, it repre- he finds no evidence that such complicacies ham- sents the pivotal point of his argument. The key to pered what was arguably one of the most profitable understanding money does not reside in why we markets of the late Middle Ages in any noticeable use it, but in what it does: whatever the source of way. The only way to explain this seemingly con- its value, money has the same function. This leads tradictory outcome, the author suggests, is to shift to the enfranchisement of all forms of money – the analytical focus from the system’s mechanics to modern, pre-modern, pre-coinage, and prehistoric the social and behavioural dimensions of its pro- – under a single broad denomination. As the chap- tagonists. Based on the private archive of a Vene- ters by Gojko Barjamovic and Jan Gerrit Dercksen tian merchant, he observes that traders were em- show, silver bullion and private letters of credit bedded in a network of close social relationships. could be used in early 2nd millennium Mesopota- Individual merchants would exchange favours, ser- mia with the same functions as later paper money. vices and gifts to maintain a web of acquaintances And when money is to be understood purely as a and friendships that would provide information convention, then literally everything can be mon- and help carry out their business in the most effi- ey, including dried fish (Mehler/Gardiner in cient way possible. this volume). In the second half of his paper, Velde argues that, Sibel Kusimba and Chapurukha M. Kusimba while money is a viable solution to the double coin- address monies in pre-colonial East Africa. Their cidence of wants, it is not the only one. For exam- broad chronological perspective embraces the ple, keeping a detailed account of who owes what last two millennia, but has a focus on a period ap- to whom, and letting society repay debts collective- proximately coinciding with the modern era. The ly, would solve the problem of transfer as effectively authors observe that a wide selection of different as money does. Hence, money is not necessary for a monies is documented in archaeological, ethno- society to function, and numerous societies indeed graphic and historical records, including coins, functioned without money. When money is just cowries, bark-cloth, glass beads, grains, ivory pieces one of several possible solutions, then one might and brass wires. Some currencies, like coins, may argue that its origin is not something that one can have derived their value from political authority; easily classify as ‘progress’. It simply represents ‘the others, like cowries, could have had their scarcity replacement of one solution by another with chang- maintained by the fact that they had to be imported ing circumstances.’ Velde ends with a question: ‘Did from coastal regions; yet others, like metal wire and money appear because an alternative mechanism bark-cloth, simply had customary value. Kusimba to enable transactions disappeared, or because new and Kusimba point out that several types of money opportunities arose that required a new solution?’. were always in circulation at any given time. Even The author leaves the question open, hoping that during the Axumite Kingdom (3rd to 8th century an inquiry of the many appearances of money in AD), when coins were minted, other monies were different historical contexts may help understand also in use. The study makes a compelling argument what alternatives to money actually existed. The for the simultaneous use of monies that derive their question is not only intriguing in itself; it also pro- value from different sources, and yet appear inte- vides the reader with a key to approach the follow- grated in the same economic systems. To some ex- ing eight papers of the second section of the vol- tent, this makes the standard distinction between ume. ‘fiat’, ‘commodity’ and ‘fiduciary’ monies (further explored by Alain Bresson) appear as a mere tech- Georg Christ addresses the Venetian pepper nicality, something that is not as relevant to every- trade in Alexandria in the 15th century AD. He day users as to a specialist scholar. The authors ar- describes a fervid, international trade network gue that the best way to explain the multitude of connecting the Mediterranean, the Red Sea and monies in circulation is to acknowledge that they the Indian Ocean, in which a multitude of state are customarily accepted only because networks of polities, local institutions, private associations and merchants are based on reciprocal trust. individual merchants held competing interests. Christ begins by following a shipment of pepper Christoph Kilger explores the interaction of from its initial contracting in Egypt to its loading Viking merchants in 9th-century AD Scandinavia onto a Venetian galley in 1419, focussing on all with contemporary markets in the Islamic world, the intermediate passages. He describes a seem- and describes the integration of two different mon- ingly chaotic system, in which a multi-layered di- etary systems: one based on coins (Islamic Cali- versity of agencies produced numerous, potential phate in Western Europe) and the other on non- impediments to international trade in the form of coined metal (Viking economy). The aim of his 8 Weight and Value • Vol. 2 • 2021 Weight&Value02.indb 8 19.02.21 11:45 Understanding technologies of early trade in a comparative perspective analysis is to understand to what extent the Viking Clive Stannard quantifies the bronze coins re- merchants were knowledgeable in Islamic metrolo­ corded at Minturnae and Pompeii from the 2nd gies and monetary systems. In Viking economy, sil- and 1st centuries BC, to find that only a minority ver was the main standard of value and medium of of them came from standard Republican mints. exchange. It was traded in lumps, ingots and frag- Most are local ‘informal’ issues and imported ments (hence the popular term hacksilver) with its foreign coins. In order to explain this fact, Stan- value assessed through weighing. Silver is perhaps nard argues that a shortage in the supply of ‘small the most successful metal in the monetary history change’ (i. e. bronze coins) from the central mints of Western Eurasia, and was adopted as a standard threatened the development of local markets in in many economies since the 3rd millennium BC Campania during the last two centuries of the 1st (see e. g. Barjamovic, Dale, Dercksen, Stan- millennium BC. In order to solve the problem, nard, Steinkeller, Zurbach in this volume). local authorities responded by striking ‘informal’ Hacksilver and weighing equipment are a recurring coins and by importing large amounts of bronze feature in Viking archaeology, and testify – Kil­ coins from foreign polities. In order to grasp the ger argues – to the relevance of monetary patterns relevance of Stannard’s contribution, one must of exchange in Viking trade. Kilger observes that first consider that the Late Republican mone- Viking weight systems have several connections tary system consisted of two types of currency: with Islamic metrology, which would imply that an ‘expensive’ currency (i. e. silver and, in lesser Viking merchants were able to interact with their amounts, gold coins) and a ‘cheap’ currency (i. e. counterparts from the Caliphate based on com- bronze coins) that Stannard calls ‘small change’. mon knowledge. He further notes that inscriptions The former was used in big transactions, was recurrent on Caliphate coinage are sometimes re- mostly accessible only by the wealthiest members produced on Viking weights, suggesting that the of society, and had a long-range circulation. The Viking merchants were able to correctly interpret latter was widespread, employed in petty everyday the denominations of such coins. Kil­ger concludes transactions (e. g. to buy groceries), and its circula- that Viking merchants possessed the knowledge to tion was largely limited to local markets. Stannard interact with Arab merchants as their peers. The describes a situation in which the general level of case study is of interest for the scope of this book, wealth of the population could theoretically grant as it provides an opportunity to address the alleged the satisfaction of everyday needs, and yet there difference between ‘monetary’ and ‘pre-mone- was not enough small change in circulation to car- tary’ economies in the historical record. It shows ry out the transactions that would have been re- that problems largely stem from the criteria one quired to grant such satisfaction. As suggested by lays down for identifying money, and which kind Velde in his paper, money is not necessary to allow of medium of exchange is prevalent in any given economic systems to function and alternative sys- economy. There is often ambiguity about what is tems that permit transfers of value do exist. How- ‘monetary’ and what is ‘pre-monetary’ grounded ever, by all evidence, the Campanians ruled out in objectivised ideas of money, and we instinctive- other options and resorted to other stratagems to ly tend to associate money with physical objects ensure that coins would keep flowing throughout and recognisable shapes. In the case of early Eura- the system. One could argue that Italic communi- sian history, such a shape is usually that of a coin. ties were so accustomed to the use of coined mon- Hence, it is frequent in archaeological and numis- ey that finding alternative ways to supply small matic literature to label every form of money that change was more convenient than transforming predates the invention of coinage (i. e. ca. 650 BC; the entire exchange system. The evidence, howev- see Dale, Bresson, Zurbach in this volume) or er, raises the question of how and why such a large even systems that somehow are thought to ‘resist’ amount of informal and foreign coins could be ac- its introduction, as ‘pre-monetary’. The ambiguity knowledged to hold formal value in Campanian is probably further heightened by linguistic fac- markets. As the author observes, the value of small tors, such as the terminologies in languages where change was not tied to the authority of the issuing the term for ‘money’ and ‘coin’ are the same (e. g. institution, or else informal and imported coins Italian: moneta; Spanish: moneda). However, Kil­ would not have been so widely used. It was not ger exposes the pitfalls of such ambiguities when even correlated to the market value of the metal of money becomes defined by function and his case which the coins were made, otherwise the mone- rejects any sharp distinctions. Labelling an econo- tary patterns of exchange would have reverted to my that has various media of exchange and is inte- the circulation of non-minted bronze. Ultimately, grated with a coin-based market system that exists the value of small change was only correlated to its almost two millennia after coins were first invented capability to fulfil the satisfaction of buyers and as ‘pre-monetary’ raises serious issues. Viking and sellers in small transactions in local markets. In Caliphate economies were of course structured in economic jargon, the general satisfaction that de- very different ways, but those differences are not to rives from a transaction is commonly called ‘util- be sought in the presence or absence of monetary ity’, hence bronze coins possessed what Stannard patterns of exchange. defines as ‘utility value’. Weight and Value • Vol. 2 • 2021 9 Weight&Value02.indb 9 19.02.21 11:45 Lorenz Rahmstorf, Gojko Barjamovic & Nicola Ialongo Alain Bresson further elaborates on the cen- the ‘adulteration’ of copper would have prevented tral problem of the source of the value of money, the use of pure copper as a medium of exchange in questioning the mainstream narrative according to substitution for official coins. Hence, Chinese early which metallic currencies would evolve from prim- currencies are not proper commodity money, but itive forms of commodity money into more ad- are better understood as fiat or fiduciary money. vanced fiat money. Economic historians often dis- Using China as a benchmark, Bresson uses a tinguish between three main types of money, ‘com- blend of textual and archaeological evidence to modity money’, ‘fiat money’, and ‘fiduciary money’. look for similar patterns in monetary instruments While their function remains the same, they differ in Europe between the early 1st millennium BC in how their value is determined. When a curren- and the late 1st millennium AD. He singles out cy is made of a material with a relatively high mar- several case studies of standardised metal objects ket value (e. g. a silver coin), the exchange value of that circulated in non-coinage economies, and that currency in its ‘money-state’ can be correlated that are often made in alloys which would render (although not necessarily equated) to the market them unsuitable as actual tools. The iron spits in value of that same material when it is exchanged Archaic Greece are presented as an emblematic as commodity. On the other hand, the value of fiat example: textual sources show that iron spits were money can be much higher than the intrinsic value used as currency in the mid-1st millennium BC of the material of which it is made, simply by decree and abandoned shortly after the introduction of of a political authority (e. g. a 500 € bill) as implied coins. Reportedly, the iron contained in those spits by the term fiat itself (Latin for ‘let it be done’). Fi- was mixed with vinegar that allegedly rendered nally, fiduciary money is a form of currency with- them useless as tools and unviable as ingots. Some out intrinsic value (like fiat), that requires trust sources describe the use of spits as ‘pure conven- between private subjects, but does not necessarily tion’, which would imply that the Greeks them- imply the intervention of a political authority. One selves considered this form of currency more akin might think of checks: the seller must trust the to fiat or fiduciary money than commodity money. buyer has the funds on the check and must trust the Based on a rich documentation, Bresson suggests bank that issued the check to pay the amount due. that fiduciary currencies may have existed long be- As Velde points out, the distinction may not always fore political authorities officially endorsed them as be very sharp, especially in the case of minted com- fiat money. In conclusion, the origin of money as a modity money. However, there is one particular pure convention is by no means less likely than the aspect that sets apart commodity monies from fiat mainstream narrative, which describes commodity and fiduciary monies: while the value of the former money as the progenitor of all subsequent monies. is correlated to the commodity represented by the physical medium (e. g. a coin), the latter only relies Gareth Dale discusses the problem of economic on convention. growth in Archaic and Classical Greece and ad- According to western-centric mainstream nar- dress the question of money from the perspective ratives, commodity money would be the first cur- of its ancient users. With the invention of coin- rency to appear, later to be followed by the intro- age on the Turkish Mediterranean coast, Archa- duction of fiat money. This scheme – Bresson notes ic Greece is often presented as a turning point in – would be apparently corroborated by the fact contemporary perceptions of the ‘obviousness’ of that, in the western world, precious metal (i. e. gold money. But like Velde in his chapter on the role of and silver) was used to produce the earliest coins. money, Dale complicates this narrative by his out- Their value was in turn correlated to the value of line of the way money and monetary wealth were their constituent materials in their commodity debated within contemporary ancient world view. state. Bresson challenges this notion, based on doc- He observes that, despite its pervasiveness, the ex- umentation provided by the earliest monetization istence of money was problematized and called for in China during the 1st millennium BC. Contrary moral justification. He suggests that the invention to most of Western Eurasia, China adopted bronze of coinage, and the ‘infinite’ availability of silver, coins since its earliest monetisation, and never em- provided the opportunity for limitless growth, but ployed precious metals in its coins. Metallurgical argues that economic growth was not actively pur- analyses show that the early Chinese coins con- sued by Greek aristocrats due to a notion of mon- tain significant amounts of lead. Interestingly, in etary wealth being seen as a lesser goal than politi- the centuries preceding the introduction of coins, cal power, prestige, and the prosperity of the polis. archaeological evidence in China documents the Ancient Greek authors offer a unique emic per- widespread circulation of money in the form of spective on wealth, and Dale shows how economic miniaturized tools made of bronze, with a similarly growth, profit and money were not seen to exist in high content of lead. Bresson argues that, since the a vacuum, but were deeply intertwined with ethics value of pure copper would have been substantial- and politics. On the other hand, Dale also points ly reduced by the addition of lead, such currencies a warning that our knowledge of the economy of could not have had their value tied to the price of Archaic and Classical Greece relies on a severely copper in its commodity-state either. In practice, imbalanced written record. While we know a great 10 Weight and Value • Vol. 2 • 2021 Weight&Value02.indb 10 19.02.21 11:45 Understanding technologies of early trade in a comparative perspective deal about Greek philosophy, history and litera- Zurbach addresses one of the main questions ture, almost no records of bookkeeping or account- raised during the final discussion of the workshop: ing are preserved. This unbalance stands even more is the lack of direct evidence sufficient proof of the in contrast to the vast documentation coming from absence of money? He argues that, when written the Bronze Age world of Crete, Egypt, and espe- records exclusively relate to those actors who do cially Mesopotamia. As Zurbach and Dercksen not require direct mention of money, the absence point out in the last two chapters of this book, both of direct proof is misleading. The Mycenaean tab- institutional and private activities were document- lets represent an emblematic case. As Zurbach ed in a meticulous effort that simply does not sur- notes, contracts are absent in Mycenaean Greece. vive from ancient Greece and Rome. Dale instead All the surviving economic texts represent unilat- draws his arguments from readings of Hesiod, So- eral accounts of purely administrative nature, and lon, Aristotle, and Xenophon, among others, all they never report on palace counterparts in trans- of whom emphasized aristocratic ideals of society, actions. As a result, the information about palatial politics, and economy that would often appear to income and expenditure is always incomplete. For conflict with economic reality. example, tablets report how goods were given out by palaces in exchange for alum, but never mention Julien Zurbach looks at money in Greece during the quantity of alum received. Similarly, they may the eight centuries preceding the introduction of report a levy in gold, but omit any information on coinage. He takes on the difficult task of address- how the gold was used. Such information – Zur- ing a timespan for which evidence for the very ex- bach argues – is not documented by the texts sim- istence of money is scarce and mostly indirect. The ply because it was not important to keep track of paper starts out by highlighting the contradictions it. Hence, the elusiveness of money in Mycenaean of a mainstream narrative that often ‘confuses’ the Greece depends on the fact that the private coun- invention of coinage with the invention of money. terparts of palatial administrations did not keep Zurbach criticises the outdated, yet still common, written records on their own rather than that such evolutionary paradigm that simplistically views records have not survived or been discovered yet. every monetary instrument preceding coinage as primitive, “something of a ‘not-yet-money’, a prede- Jan Gerrit Dercksen writes about the role of cessor without much importance”. money in the Old Assyrian trade as documented The main party of Zurbach’s contribution is de- though the dense cuneiform records from Kültepe/ voted to the analysis of probable monetary instru- Kanesh in Central Anatolia (ca. 1895-1865 BC) ments in Mycenaean Greece, based mainly on the also discussed previously by Barjamovic (in this analysis of texts written in the Linear B script. He volume). The author explores a commercial system notes that these tablets occasionally mention gold through thousands of private accounts that doc- in the form of possible levies from central adminis- ument sales, purchases, investments, loans, com- trations and as a measure of debt, and suggests that mercial contracts and legal disputes left behind by gold in Mycenaean Greece may have had the same a settlement of foreign merchants. Their archives monetary use as silver in Bronze Age Mesopotamia show that silver was a primary currency used to pay (see Barjamovic, Dercksen, Steinkeller for goods and services, to store wealth, to quantify in this volume). He also suggests that gold main- prices and profits, and to repay debts. Silver per- tained a similar status during the Iron Age, while formed the same range of functions that scholars the Archaic period saw silver take over as the main commonly attribute to the coined monies appear- form of currency. ing on the Turkish coast at least 15 centuries later. Weight and Value • Vol. 2 • 2021 11 Weight&Value02.indb 11 19.02.21 11:45 12 Weight and Value • Vol. 2 • 2021 Weight&Value02.indb 12 19.02.21 11:45 Trade in different worlds Trade between Western Europe and Novgorod from the end of the Viking Age to the time of the medieval Hanseatic League by Carsten Jahnke Trade, Baltic region, Novgorod, transaction costs, institutions of trade, cultural difference Trade between the Western Baltic Sea region and Novgorod presents a prime example of the problems that arise in the economic exchange between two culturally and linguistically very different regions. The example also shows the kind of solutions that were found. In the period between the early and the high Middle Ages, the Baltic trade was constantly adapting to changing circumstances and new institutions developed to reduce transaction costs. The following contribution can only give a modest, initial overview over the various instru- ments and institutions which were developed to overcome the differences between and within the trading areas. Handel in verschiedenen Welten. Der Handel zwischen Westeuropa und Nowgorod vom Ende der Wikinger bis zu den Zeiten der mittelalterlichen Hanse Handel, Ostseeraum, Nowgorod, Transaktionskosten, Handelsinstitutionen, kulturelle Unterschiede Der Handel zwischen dem westlichen Ostseeraum und Nowgorod kann als Paradebeispiel für die Probleme dienen, die beim wirtschaftlichen Austausch zweier kulturell und sprachlich grundverschiedener Regionen entstehen. In der Zeit zwischen dem Früh- und dem Hochmittelalter wurde dieser Handel entsprechend den sich verändernden Gegebenheiten immer wieder neu angepasst und es bildeten sich jeweils neue Institutionen zur Verringerung der Transaktionskosten heraus. Der folgende Beitrag kann dabei nur einen bescheidenen, ersten und hoffentlich nicht zu oberflächlichen Überblick über die verschiedenen Instrumente und Institu- tionen geben, die zur Überwindung der Unterschiede zwischen, aber auch innerhalb der Handelsgebiete ent­ wickelt wurden. Weight and Value • Vol. 2 • 2021 13 Weight&Value02.indb 13 19.02.21 11:45 Carsten Jahnke 1. Preconditions “Styrlaugr and Holmr raised the stones next to the path in memory of their brothers. They met The Baltic Sea area during the Middle Ages was their end on the eastern route, Þorkell and Styr­ inhabited by a number of different cultures that bjôrn, good Þegns.” (Samnordisk runtext­ were connected by the sea (Fig. 1). For this paper databas, Sö 34) (Fig. 2). three developments are important. The first was the immigration of Slavic speakers into the area around The men coming from the West to Novgorod Lake Ilmen from the AD 9th century onwards. Sec- were not only merchants, but functioned as part ond was the progressive “Saxonisation” and Chris- warriors and part traders, as conveyed e. g. in Egils tianisation of the Baltic Sea area that began in the saga Skalla-Grímssonar. 12th century. A third shift in the system of trade occurred from the late 13th century onwards, when Þeir Þórólfr ok Egill váru með Þóri í góðu yfirlæti, a network of towns with “German” law was perma- en þeir bjuggu um várit langskip míkit ok fengu menn nently established in the region. til ok fóru um sumarit í Austrveg ok herjuðu ok fengu The migration of Slavic-speaking populations of fjár ok áttu margar orrostur. Heldu þeir ok út til into the Ilmen region led to its assimilation with Kúrlands ok lögðu þar við land með hálfs mánaðar the Norse communities that moved into the area friði ok kaupstefnu (Egils saga Skalla-Gríms- at almost the same time. The centre of Novgo- sonar, chap. 46). rodskaja zemlja (norse Holmgarðr) developed as “And Thoralf and Egil had a comfortable stay at the economical focal point of that area (Ducz- Thore’s. In the spring, they built a large long ship ko 2004, 99-105). It had in early times served as and gathered a crew. They went on Austrvegr, they a stopover on the way to Byzantium (Hennig pillaged, plundered many goods and went through 1915/16, 8-12; Valk 2012), but it developed an many encounters. They set course to Courland, economic position of its own from the 10th/11th landed there and made peace (friði, peace of trade) century. for half a month and got trading opportunities (kaupstefnu).” Holmgarðr is well known e. g. in Norse runic in- The traveling merchant-warriors embarked to- scriptions: gether as mọtunautre (oath groups of sailing and (i)nk(i)f(a)[s]tr · l[i](t) (h)(a)ku... st(a)...n · eftiR commensality) (Pappenheim 1931, 1-20) and · sihuiþ · faþ-r · si[n · han · fial · i h]ul(m)[karþi · were organised as was customary in Western Europe skaiþaR · uisi mi]þ · ski…ra into fèlag (trading/plundering-oath-groups, Germ. “Ingifastr had the stone cut in memory of Sig- Hanse) (Pappenheim 1930, 246-286, for the word viðr, his father. He fell in Holmgarðr, the captain hansa see Jahnke 2014, 8), plundering (herjuðu) along with the seamen.” (Samnordisk runtext­ and trading under the “peace of trade” (friði). databas, Sö 171) The progressive “Saxonisation” and Christiani- The Norse traded with and travelled regularly sation of the Baltic Sea area began from the west to Novgorod. The route become so important for in the 12th century, ever increasing the numbers of trade that it even got its own name during the Vi- Saxons and Westfalians who migrated to the Baltic king Age: the austr·fǫr or Journey to the East (see area. Initially, they travelled solely as mọtunautre. Ordbog over de norrønne prosasprog, s. v.; Mägi During this process, places of trade were formed qFig. 1. Sea routes from 2018) – and the ships used for this voyage were into towns with German law (Higounet 1990; the western Baltic Sea to the called austr·fara·knǫrr. Hackmann/Lübcke 2002; Hardt 2005). In Gulf of Riga and the Gulf of the 12th century the mọtunautre-groups changed Finland during the Middle styrlaugR · auk · hulmbR · staina · raistu · at · in character ( Jahnke 2008, 147-163, 175-181). Ages (courtesy of B. Holter- bryþr · sina · brau(t)u · nesta · þaiR · entaþus · i · The men from the southwest became more like man, Viabundus project). austruiki · þurkil · auk sturbiarn þiaknaR · kuþiR merchants and less like warriors (even if they were not actually harmless). They came from the same families as the chivalric crusaders, conquering the Baltic east coast from 1200 onwards (Bünz 1995, 7-25; Trüper 2000, 520-529; Jahnke 2008, 159-160; in press). These men became full-time mercatores (merchants, Germ. Kaufleute), ac- companying their goods on the way to the East (Goetz 1922, 31-50). The nature of the mọtunau- tre changed too, from being sailing and fighting members of a crew to becoming passengers on a ship with its own permanent crew. From the late 13th century onwards, a third shift in the system of trade occurred, when a network of towns with German law was permanently estab- lished. The merchants in these towns, to bridge the 14 Weight and Value • Vol. 2 • 2021 Weight&Value02.indb 14 19.02.21 11:45 Trade in different worlds. Trade between Western Europe and Novgorod huge gap between the different trading-places in drew to the island of Gotland (Goetz 1916, no. 5, East and West, and to save transaction costs, built 81; Martin 1986, 62; Schubert 1993, 15), and a dense personal network between these places, from the end of the late 13th century to 1487 they based on trust. This network has been seen as one traded only in the towns of Livonia (Goetz 1922, of the corner stones and key characteristics of the 510-511; Johansen/von zur Mühlen 1973, practice of new trade in Northern Europe. 48-51), Finland ( Jahnke in press), Prussia and The emerging area of Hanseatic trade stood in Pomerania (Goetz 1922, 511). In 1487, they ob- contrast to the contemporaneous network oper- tained permission to trade and send goods to the ating in Italy, the Flanders and Southern Germany west on Hanseatic ships (Esper 1966, 461), but ( Jahnke 2010a, 189-212; Ewert/Selzer 2015; were in reality not able to enter the Western market 2016). It allowed leading merchants to remain at because of the Hanseatic network excluding for- home, and to direct, but not control, the trade eigners. The eastern trade into Novgorod, as well as exclusively through written letters (Lindemann the fur-trade with the “German” merchants in the 1978). This Hanseatic trade system was based on town, was, to some extent, controlled by the boyars local merchants undertaking free trade for their of Novgorod, who received the goods as taxes from colleagues, while their colleagues at other locations their lands (Martin 1986, 68-81, 152). in turn did the same for them ( Jahnke 2010a). Trade in the area of the Baltic Sea and the Baltic The system which developed helped to significant- East was ever evolving and changed from sporadic ly reduce transaction costs in long-distance trade. plunder-trade journeys before the 12th century to As the western merchants established themselves regular mutual trading expeditions in the 12th-13th in their trade network in the Baltic Sea area, the century, and finally, to settled western merchants Novgorod merchants withdrew from active trade connected in commercial networks through- in the west. In the 12th century, merchants from out and beyond the area in the 14th-16th century Novgorod travelled e. g. to Slesvig ( Jahnke 2006, ( Jahnke 2016a). This gradual development was 258) or Stettin (Choroškevič 1993, 3) to trade, triggered by the need to reduce transaction costs but by the middle of the 13th century, they with- and solve the challenge of multi-locality. tFig. 2. Runestone Söder- manlands runinskrifter 34 (SÖ 34), Trosa-Vagnhärad, Sweden (photo by FMS and samnordisk runtekstdata- bas, no. Trosa-Vagnhärad 7:1 in the RAÄ Fornsök database). Weight and Value • Vol. 2 • 2021 15 Weight&Value02.indb 15 19.02.21 11:45 Carsten Jahnke The medieval western merchants of the Baltic Kovalev 2000; Gippius 2012; Schaeken Sea area came mostly from merchant families. It 2012). Bark was used also for letters and to record was common to send young boys abroad to the economic transactions between parties, as seen in bigger coastal towns for them to try their luck with this example from the first half of the 12th century: the networks of the bulk-traders ( Jahnke 2004, 15-57). Here, they were trained by older merchants “… and you [two] collect; and if someone does and given the chance to build their own network not pay you, [you send me] news [of it] and I will as a basis for their own trade ( Jahnke 2004, send the court officials [iabetniki] … and last year’s 15-57). The men started life as schoolboys at home and this year’s … And from the people who have (Bruchhäuser 1989; Cordes 2000, 8-11), arrived … that [tribute-taxes?] has been imposed” were sent abroad as youngsters, and ultimately be- (Noonan/Kovalev 2000, 148, SR no. 12). came journeymen (Cordes 2000, 10-11; Jahnke As Noonan and Kovalev have demonstrated, 2004, 15-57; 2006, 4-11). At this stage, they trav- debts in the Kiev Rus, like in England, were regis- elled extensively within their master’s network, tered on split tallies (Fig. 3), Doski-Zhereb’ia, which visiting different places and identifying opportuni- required no literacy. Such tallies were also used ties of their own. Concurrently, they began to act to record taxes and other economic transactions as junior partners for their master, enabling them (Noonan/Kovalev 2000, 131-135). to earn an income of their own ( Jahnke 2004, Writing became a common tool of trade from 15-57). Later in life, when they had to establish the 11th century in the East (Noonan/Kovalev themselves as merchants of their own accord, they 2000; Gippius 2012; Schaeken 2012) and from would already have built considerable knowhow the 13th century onwards in the West (Bruch- about the geography and opportunities of trade. häuser 1989, 96-103; Tophinke 1999; Dot- Family businesses were centred on a single mer- son 2002; Schulte 2012), literacy among the chant and could therefore not be passed on to the merchants in general being restricted to their own next genera­tion ( Jahnke 2010a, 198-205). Sons native language (Gąssowska 2019). of successful merchants would, however, as a rule For the Western traders, some ledgers, merchant get a better starting position than other journey- letters, and custom rolls were passed down from men. Good communication and knowledge of generation to generation. Writing was initially used products were always key to success. for accounting, mostly for trade between compa- nies and to record debts and loans. During the later period of trade, there was a constant flow of writ- 2. Tools of exchange ten correspondence between stationary merchants. Writing became the main tool of trade for the Writing Western traders in the northern part of Europe (see Traditions of accounting were different in the Fig. 4 as an example) ( Jahnke 2010a, 193-208). Rus and in the Roman West (Noonan/Kovalev Language differences between groups was a key qFig. 3. Medieval split 2000, 121), as was the associated material culture obstacle to trade between the Rus and the West tally. The stick is notched of numeracy. For the Western long-distance trad- (Harder-Gersdorf 1998; Reitemeier 2002; and inscribed to record ers, who used the longstanding Roman tradition of Gąssowska 2019). Old Russian was the main a debt owed to the rural counting, record keeping was an integral tool used language of the Rus and Middle Low German was dean of Preston Candover, to document goods in transfer (Yamey 2000). used alongside Latin as the lingua franca in the West Hampshire, of a tithe of Parchment was used in the west from the 13th cen- from the 12th century onwards. Translation was pro- 20d each on 32 sheep, tury onwards with the addition of paper in the 14th vided with by a small number of professional inter- amounting to a total sum century (Roerig 1959; Arlinghaus 2006). In preters (Goetz 1922, 35, 143-144; Gąssowska of £2 13s. 4d. (Winchester the east, records were written on birch bark, at- 2019). Some Western merchants also went to the City Council Museum). tested from the 11th century onwards (Noonan/ East to learn Russian (Goetz 1922, 392-393; Gąssowska 2019) and some Russians mas- tered Low German (Timmler 1991; Сквайрс/ Skvyars 2009). Records of fees paid for non- German speakers to learn the language are relatively common, e. g. „eynem undutssen de sprake toe leren vor 17 weken [à] 10 ß”, (Tallinna Linnaarhiiv, A.f. 18, fol. 26v.; Jahnke 2004, 103). The language skills needed by merchants included mostly trade vocabulary and legal/documental phraseology (Harder-Gersdorf 1998; Fouquet 2006). Transport in bulk The main goods of the East-West trade were transported in barrels or in blocks and bales. Fur was one such main object in the Rus, and was being 16 Weight and Value • Vol. 2 • 2021 Weight&Value02.indb 16 19.02.21 11:45 Trade in different worlds. Trade between Western Europe and Novgorod delivered to the main centres of population as pay- stan­dardised and supervised by controllers (Wrack- pFig. 4. A merchant’s ledger. ment of taxes to the Boyars and others (Delort er) to save on transaction costs (Goetz 1922, Extract from the ledger of 1978; Martin 1986). It was also in use as a trade 259-272). The units were also controlled on their the Reval merchant Tönnies good since early times. Fur and other luxury prod- way to the consumer by staple cities where mer- Schmidt from the years ucts were transported in barrels, standardised in chants were forced to unload their goods and to 1554/1555 (Tallinna terms of size from the 13th century onwards (Kova- display them for sale for a certain period. Linnaarhiiv, A.f. 42, lev 2002; Jahnke 2016b). Wax was transported On the rare occasion that money was trans- fol. 76v., Kaufmannsbuch in blocks or slices, the strô (Goetz 1922, 259-272; ported between two places, it would typically be Tönnies Schmidt). Stützel 2013, 33-34), and cloth and linen came hidden in among other goods ( Jahnke 2006, in bales ( Jahnke 2009b, 76-77; general: Huang 161-162). The western merchants tried, at least from 2015). Most products that could be poured were the 14th century onwards, to handle most transfers measured in barrels (by casks or tons) using dif- of money using bills of exchange ( Jahnke 2006, ferent regional units; wax was weighed in blocks; 161-164). The trade in the East included counting cloth and linen was standardised by production and valuating in money, but merchants had to bal- and counted per unit. Each product had its own ance the trade by merchandise, knowing the emere associated measurement, either as a liquid measure, pro pecunia (the buying with cash) by which they or as a standard number or regional weight of units had to convert to equum pro equo dare (barter trade per barrel (Witthöft 1979) (Fig. 5). in kind) (Goetz 1922, 355). When this was not In order to differentiate their own products possible, silver was the favoured medium of balance during transport, each merchant applied a charac- because it was also used by the Rus merchants in teristic mark (Germ. Hausmarke) on the barrels, their trade with Persia (Attmann 1973, 103-193; blocks or bales (Fig. 6). Marks were not only used Martin 1986, 81-85; North 1998). by individuals, but could also represent commercial partnerships. Commodities and weight In the East-West trade, the majority of goods Quality and quantity assessment were always a were transported by ship in summer and by sleigh part of trade between the Rus and the West. Fur in winter (Dollinger 1966, 44-46; Bolshakov was counted by numbers (mostly in hundreds) and 1971; Kovalev 2002). Transport by animal was evaluated by colour, species, and quality (Goetz not common, but transport by wagon was possible 1922, 248-259; Lesnikov 1961, 222-240; De­ (Goetz 1922, 195-245). The process of prepar- lort 1978; Jahnke 2015a, 220-223). Wax was ing the barrels or blocks for transport was highly weighed in standardised regional stones and divided Weight and Value • Vol. 2 • 2021 17 Weight&Value02.indb 17 19.02.21 11:45 Carsten Jahnke Regional scales and weights were controlled by municipal governments in both the East and the West. The large-scale weights and the official scales (Ratswaagen) of the city council were in the con- trol of the government (Ebel 1971, 383; Nol­te 1993, 298). Smaller units and barrels had to be gauged by urban controllers (see i. a.: Krause 1886; Witthöft 1979, 31-63; Jahnke 2016b, 116-117). The majority of the East-West merchants traded only in bulk and were therefore dependent on such official weights. The control of the weights by urban authorities again reduced transaction costs on both sides. The medieval merchants in general, and those trading between the Baltic Sea area and the Rus in particular, used several systems of measurement at the same time, both for trade across cultural bor- ders, and inside the Hanseatic network ( Jahnke 2004). The Hanseatic diet (the Hansetag: a coun- cil of ambassadors of the Hanseatic cities) and the regional diets tried to standardise the units for counting the most important products, such as salt, herring, wine (Held 1918; Witthöft 1979; Jahnke 2000, 220) or beer (Held 1918; Witthöft 1979; Jahnke 2016b, 116-117), but the results were not consistent because of region- al animosities. Regional variants continued to be in use, e. g. for beer and wine (Witthöft 1979, 177-187). Even in the trade with Novgorod, the Hanseatic merchants tried to adjust the “Saxon” and Russian weights in respect to the wax trade (Held 1918, 140-142). The Hansetag also tried to implement a system which would ensure that identical units of measurement were used through the entire process from initial production to end customer. One such example is the Arabic weight of a ‘basket of figs’ (arroba à 2 peças), which was in use from its source to the Prussian consumers, and by the traders to pFig. 5. The cooper in an into Last, Shippound, Liespound and Mark-pound Novgorod ( Jahnke 2015b, 50-53, 57-58). Quan- illustration from c. 1425 where 1 Last equalled 12 Shippound equalled 240 tity was controlled by authorities in the cities and (Die Hausbücher der Liespound equalled 3480 Markpound (Goetz accurate weights and numbers of units were part of Nürnberger Zwölfbrüder- 1922, 269, n. 5). Shipments were measured again quality standards ( Jahnke 2000, 218-225). These stiftung, Amb. 317.2° Folio when passing across the East-West border (Fig. 7). again constitute part of strategies to save on trans- 11v; courtesy of Stadtbiblio- Cloth and linen were counted in numbers of action costs. The conversion of weights between thek Nürnberg). standardised units ( Jahnke 2009b, 76-77) defined different systems was part of a merchant’s educa- by the region of their production. Exotic prod- tion and could be used to his advantage or disad- ucts, such as figs and rice ( Jahnke 2015b, 57-58; vantage. The accuracy of measuring was verified Karg/Jahnke 2016, 125-128) were also counted by the municipal governments or the Hanseatic in the units of their region of origin. Amorphous League, which instructed controllers and/or guilds materials were defined by their overall quality and to re-evaluate measurements (Held 1918). demand. White thick fur was more expensive than Quality of products was measured by urban brown thin fur (Delort 1978), and pure wax was controllers, often called wracker (Baasch 1906, more valuable than wax containing impurities. 79-81; Schäfer 1927, LXVI, 132-138; Ebel In the account shown here (Fig. 8), the Reval 1971, 383). Quality was highly regulated, was part merchant Hans Selhorst was counting in blocks, of the merchant’s operation, and had a bearing on stro by shippound and marppound, wax in huge the calculation of prices. Each product was rated casks by the shippound, blubber and tallow in vate, for quality, from best to the worst (wrakes wrack – butter in tons, Swedish iron from Osemund by the the name for the best quality typically depends on last (12 tons each), and cow hides by the dekker, i. e. the good, while the term for the poorest quality is ten pieces each. commonly applied to all goods; Schäfer 1927, 18 Weight and Value • Vol. 2 • 2021 Weight&Value02.indb 18 19.02.21 11:45 Trade in different worlds. Trade between Western Europe and Novgorod 134-138). From the end of the 13th century on- associations. Exchange rates were flexible and de- pFig. 6. Merchant’s marks. wards (if not earlier), merchants received at least six pended on the knowledge of merchants; they were Notepad about the marks years’ training in the different qualities and termi- not absolute and could be negotiated and contest- of different merchants, c. nology ( Jahnke 2007, 4-5; Cordes 2000, 8-11). ed ( Jahnke 2004, 172, 180-181 et passim). 15th century (Tallinna Linnaarhiiv, B.h. 25, fol. Currencies 11r). From the 10th to the 11th century, only proto-­ currencies (hacksilver) were used in the West (Kilger 2011; 2019) while a proto-currency = 1½ Shippound based on necklaces (Grivna), marten-fur (Kuna) and squirrel-fur (Ververika/Belka) was developed in the East (Eeckaute 1993; Pavlova 1994, 387-392). Parallel to this, the princes of Kiev mint- = 1 Shippound ed their own coins 989-1018 and subsequently replaced them by Arabic dirham and Western pen- nies by the end of the 12th century (Pavlova 1994, 375-378). In the 12th century, the eastern system = ½ Shippound was transferred to a metal-based currency based on silver-bullion or ingots using the same terminology Grivna, Kuna and Vervika (Eeckaute 1993, 26- 28; Pavlova 1994, 378-381). In Novgorod, ingots were based on Scandinavian standards (Pavlova 1994, 379) and were reformed and reduced in the 14th century. In 1289-1291, another reform of the = 2 Liespound Grivna resulted in the appearance of a new form of ingot called Ruble (Pavlova 1994, 381-382). The casting of ingots in Novgorod was carried out under the control of the prince and the bishop of Novgorod, and they guaranteed the standard (Pav- lova 1994, 382). It was not until the 1380s that = 1 Liespound the Moskovite prince Dmitrii Donskoi began to mint coins in the East again (Pavlova 1994, 376). In the West, a coin-based currency based on Ro- man and Carolingian standards was introduced early on. Originating in England (under Danish = ½ Liespound rule at the time) and the Holy Empire, it quick- ly spread to the rest of the Baltic (Kilger 2000; Mäkeler 2005). Saxon merchants were trading and counting in a currency-based system, despite physical currency sometimes not yet being avail­ able. Even though merchants were counting in Mark (see i. a. Kraemmer 2015, 113-172), the = Markpound first Mark was minted in Lübeck only in 1506 (Fig. 9), and coins of ⅓ and ⅔ Mark since 1502 (Dummler 1999, 12-21). Many regions had their own currencies, but there were also integrating unions (Münz­vereine) of currency ( Jesse 1928; Hess 1971). Such unions saved some areas from 1 Shippound = 20 Liespound tFig. 7. The system of devaluation, while others, mostly those areas which stones in Reval (courtesy of were under royal control, suffered severely from the 1 Liespound = 16 Markpound F. Jahnke, Södertälje). Weight and Value • Vol. 2 • 2021 19 Weight&Value02.indb 19 19.02.21 11:45 Carsten Jahnke uFig. 8. Part of the collec- tion of the Reval merchant Hans Selhorst, accounting for his transactions with Hans Bissenbeke, 1505/06 (Tallinna Linnaarhiiv, A.f. 24, p. 2). qFig. 9. The Lübeck ½ Staatsmark from 1506 (pic- ture courtesy of the Archives of the Hanseatic Town of Lübeck). 3. The social and political organisation of trade tional companies did not exist ( Jahnke 2010a, 198-200). Inside the network structure, guilds and Organisation and scale associations played an important role in controlling Early on, western merchants were organised into and sharing information ( Jahnke 2012, 170-174; kinship groups or bound in corporations based on 2013b, 217-219). temporary oaths known as Schwurgemeinschaf- Social relationships were developed in multiple ten (fèlag/hansa; Jahnke 2013a, 5-7). From the ways: by kinship and marriage, by affiliation with 12th century onwards, they began to be organised guilds and brotherhoods, and by sending train- in various forms of companies (Cordes 1998; ees to foreign merchants ( Jahnke 2004, 15-57; Jahnke 2013a, 6-7) and developed a network of 2007). The system was based on trust and moder- separate single-merchant enterprises (Selzer/ ated by various institutions, such as guilds, brother- Ewert 2001; Jahnke 2010a). Multigenera- hoods or kontors (Dahl 1998, 272; Jahnke 2007; 20 Weight and Value • Vol. 2 • 2021 Weight&Value02.indb 20 19.02.21 11:45 Trade in different worlds. Trade between Western Europe and Novgorod 2010, 203-205). While the majority of merchants (Schubert 1993, 17). They thus controlled some were male, some females (mostly widows) also of the most important market institutions in town functioned as merchants (Noodt 2003). Women (Geremek 1964). In the 14th century, the group of played an important role in the enterprise in the St. John’s merchants developed into a closed socie- hometown of the merchants, but did not normally ty, with one of their members acting as represent- travel. ative for the žitie and the non-privileged, černye, While merchants were not legally part of state- in the Novgorod government (Schubert 1993, hood, urban merchants and their ideas became part 18; see also Granberg 2004, 27-28). At the same of the urban government. The Saxon merchants of time, they developed a more conservative ideology the 13th and early 14th century were also related to (Bushkovitch 1975, 24). From the 15th centu- the noble families of the surrounding areas (Bünz ry onwards they lost their influence to the boyars 1995, 7-25; Trüper 2000, 520-529; Jäschke (Schubert 1993, 19-21). 2017). They therefore acquired a certain social sta- tus and were connected to the nobility by marriage The network system ( Jahnke 2008, 159-160; 2017). The system came The network of the Hanseatic League was set up to an end by the middle of the 14th century at the to mediate the problem of great distances between latest, when the nobility actively separated them- suppliers and consumers and to save money. By selves from the merchants again. using local merchants as agents without charging In the Baltic Sea area and the new towns under for the sale and purchase of goods, the Hanseatic German law up to Livonia, Saxon merchants were merchants were able to trade at many places simul- part of the urban and regional elites and govern- taneously. Local agents had the relevant knowledge ments from the 12th century onwards. They under- of local markets, and were generally well-connected stood themselves as domini (Sires; Jäschke 2017, in the area. They were further able to engage other 119-122). In some cities, they were in competition merchants for their own purpose as well. This al- with the artisans, but were, at least in bigger towns, lowed western merchants to develop an extensive often able to hold a strong influence over the city network in Northern Europe, from Novgorod to councils (Puhle 1995; Isenmann 2003, 217- England ( Jahnke 2010a; 2012). The system was 237; Gilomen 2006, 375-383). Merchants were in operation from the 14th to the early 16th century. not segregated by law, and their ranks were open Subsequently, other trading methods were devel- to newcomers (Dösseler 1963; Koch 1997). oped, allowing greater flexibility, but also requiring To maintain control, the merchants outside of the higher risks ( Jahnke 2016a, 114-125). The stabil- Hanseatic area had to reside in designated areas, ity of the system was guaranteed by the constant the so-called kontors (Burkhardt 2015). When control inside the Low-German society, and by it was not possible to maintain control abroad, the deliberately excluding competition from outsiders. trust-based system became unsustainable due to the The latter, however, was not successful. geographical distance between merchants. From the 13th century onwards, the merchants of The eastern merchants of Novgorod were in a Novgorod no longer travelled much in the West, constant power struggle with the prince and the but mostly sold the boyars’ tributary goods to the boyars. Their social rank was somewhere between western merchants in town (Ianin 2006, 196). powerful and non-privileged (Schubert 1993; We can speculate that Novgorod merchants were Ianin 2006, 199-200), but little information instead highly active in the eastern regions, such about their organisations remain. In the 12th cen- as the Middle Volga, Bulgar, and Nižnij-Novgorod tury the maritime merchants (zamorskie kupcy) (Martin 1975), but little evidence remains. For were connected to the Friday (Market) Church, Novgorod, the eastern market proved more lucra- Friday being the day of trade in Novgorod (Bush- tive in the long run than the oversea trade in the kovitch 1975, 21). Their most prominent mem- Baltic Sea area. bers belonged to the starejšie, the economically and politically influential non-boyars, who strove to become members of the boyar-elite (Schubert 4. Infrastructure of mobility: Prerequisites and 1993, 13-14). At this time, they developed their physical evidence own urban merchant ideology, which stood in op- position to the boyars (Bushkovitch 1975). The Mobility zamorskie kupcy eventually disappeared, but the In the beginning, the eastern and western traders merchants can later be connected to the Market were faced with all the negative consequences of Church of St. John. economical flexibility: trading at two places simul- The merchants of the Church St. John were taneously is impossible when travelling by oneself members of the dives, žitie ljudi (the non-noble ( Jahnke 2014, 97-110). When the merchants set- landowners). Together with the archbishop and tled down in the 13th century, transport, at least in the Cathedral of Saint Sophia, they controlled the west, was organised by third-party carriers, ship- the wax, honey and silver weight units, known pers or waggoners (Mickwitz 1938, 143-145; as the ell of St. John, as well as the court of trade Niitemaa 1952, 153-187; Ahvenainen 1963, Weight and Value • Vol. 2 • 2021 21 Weight&Value02.indb 21 19.02.21 11:45 Carsten Jahnke uFig. 10. The Rutter Written sailing instructions for this type of naviga- (Das Seebuch), fol. 31r., tion survives, see for example Das Seebuch (Fig. the entrance of the sound 10) (Falk 1912, 13-15). (courtesy of Deutsches Time was, as always, one of the most challeng- Schifffahrtsmuseum in ing factors of Hanseatic trade: the first traders at Bremerhaven). a market gets the best prices. But time was also relative for medieval merchants. Land-based trade could be calculated and timed relatively precisely. Seaborne trade, however, could not be calculat- ed or timed with certainty. For example, during the 1530s, sending a letter from Reval to Danzig could take anywhere from 30 to 65 days. From Reval to Lübeck it could take the same amount of time and more. Sailing times for a single route could vary by several months, depending on the wind and weather conditions ( Jahnke 2004, 270-271). Although merchants were used to this kind of delay, they put some of the responsibili- ty and the blame on the skippers ( Jahnke 2001, 134-138). The most important problem, however, was the lack of a continuous flow of information. To counter this, merchants often sent the same in- formation by different ways and on several ships at the same time in the hope that at least some would reach their recipient in time. The prob- lem of information was also partially solved by the network itself, as a merchant would receive information from several different sources and would thus be able to validate it ( Jahnke 2004, 120-135; Jahnke 2001; Straube 2015). aDNA 118-120, 271). analysis of human remains in medieval toilets from Because of the problems with delivery times, and King’s Lynn, Norfolk, and Lübeck are indicative of the naturally occurring downtime between acquir- the vast of mobility of these merchants (Flammer ing and selling new goods, Hanseatic merchants et al. 2018). In the contact zones between differ- were often in need of interim funding. This could ent economical or cultural spheres, such as the Rus, be provided by banks, merchant colleagues, or the the Hanseatic merchants sent some of their own to friars ( Jahnke 2004, 122, 189-190). The great their regional kontors, who acted as agents for their distances and the fluent exchange rates could be colleagues. used to mask higher interest rates for credits than The western traders had substantial control over allowed by law or custom. Credits were a common their trading areas. A Livonian merchant at the be- and tolerated occurrence ( Jenks 1982; Jahnke ginning of the 16th century was able to receive rela- 2006), but interest rates higher than 5 % (some- tively up-to-date information about the economic times even 8 %) were seen as immoral (Duhr and political developments as far as Spain, France, 1900; Gilomen 1990; Siems 1992; Rösch 1994; the Netherlands, Burgundy, England, Scotland, Todeschini 2012). Denmark, Novgorod and Moscow ( Jahnke A similar system of credits and debts is known 1999; 2004, 267-271; 2016, 269-270). There was from Novgorod and already the Arabian travel- a constant flow of information inside the network, ler Abū Ḥāmid al-Ġarnāṭī from the middle of the continually updating information about routes 12th century reports on the securing of debts in the and events in the whole area. The mental map of Rus (Bolshakov 1971, 37; Noonan/Kova- a Hanseatic merchant reached from the Rus in lev 2000, 119), but no further details are known the East to Greenland and Norway in the North, (Noonan/Kovalev 2000, 119-123). The discov- England and Cornwall in the West and Portugal, ery of many birch bark documents showing state- Spain, Italy, Egypt and India in the South. The ment of debts (dolzhnitza), their collection, and a merchants rarely travelled by themselves but trad- witness and warrantor-system, suggests the exist- ed inside a long-reaching network via different ence of stable and sophisticated system of credit substations. and security (Noonan/Kovalev 2000). The shippers of Northern Europe were not using maps, but found their way through experience and Physical evidence of trade infrastructure by following the coastline. Their navigation also Inside the Hanseatic trade area permanent and took into account specific characteristics of the sea, specifically developed roads were used (Fig. 11) such as smell, depth, and transparency of the water. (Bruns/Weczerka 1962-1968). Harbour facil- 22 Weight and Value • Vol. 2 • 2021 Weight&Value02.indb 22 19.02.21 11:45 Trade in different worlds. Trade between Western Europe and Novgorod ities, paved roads with bridges, and ferry stations pFig. 11. Land and water were all common. Around Novgorod, in contrast, routes in the northern Bal- water transport and sleighs on frozen rivers were tic region during the Middle the main form of transportation for goods (Stigl- Ages (courtesy of B. Holter- brunner 2012, 186-187). man, Viabundus project). To secure the most important trade routes, some of these were controlled by urban governments (e. g. Jahnke 2019c, 231-234). Both in the west and in Novgorod, the main roads into and within the cities and their gates were paved with wood or stone. Rural roads, however, were not paved (Straube 2015, 84-86; Carr-Riegel 2016). De- pending on terrain, wagons, carts, riverboats, floats, sleighs, sumpters and seagoing ships were used. Oc- casionally, the carriers at different routes tried to monopolise their position, but this was not gener- ally the case (Ebel 1938; Pitz 1966, 55-60). For- eigners were allowed to use trading facilities, but in exchange they had to present their goods there at a certain time. They were also normally only al- lowed to trade with domestic traders, and not with other foreigners (Stapel- or Niederlagerecht) (Gön- tFig. 12. Lübeck Dielen- nenwein 1939; Hennings 1984; Jenks 1996; haus, Fischergrube 88, in Jahnke 2017). 1942, destroyed during the Storage facilities at harbours within the towns Second World War (courtesy themselves were common (i. a. Thomas/Volks- of M. Finke, Lübeck). dorf 1999, 24). The houses of the merchants in the Baltic Sea area were built to store goods in different ways, and often contained cool cellars and airy gar- way as to provide the best conditions for trade. rets (Lübeckisches Dielenhaus) (Fig. 12) (Rieger/ In Novgorod, the situation was different. Here, Jahnke 2018; Finke 2019, 131-157). A major- the wooden houses were scattered and arranged ity of towns in the West were arranged in such a around the so-called ends. Devastating city fires oc- Weight and Value • Vol. 2 • 2021 23 Weight&Value02.indb 23 19.02.21 11:45 Carsten Jahnke pFig. 13. Poundtoll receipt curred regularly, approximately every 10 to 20 years merchants, they also paid the rulers additional cus- by the city of Copenhagen (Stiglbrunner 2012, 161-166) and houses were toms, and later in history, also tolls, such as the por- for the merchants Henni­ normally not built to store large amounts of goods. taticum (harbor toll), ripaticum (payment for using kin from Rostock and The Hanseatic merchants in Novgorod had to rely and passing the (royal) strand), and salutacium (a Tydemann from Rostock, on the storage facilities at the kontor, and especially type of scavage) (Adam 1996). From the 11th cen- dated 25. January 1370 the kontor church, which was one of the only stone tury onwards, the levy of market customs (teloneum (Archives of the Han- buildings in the city ( Johansen 1958, 500). fori) was seen as an imperial prerogative, continu- seatic City of Lübeck, From 1215, the law of the Catholic Church for- ing until the 12th century at the latest (Adam 1996, Pfundzollquittungen). bade the building of religious structures in other ar- 37-39). eas of the orbis catholicus. Instead, foreigners had to The concept of ‘borders’ as a clearly marked terri- integrate into existing parish structures ( Jahnke torial area did not exist in the Middle Ages (Schu- 2019b). The rites of the Eucharist, confession, bert 1998, 5-6). Instead, areas were defined by the via­ticum, unction, and burial were exclusively actual power of ruling, or by regional customs, the performed by parish priests (Browe 1929; 1931; Lantsit (Schubert 1998). Consequently, there 1933). Foreign merchants could use the services of were many different territories and numerous tran- the friaries, which were, to an extent, exempt from sition zones. Customs and tolls were paid at the such rules. Alternatively, they could try to mark moment of entering a new territory or market, at their own position inside the parish structures ports, at gates, or in marketplaces (Fig. 13). From by sponsoring their own pews, chapels, or divine the 13th century onwards, they could be registered services ( Jahnke 2019b). The merchants abroad in ledgers and merchants were provided with re- could also be integrated into the church organisa- ceipts. From the 14th century, merchants could or- tion via brotherhoods or guilds ( Jahnke 2019b, ganise custom payments by themselves (Pfundzoll) III.g, 33-34). ( Jahnke 1998). Of course, smuggling and fraud But in the areas outside of the Catholic world, also existed, known to us from the comparison of such as the Rus, Latin merchants built their own waybills to declarations of customs. religious structures, including churches and grave- The banking system of the western Baltic area yards. These institutions depended on the good- was different from that in Italy. Because of the net- will of the foreign rulers ( Jahnke 2019b, III.b, workstructure of the trade, merchants did not have 15-17). Until the end of the active Russian trade in to rely on banks to finance their activities ( Jahnke the West, the Rus merchants did the same in the 2006). Banks are known for giro accounting and, Catholic world, for example in Sigtuna and Visby first and foremost, for the transfer of money outside ( Johansen 1958, 512-514). the Hanseatic area, mostly to the Curia ( Jahnke Medieval governments tried to promote trade in 2006, 153-157, 161-163). their areas by creating infrastructure, such as quays, Credit could be given to promote advancement dockside cranes, marketplaces, market halls and of trade inside network structures, by neighbours meeting rooms. They allowed also buildings to be or other colleagues and from the capital market. constructed for foreign merchants ( Jahnke 2017). The friars (Dominicans, Franciscians etc.) would They further created a trade-friendly legal infra- also provide credit to finance trade. The banks were structure with special market courts (fast courts), protected by warrantors and trust, but, for example special judicial procedures, and the involvement of in Lübeck, they regularly failed (i. a. Godeman van foreign merchants in market courts (Sachs 2013; Buren, 1461-1472) ( Jahnke 2006, 152-153). Cordes/Höhn 2018). Credit and rent are well-known also from the Merchants paid for this infrastructure by paying Novgorod birch bark records (Noonan/Kova- market customs (foraticum, teloneum fori, pali­ lev 2000), but other, more detailed evidence is fictura) (Adam 1996; Jahnke 2019a). In order still lacking. for the local rulers to guarantee the safety of the 24 Weight and Value • Vol. 2 • 2021 Weight&Value02.indb 24 19.02.21 11:45 Trade in different worlds. Trade between Western Europe and Novgorod 5. Security, risk and legal system Security Trade is heavily dependent on security; provid- ing security in turn has a vast impact on transac- tion costs. The more secure a market, the higher the chance that merchants come to use it. Security in the present case was challenged in two areas: on the routes to and from markets, which had to be secured, by land as well as on the sea, and in terms of market conditions as such (legal, physical), which alsi had to be controlled. From the 9th centu- ry onwards, local rulers strove to improve security on the access roads to their markets. It was within this framework that the port (havn) as a secured trading area was first developed from simple land- ing places with no security provided (anløbsplads) (Niitemaa 1955, 14-51; Ulriksen 1998; sent me the money. If you do not pay me 4½ grivnas, I pFig. 14. Birch bark Jahnke 2010b; 2019). will confiscate merchandise of the most distinguished document no. 246 from Merchants were armed at all times. Until the Novgorodian. Please send [it].” (Noonan/Kova- the City of Novgorod (© end of the 13th century, conflicts between mer- lev 2000, 142, no. 246) 2020 – Национальный chants were occasionally resolved by force, as seen Sanctions against damage caused by merchants исследовательский e. g. in the Regulations of the St. Canute Guild, c. could be imposed by local governments. This is университет «Высшая 1200, §§  15-16 (Gilde- og Lavskraaer I, mostly attested at Novgorod (Noonan/Kova- школа экономики»; 10). During the 13th century, conflicts became in- lev 2000, 138-142), while sanctions were often Институт creasingly formalised and pacified (Höhn 2014; interminable in the West and not a road to success славяноведения Российской Wubs-Mrozewicz 2017; 2018; Cordes/ (Roh­mann 2014). академии наук). Höhn 2018), but in the case of unresolved con- flicts, merchants were still allowed to take up arms Cost, risk and insurance (Piraten, Friede­ schiffe, Fehdewesen) (Netter- Trade between East and West in the Baltic was strøm 2007; Roh­mann 2014; 2017). entirely built on market mechanisms. Profit was As far as we know, the trade between Catholic heavily dependent on transaction costs ( Jahnke western merchants and Novgorod had been se- 2004, app. I-II). Costs were reduced by network cured by contract at least since c. 1170 (Renn- trade, but this also limited higher profits. Avoid- kamp 1977, 49-50). Security and opportunities of ance of risks was a cornerstone of trust building the Western merchants in the Rus were subject to and allowed trade to flow in a safe environment at contracts, even when the legal implications of such the cost of potentially increased profits ( Jahnke contracts could be controversial due to cultural 2007, 4-11). differences. Especially the Rus’ tradition of kissing The risk of losing goods at sea was higher than on the cross (krestnoe celovanie, крестноe целованиe) land ( Jahnke 2004, 132-136). Risk was therefore as a form of oath created problems (Goetz often spread out by loading goods onto different 1922, 36 and passim; Dewey/Kleimola 1968; ships (Friedland 2006). The advantage of sea Mikhailova/Prestel 2011; Mika 2018). transport was the higher loading capacity, which The existence of a general lex mercatoria has been to some extent balanced the higher risk. Sea-­going contested (Cordes 2003). Generally, merchants ships also crossed fewer customs stations, thus re- were protected by common law, and by specific reg- ducing the cost of transport. On the downside, ulations in the North and West. Merchants were re- seagoing merchants would occasionally suffer total garded as protected by the emperor himself, as well losses ( Jahnke 2004, 132-136). Profits normally as by market jurisdiction. The security of merchants had to be high enough to balance out such losses, as on the road, however, remained problematic. banks, investors etc. were not part of the trade. In- Contracts were enforced by a withdrawal of stead, the network structure of the trade, in which trust in future business affairs, and by peer pressure the lost goods were owned collectively by several ( Jahnke 2007, 22-25). Groups from the same merchants, absorbed some of the loss. town, language area, region, or subject to the same Insurance against losses is attested in the Scan- ruler could be held collectively responsible and dinavian area during the 13th century (Gilde- og made liable for the actions of one member (Sachs Lavskraaer I, St. Canuti Guild, ca. 1200, § 17, 2013, 24-25). A birch bark record dated c. 1025- 10. Gilkær, 140) but not in the Low German speak- 1055 illustrates the latter phenomenon (Fig. 14): ing areas. It is unclear at present why such insurance seemingly did not exist there. Data about insurance „From Zhirovit to Stoian. It is the ninth year since terms of the Novgorod trade is likewise not avail- you swore on the cross [or took the cross] and have not able. Weight and Value • Vol. 2 • 2021 25 Weight&Value02.indb 25 19.02.21 11:45 Carsten Jahnke Trust and jurisprudence instead handled by domestic merchants. This saved As mentioned earlier, the Hanseatic trade system on legal transaction costs. was based on trust. New merchants did not have to The foreign merchants in the Rus were obliged to gain trust, but they had to preserve the trust shown stay and trade in designated areas only. Such areas to them by a system of constant social control were governed and controlled by the privileges of ( Jahnke 2012). It was easy to establish contacts to the Latin merchants. They had to avoid Novgoro- new trading partners, but when trust was betrayed, dian courts, and privileges regulated the contact social consequences would follow immediately as between the different law systems (Goetz 1922, information about the transgression flowed free- 377-381, 434). ly and fast within the Hanseatic network. Every merchant informed his partners in countless let- ters about every aspect of social life (the so called 6. The trade from Western Europe to Novgorod tidinge > Zeitung) (Lindemann 1978; Jahnke 2016a, 119-122), ensuring that news about mis- The trade between Western Europe and Novgo- conduct eliminated further possibilities of trade rod was made lucrative by a vast cultural and lin- for perpetrators. guistic gap between the two worlds. Eastern goods Hanseatic merchants could go bankrupt, as seen were in high demand in the West, while Western in the case of the well-known merchant Hilde- goods were popular in Rus. But such differences be- brandt Veckinchusen in 1422 (Hildebrand tween the two spheres also resulted in higher trans- Veckinchusen, no. 319, 337-340). As long as action costs. During the long-lasting trade relations such misfortune was not based on untrustworthy between the two regions, costs were reduced by in- behaviour, however, liquidation was not in itself stitutional development, both within the two trad- overly problematic. While imprisoned in the Tow- ing areas themselves and between the Western and er of Bruges, Veckinchusen wrote to ask his wife Eastern systems as a whole. to send him his Book of Hours, his clothes with In the West, an institution that would eventually linings of beaver fur, and his fine Flemish clothes, develop into the Hanseatic League was founded on seeing as: “I have to have (fine) clothes, because I the basis of local developments and traditions. This have been in the Tower one month by now, and I type of institution reduced the problems and costs shall have use for them here in the Tower” (Hilde- of multilocality, security and standardisation. Mer- brand Veckinchusen, no. 319, 337-340, here chants held influence on municipal governments, 339). which built and maintained the physical and legal Mediation was one of the main tools of conflict prerequisites for trade. resolution (Höhn 2014; Wubs-Mrozewicz Developments in Novgorod are less clear. Here, 2017). Organisations, such as brotherhoods and merchants struggled with their dependency on the guilds could mediate (Gilde- og Lavsskraaer boyars. They were selling the taxes of the boyars that I, St. Canute Guild, c. 1200, §§ 21-22, 11), as could had been collected in kind to Western traders while colleagues and regional rulers. Merchants often constantly striving for power and influence of their tried mediation before entering into long lasting own. Both groups, however, were dependent on and expensive legal disputes (Wubs-Mrozewicz trade as the basis of their wealth. It is clear that the 2017). Novgorod merchants also developed institutions of Dealing with the legal systems abroad presented trade in order to reduce their transaction costs. The one of the main challenges in the development of extent and power of such institutions, however, is the northern European trading system (Cordes/ unclear. Höhn 2018). Prior to the 13th century, merchants Trade between the Western and the Eastern mer- were outlawed, or subject to distinct and stricter chants was challenged by the cultural and religious rules than the local population. In response, mer- differences between the two regions. Difficulties chants united into groups (hansa, fèlag), which were to some extent mediated and secured by com- would ensure their legal jurisdiction abroad. Mem- mercial and political treaties, institutions, and long bers of such groups were obliged to swear an oath standing customs, but during the entirety of its to one other that they would defend each other existence, the trade remained in a state of “equum and give aid to free an imprisoned ‘brother’ (Reg- pro equo dare”, or barter trade (Goetz 1922, ulations of St. Canute Guild, ca. 1200) (Gilde- og 355), even if merchants in 1414 already asked the Lavsskraaer I, St. Canute Guild, c. 1200, §§ 15- question whether it would be profitable or not: 16, 10). “prophijtlyk syn to dogende ofte nycht” (Hansi­ Since the beginning of the 13th century, town law sches Urkundenbuch V, no. 1140, 592). In systems (e. g. the Lübeck Law, the Magdeburg Law) the trade between the West and East in Novgorod, began to dominate the Latin part of the Baltic area some obstacles were overcome, but the differences ( Jahnke 2009a, 58-69; Link/Walker 2017). remained. These differences made the trade chal- Both systems ensured and regulated the rights of lenging, interesting, and lucrative for the Hanseatic foreign merchants. Around the same time, mer- merchants. chants began to stay at home, and merchandise was 26 Weight and Value • Vol. 2 • 2021 Weight&Value02.indb 26 19.02.21 11:45 Trade in different worlds. Trade between Western Europe and Novgorod Sources Grad der Monetarisierung in den frühmittelalterli- chen Gesellschaften des Ostseeraums „messen“? In: Gilde- og Lavskraaer M. Bogucki/M. Rębkowski (eds.), Economies, Mon- Danmarks Gilde- og Lavskraaer fra Middelalderen, etisation and Society in the West Slavic Lands 800- vol. I-II (Kjøbenhavn 1899-1900). 1200 AD. Wolińskie Spotkania Mediewistyczne 2 Egils saga Skalla-Grímssonar (Szczecin 2013) 115-136. Egils saga Skalla-Grímssonar, hrsg. v. Guðni Jónsson. 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Accounting, Business & Financial History 10, 1, 2000, 1-12. 34 Weight and Value • Vol. 2 • 2021 Weight&Value02.indb 34 19.02.21 11:45 Coinless exchange and foreign merchants in medieval Iceland (AD 900-1600) by Natascha Mehler & Mark Gardiner Iceland, Middle Ages, trade, exchange, harbour, credit The nature and operation of medieval trade in Iceland over seven centuries is examined in this paper. Three phases of trade can be distinguished. The first, from c. 900 was marked by the growing dominance of Nor­ wegian traders who came to dominate overseas commerce and culminated with the union with Norway. The second from c. 1250 is marked by the growing importance of dried cod (stockfish) which superseded coarse cloth (vaðmál) as the major export from Iceland. The third phase in the 15th and 16th centuries was marked by the capture of the stockfish trade by the English and German merchants. The modest level of trade prevented the emergence of a merchant class in Iceland, but the demand for vaðmál and stockfish had a profound effect on Icelandic society and in the measures of value used. Coins were not employed, and trade was carried out by barter. The units for the measurement of value were successively silver, cloth and then stockfish. As the items of trade changed, so did the units of value. The rate of exchange (or value) of goods was set by the local or national assemblies. The harbours had little infrastructure and were marked only by protected anchorages and by booths for the merchants to occupy and store goods. Trade was a high-risk activity. The long, sometimes stormy voyage to Iceland and varying levels of violence in the country made it an uncertain venture. Münzloser Austausch und fremde Händler im mittelalterlichen Island (900-1600 n. Chr.) Island, Mittelalter, Handel, Tausch, Hafen, Kredit Dieser Beitrag fasst zusammen, wie der mittelalterliche Handel in Island im Verlauf von etwa 700 Jahren ablief. Drei Phasen werden hierbei unterschieden: Die erste, ab etwa 900, ist von der zunehmenden Domi­ nanz norwegischer Kaufleute charakterisiert, die den Fernhandel bestimmten. Dies führte letztendlich zur Union mit Norwegen. Die zweite Phase, ab etwa 1250, ist geprägt von der Bedeutungszunahme des Stock- fischs, der groben Wollstoff (vaðmál) als wichtigstes isländisches Exportgut verdrängte. In der dritten Phase, ab dem 15. bzw. 16. Jahrhundert, liegt der Stockfisch-Handel ausschließlich in den Händen englischer und deutscher Kaufleute. Der bescheidene Binnenhandel verhinderte, dass in Island eine Kaufmannsschicht ent- stand, aber die Nachfrage nach vaðmál und Stockfisch hatte einen nachhaltigen Einfluss auf die isländische Gesellschaft und die verwendeten Maßsysteme. Münzen waren nicht in Verwendung und Handel beruhte auf Tausch. Die Maß- und Werteeinheiten waren anfänglich Silber, dann Textilien und später Stockfisch. Im Wechsel mit den Exportgütern änderten sich auch die Tauschwerte. Die Wechselraten für die Tauschgüter wurden vom Thing bestimmt. Die Häfen bestanden aus geschützten Ankerplätzen und Buden für die Händler, um Waren zu lagern, verfügten aber ansonsten kaum über Infra- struktur. Handel war ein riskantes Unternehmen. Die lange und gelegentlich stürmische Reise nach Island sowie die Risiken von Gewalt auf der Insel machten die Überfahrt zu einem ungewissen Abenteuer. Weight and Value • Vol. 2 • 2021 35 Weight&Value02.indb 35 19.02.21 11:45 Natascha Mehler & Mark Gardiner Introduction inviting them to stay on their farms, and protected foreign traders against assaults (Ebel 1985, 114; Iceland might appear to have been a marginal Jakobsson 2007, 145). As a result, they had con- place far away and isolated from the (northern) siderable influence on the nature of trade and the European trading networks of the medieval period. manner of its operation. Indeed, that might have been the case in the late In the later phase of the Commonwealth period 9th century, when people from western Norway ship traffic had decreased and it is generally assumed (and other places) started to explore the uninhab- that international contacts declined in the 13th cen- ited island and, over the course of the next decades, tury (Boulhosa 2010, 184-190). After the end of to colonise it. The Norse colonisers in Iceland in- the Commonwealth and under Norwegian control itially created an independent country without (after 1262) most of Iceland´s trade was channelled a king (Commonwealth period, AD 930-1262), through Bergen which, in effect, formed a staple but subsequently Iceland became a skattland or port for the whole of the Norse world. There was ‘tributary land’ as part of the Norwegian realm. hardly any direct contact beyond Norway and con- Settlers maintained close contact with their home tact was mediated by Norwegian merchants who areas and voyages across the rough North Atlantic increasingly controlled access to goods and also were undertaken quite frequently to trade, to trav- to knowledge which had been picked up from for- el south to the Continent, for political reasons, by eign arrivals in Bergen. The scale of the trade may visiting chieftains, kings or – after the introduction be indicated by the agreement made with Iceland of Christianity around 1000 AD – bishops, and to through the two contracts that had brought about keep family bonds together ( Jóhannesson 1974; the union of Iceland and Norway. In the second Sigurðsson 2010, 62-65; Semple et al. 2020, of these, the so-called Old Covenant (Icel. gam- 181). Despite its remote location, Iceland was part li sáttmáli) of 1302, the king guaranteed to send of a trade network spanning not only northern Eu- six ships annually to Iceland (Gelsinger 1981, rope, but reaching far beyond (Fig. 1). 43-44, 178-180; Sigurðsson 2014, 181-187).1 There was no distinct merchant class in Iceland Specifically, according to a document of 1320, during the Viking and medieval period, but writ- two were to go to the south of the island, two to ten sources tell us that in the first centuries of the the north and one each to the West Fjords (Vest- qFig. 1. Rune stone from settlement chieftains were both involved them- firðir) and to the East Fjords (Þorláksson 2010, Timans on the island of selves in overseas trade and acted as the regulators 150).2 How far this conformed to reality is ques- Gotland, Sweden, dated to of trading activity. Each chieftain (ON goði) had tionable, but the agreement remained in force, at the second half of the 11th several þingmen, who represented their chieftain least in theory, for quite some time.3 A document century. The inscription at the local or general assembly (þing) (see below). from 1413 provides us with more detail about this reads “Ormika, Ulvair, These þingmen were sometimes also local traders arrangement: six ships were to sail from Norway to Grekland, Island, Särk- (Gelsinger 1981, 31; Byock 2001, 118-122; Iceland annually; the crews then stayed in Iceland land”. It indicates that Semple et al. 2020, 234-235). It is reasonable to for a year, while six other ships sailed back to Ber- Ormika and Ulvair had assume that such þingmen were amongst those gen, which means there were 12 ship movements visited, or had contact with local traders mentioned in written sources who each year (Þorláksson 2010, 151) (Fig. 2). The Greece, Iceland and Jerusa- acquired goods from the foreign merchants and Norwegian kings had a great interest in the foreign lem (Rune stone G 216, c. then sold them on to those Icelanders who were trade of Iceland, since they levied 5 % tax on all 9 cm long) (kindly provided not able to come to the trading sites to do busi- imports from Iceland, the so-called ON sekkjagald by Gotlands Museum, we ness with the foreigners directly (Ebel 1977, 4; (Þorláksson 2010, 155). would like to thank Chr. Gardiner/ Mehler 2007, 399, tab. 1). Chief- During the course of the 15th century the system Kilger for this image and for tains had the power to prevent ships from trading, of channelling trade through Bergen broke down his valubale input). could provide lodging for foreign traders, often and the volume of trade expanded considerably. With the arrival of English fishing vessels around 1412, contact increased again (Gelsinger 1981, 184-186; Gardiner/Mehler 2007, 401). The waters around Iceland soon became one of the major fishing areas for boats from the east coast of England. In 1417-1418, 11 ships went from Scar- borough alone. The businesses of fishing and trade were rarely separate activities for English merchants voyaging to Iceland, and the English ships grew so 1 It has been argued that this clause has been a later addition of the 15th and 16th century (Boulhosa 2005, 87-153; Þorláksson 2010, 150-153). 2 DI 2, no. 343; for a summary of the discussion of this issue, see Þorláksson 2010, 150. 3 See Boulhosa 2010, 179-180 for the problems in attempt- ing to estimate more precisely the size of trade. 36 Weight and Value • Vol. 2 • 2021 Weight&Value02.indb 36 19.02.21 11:45 Coinless exchange and foreign merchants in medieval Iceland (AD 900-1600) rapidly that in 1414 the Danish king sent a letter to the business, by introducing the Danish trade Fig. 2. Aerial view of to Iceland forbidding trade with foreigners, though monopoly (Þorláksson 2010; Gardiner/ Gásir, a medieval coastal this was largely ignored (Gardiner 2016, 81-82). Mehler 2019). market site in the north of The influence of the English was so great that the Our information regarding trade, exchange Iceland which was frequent- subsequent decades have been referred to in Icelan- mechanisms and networks stems mostly from writ- ed by Norwegian mer- dic historical writing as the “English Age” (Þor- ten sources. For the Commonwealth period (AD chants. The booth structures steinsson 1970). With the appearance of Ger- 930-1262), the Icelandic written legacy is rich, and the round enclosure for man merchants in Iceland in the later part of the ranging from the detailed laws of Grágás to ‘The the merchant church are 15th century gradually more ships began to sail to Book of Settlement’ (Landnámabók) and the sagas. clearly visible (image by R. Iceland (Gardiner/Mehler 2019). During the The number of written sources also increases with Weßling, J. Coolen, 16th century between 15 and 26 ships from Ham- the growth of external trade over time. But while © HaNoA project). burg and Bremen per year were arriving in Iceland abundant records have been kept by the German (Hofmeister 2000; Holterman 2020, 209). and English merchants, this was not equally true The range of commodities brought to Iceland for their trading partners in Iceland and, of course, from both Germany and England included lux- only a portion of the records compiled have actual- ury items, such as wine, but also practical items ly survived. In particular, written sources to allow including flour, wax, presumably for candles, the measurement of the volume of trade do not al- salt, knives, caps and horseshoes, beer, items of ways survive, though the English customs accounts clothing, raw materials, including iron, cloth and of Bristol and Hull are particularly valuable in this wood, and manufactured goods, including pots respect (Childs 1995). Records which might have and knives. Exports consisted mostly of dried cod enabled us to understand the manner in which the (stockfish), cloth, sulphur and, as luxury goods, commerce was transacted are particularly rare. The gyrfalcons (see below). The trade with Hamburg documents about the business of trade kept by civil and Bremen reached a high point in the 16th authorities on Iceland are few in number and scant century by which time German merchants had in detail. This disparity in perspective is an im- managed to expel the English from trading in portant factor to bear in mind when we consider Iceland entirely, though they continued to fish trade which was a two-way process (Gardiner/ in Icelandic waters. Voyages from northern Ger- Mehler 2019, 11-12). many to Iceland were frequent during this cen- The consequence of the nature of the records tury, with up to 25 ships a year undertaking the which have survived is that while we can under- journey to Iceland. However, as Iceland was then stand the nature of trade at a macro-economic part of the kingdom of Denmark-Norway, Ger- level, it is much more difficult to obtain insights man trade was regulated by the Danish kings. In into its operation at the micro-economic scale. the early 17th century the authorities put an end The business of exchange in goods in Iceland can Weight and Value • Vol. 2 • 2021 37 Weight&Value02.indb 37 19.02.21 11:45 Natascha Mehler & Mark Gardiner only be seen in outline and the nature of produc- boys (in that case refered to as MLG putker) or tion for the market within the household and the merchants’ trainees. German merchants often con- consumption of goods obtained in return remains ducted their business jointly in a trading company largely obscure. called maschup, deriving from Dutch matschoppie, i. e. association (see below). They shared their capi­ tal, the risk and the profit. Before that, merchants Terminology operated in wedderleginge, a similiar organisa- tion, but with a less clear definition about trading The available written sources that inform us about goals. The skipper (MLG schipper) of a ship had traders and trade mechanisms in medieval Iceland considerable power in the maschup and often was are in a range of languages: Old Norse (ON), Old part-owner of a ship or possibly also traded himself Danish (OD) and Middle Low German (MLG). (Holterman 2020, 339-343). In the Old Norse Icelandic sources merchants are In England similar groups of merchants might called kaupmaðr or farmaðr, the latter refering to come together to finance or participate in particu- seafarers that were involved in trade. Foreign mer- lar voyages, known as ventures. Some such partner- chants were also called austmenn (i. e. men from the ships, however, persisted for many years. The only East) which seems to have been used synonymously formal organisations were guilds, generally found- with Norse ( Jakobsson 2007, 144). We also read ed at first for religious purposes, but which might about wandering salesmen (or possibly women, over time become dominated by certain trades and see below) named ON mangari. They sold goods exercise a regulatory function (Kermode 1998, they made themselves, had bought on farms, or 30-31). Boys learning the art of sailing initially were which they had bought from foreign merchants at taken on as ships’ boys, but as they progressed they the trading sites (e. g. Falk 1912, 4; Ebel 1977, 4; might be trained formally or informally as appren- Gardiner/Mehler 2007). The seasonal fisher- tices (Burwash 1947, 69n; Ward 2009, 103). men who dwelled in cottages at the fishing stations and who sold the fish to the foreigners were called ON búðarmenn (i. e. booth-men) (Þorláksson Tools of exchange 2010, 156). The Bergen merchants that travelled to Iceland formed a group named ON Íslandsfarar Language and literacy qFig. 3. Illumination in (i. e. Iceland farers) (Þorláksson 2010, 167). Several languages were in use between clients Jónsbók showing a group In German records the merchants that travelled and merchants during the Viking and medieval of men with books and to Iceland were called kopman (MLG), with dif- periods: Icelandic and Latin (the latter practised diplomas (16th century). ferent spelling variations such as kopmann. Their only by the clergymen), Danish, especially after Reykjabók AM 345 fol., f. servants were called knechte (MLG; sgl. knecht), Iceland came under Danish rule (c. 1380), some 27r, bottom margin (image and were responsible for helping the merchants English in the time of the English trade period provided by The Árni Mag- with special tasks. We also read of apprentices, that (c. 15th century) and later Middle Low German nússon Institute of Icelandic is young men (MLG jungens, ON smadreingier) (c. 16th century). From the late 15th century on- studies, Reykjavík). but it is often not clear whether these are ship´s wards, when trade was exclusively in the hands of 38 Weight and Value • Vol. 2 • 2021 Weight&Value02.indb 38 19.02.21 11:45 Coinless exchange and foreign merchants in medieval Iceland (AD 900-1600) Germans, Middle Low German was the most im- during archaeological excavations of pagan graves portant foreign language. Danish was then under- pre-dating c. 1000 AD (Eldjárn 2000, 411-415). stood by most because Iceland was administered The weights today vary considerably in weight and through Denmark after c. 1380. Communication no analysis has yet been undertaken to put the ar- does not seem to have been a problem during the chaeological finds in context with the weight units day-to-day business, at least no written accounts known from written sources. A common weight ever mention it. Either merchants learnt Icelandic, was the ON mörk (pl. merkur), the weight of a or a pidgin developed which allowed communica- mark (c. 220-250 g) one of which was excavated tion. At the alþing, the Icelandic general assembly, (Hallmundsdóttir/Juel Hansen 2012, 10, it was proclaimed in 1533 that “boys [from mer- 14). chant ships] who want to learn Icelandic” and want The subdivision of the mörk was the ounce called to get to know the land were allowed to stay for ON eyrir (pl. aurar) (c. 28 g), the equivalent to one the winter.4 We should not imagine that all people ounce of silver. One mörk consisted of eight au- had a full command of foreign languages. Commu- rar. A mörk could also be divided into örtugar and nications between Basque whalers and Icelanders penningar. Other units were the ON fjórðung (pl. from the 17th century was facilitated by the use of fjórðungar), corresponding to c. 4.34 kg, and the a pidgin (or hybrid language) and it is possible that ON vætt (c. 34.7 kg). One vætt (load) was divid- something similar may have been used in German-­ ed into eight units of 10 lb (c. 4.4 kg). In addition Iceland interchanges (Hualde 1984; Miglio to these units were the pound units: the smallest 2008). of these units was the ON skálapund (scale pound) Literacy was available only to a small group of weighing approx. 434 g. Then comes the ON people (Fig. 3). However, the development of the lífspund (c. 5.22 kg), the ON skippund (ship´s vernacular alphabet is already described in the pound, c. 125 kg) and finally the ON lest (last, mid-12th century in the so-called “First Grammati- c. 1.5 metric tons) (Ebel 1977, 11; Gelsinger cal Treatise” (Icel. Fyrsta málfræðiritgerðin), a work 1981, 33-34, 251, 253; Þorsteinsson/Gríms- on phonology by an unknown Icelandic author dóttir 1989, 134-140). (Haugen 1972, 5). Latin literacy came to Iceland Cloth, a widely exported commodity in the me- together with Christianity, i. e. after c. 1000 AD and dieval period, was weighed with the basic units it was taught in the church schools of the two bish- mentioned above or measured in length using oprics at Skálholt and Hólar. Vernacular literacy in- wooden sticks with the length of an ell which was creased considerably by the 14th century, but was still either called alin (pl. álnir), or stikkur, the latter restricted to the elites (Hermann 2017, 35-36). refering to a wooden measure the length of an ell (Fig. 4). The ell was about 49.2 cm and in the later Accounting and weights medieval period got slightly longer (c. 54-57 cm) The basic tools for trade were weighing scales (Ebel 1977, 11; Dennis et al. 1980, 244). The use of copper alloy with weights made of copper alloy of standardised measures for cloth is discussed fur- or lead. A number of such items have been found ther below. 4 DI 16, no. 333. tFig. 4. The control of lengths of measurements is depicted in a 15th-century version of Jónsbók (Heynes- bók) (AM 147 4to). The images are labelled with “rett er stikan” (the ell measure is flawless), “ran- gur pundari” ( faulty scales) and “þetta er skóla” (that is a barrel) (image provided by The Árni Magnússon Institute of Icelandic studies, Reykjavík). Weight and Value • Vol. 2 • 2021 39 Weight&Value02.indb 39 19.02.21 11:46 Natascha Mehler & Mark Gardiner Since literacy was limited to the elite strata of most important foodstuffs, such as meat, fish, society and no merchant class existed, accounting dairy products and even some vegetables, as well was not much in use, at least before c. 1500. The as iron tools in their own homesteads. During the bishops of the two dioceses in Hólar and Skálholt first centuries of the settlement barley was grown frequently ordered goods to be brought to Iceland but, as the climate deteriorated after the medieval by foreign merchants and some records are handed warm period, this became less practical. Soon the down which account for such business. Bishop Gis- demand for cereals had to be met by foreign im- sur Einarsson, for example, provides us with a ver- ports. Vigorous trading activity with Norway, Eng- nacular account (Icel. reikningsskapr) dated 1542 of land and the Continent opened the route for goods his business with English merchants who had a base which improved the standard of living (Karls- at the Westman Islands (Vestmannaeyjar). Such an son 2000, 48; Mehler 2007, 227; Trigg et al. account is always only a list of goods without any 2009). A variety of commodities came on board indication of price.5 However, the German traders the foreign ships. The bulk goods have been not- that came to Iceland produced detailed accounts of ed above. Other goods coming in smaller quanti- their business, as was done on the Continent at the ties included linen, clothes, wax, tar, honey, spices, time (Stockhusen 2015). Two account books wine, salt, cutlery, horseshoes, tools and liturgical of German traders trading in Iceland in the 16th items for the clergymen (Thorsteinsson 1972, century have survived and they provide valuable 190; Gelsinger 1981, 14-16; Þorsteinsson/ information about the goods they brought and ex- Grímsdóttir 1989, 131). Exports were largely changed, as well as the system of pricing operated of just three commodities. The first was woollen (Kohl 1905; Hofmeister 2001). cloth (Icel. vaðmál) which was of major impor- tance throughout the Viking and medieval period. Transport in bulk Dried fish, mainly cod (‘stockfish’), rose in impor- The bulk cargoes that came to Iceland from both tance in the 13th century (Barrett et al. 2004; Germany and England were mainly flour or cereals, Gardiner 2016; Vésteinsson 2016). Both beer and timber. Other items, such as horseshoes, commodities were intensively traded with England clothes or ceramic vessels came in smaller quantities and later northern Germany. Sulphur became a (Hofmeister 2001). Some goods were wrapped commodity that was widely exported in bulk, es- in cloth (ON pakkavaðmál), fragments of which pecially from the later medieval period onwards were found during archaeological excavations (Mehler 2015). A less important export was train (Möller-Wiering 2002, 167). Unwieldy com- oil produced from fish and sea mammals. Luxuri- modities, such as dried cod or bars of schist were ous goods that were exported included arctic fox tied up with thread or yarn, as was found among pelt, seal skins and live gyrfalcons (Gelsinger the cargo of the Darss shipwreck which sank off the 1981, 12-14; Þorsteinsson/Grímsdóttir north-eastern coast of Germany in the 14th century. 1989, 135; Mehler et al. 2018). That cargo consisted of goods from Iceland (sul- phur, packed in a barrel) and Norway (dried cod, Currencies reindeer antler) (Möller-Wiering 2002, 168; Icelandic society did not operate with coins Mehler 2009; 2015, 101). Foreign traders also during the Viking and medieval periods. Only used barrels to transport and store goods. Barrels, a couple of coins have to date been found during generally made of oak, followed standard measuring archaeologi­cal excavations (Holt 1998).6 Foreign units and often show owners marks incised on lids coins from Norway or England were used only to or staves. They formed a convenient way of handling pay fines or debts, acquire land or as compensation goods and provided water-tight containers. The or dowries (Gullbekk 2011, 184-186; Eken­ weight unit ON áhöfn means “cargo of a ship”, and gren/Domeji Lundborg 2015). Trade was con- corresponded to 12 lasts, or 18 metric tons (Gel- ducted almost exclusively by barter and people ei- singer 1981, 34). On German ships that came ther paid in kind or established credit. Despite the to Iceland, a cooper generally formed part of the use of a commodity money system, silver was the ship´s crew (Kohl 1905; Holterman in press). main standard of value in Iceland until the 12th cen- Their role was to make up barrels from loose staves tury against which the values of other items were or seal up full barrels. Those barrels that remained calculated (Gelsinger 1981, 34; Gullbekk in Iceland were often reused by the locals and trans- 2011, 186). Hacksilver has been found in several formed into everyday items, such as buckets or archaeologi­cal contexts; the most famous are the drinking vessels (Mehler 2007, 232-233). hacksilver hoard finds from Sandmúli (c. 304 g) and Miðhús (c. 653 g) (Eldjárn 2000, 423-426) Commodities (see below). The many weights found in pre-Chris- It would have been possible for the early Ice- tian graves in Iceland, a large number of them rang- landers to survive in the country without any trade ing between 4 g and 25 g, bear witness to the use of with the external world. Icelanders produced the hacksilver (Eldjárn 2000, 413-415). 5 DI 11, no. 130. I am grateful to Árni Dániel Júliússon for 6 The coin hoard from Gaulverjabær (see Storage and banking, this. below) is an exception. 40 Weight and Value • Vol. 2 • 2021 Weight&Value02.indb 40 19.02.21 11:46 Coinless exchange and foreign merchants in medieval Iceland (AD 900-1600) Grágás contains the oldest surviving price lists of These changes reflect a fundamental shift in the goods and the value of items. One new iron caul- meaning of capital in Icelandic society. Initially, dron of about 16 kg, for example, was defined as wealth might be assessed in terms of cattle which worth 60 ON lögaurar, six sheep skins were worth were a means of producing milk products and as one lögeyrir. A lögeyrir was a legitimate instrument a source of meat. However, as the Icelandic econ- of payment. It was not a coin but the weight of an omy became more dependent on trade, the units ounce of silver (ON eyrir) which corresponded to of value altered, first to cloth which could be ex- the value of 6 ells of vaðmál, but that value varied ported to Norway and then to dried fish which was slightly over time. traded with Bergen, and later English and German The main abstract unit of value was ON kúgil- merchants. Capital ­­– that is accumulated wealth di which was equivalent to the value of a milking ­– came to exist primarily in its potential for trade cow. Legal texts, such as Grágás and Jónsbók men- and hence to obtain traded products. Trade shifted tion equivalent values for kúgildi in other livestock Icelandic society from one which was based around (i. e. six ewes) or also for land rent values in units personal prestige or status, to one which valued the of kúgildi. For example, Grágás mentions the value possession of goods. of a kúgildi to be about 20 aurar. In addition, one kúgildi was worth 120 ells of vaðmál. However, equivalent values could vary over time and in dif- Social and political organisation of trade ferent regions (Einzig 1966, 261; McCooey 2017, 77-80, 83-85, tab. 1). Organisation and scale Another important unit of exchange was cloth The absence of a monetary system meant that (ON vaðmál, from váð = cloth and mál = a meas- foreign merchants had to adapt to the Icelandic ure, or unit) which was used to pay tithes and tax- commodity money system. Attempts to regulate es, fines, and trade goods (Þorláksson 1991). trade closely was a feature of Icelandic commerce Exchange value for cloth was settled at the Icelan- where prices could not be determined by supply dic assemblies and written down in medieval law and demand, but had to reflect a reasonable value codes, such as Grágás, Járnsiða and Jónsbók. The to the suppliers and purchasers. Unregulated com- cloth currency was based on legally negotiated ex- merce in the absence of a true market was hardly change rates for the value of goods relative to oth- practical or, for Icelanders, desirable. Regulation er products (Ebel 1985, 117-118; Kilger 2008, included not only fixing prices but also, from the 296-297; Hayeur Smith 2019, 251). To serve Hanse period onwards, licensing merchants to as currency, cloth needed to be woven in particu- trade and even defining the ports where they might lar lengths and widths which were evaluated by operate (Mehler/Gardiner 2013, 3; Holter- regional authorities (Hayeur Smith 2013, 731). man 2020, 107-116). It was a woollen 2/2 twill, measured by the num- Trade was controlled and regulated during the ber of threads per ell in its warp and weft. Both the Viking Age by the chieftains (ON goðar). As the value and standard measurements for cloth varied leaders of the þing, the political assemblies (see over time. In the 12th and 13th century, a standard below), they brought about agreements on equiva­ vaðmál was 2 ells in width (1 legal ell = 49.2 cm) lents of goods and controlled payments by setting and 6 ells in length. This formed the unit named the prices for the trade between Icelanders and for- ON eyrir (pl. aurar), the equivalent to one ounce eigners. Once a foreign ship arrived, the chieftain of silver, which became the basic measurement unit who lived nearest to the landing place where the for exchange (Þorláksson 1991; Kilger 2008, ship anchored went there to put maximum prices 296-297; Hayeur Smith 2019, 268). Imported on the goods, a process referred to as ON kaupset- silver – in the form of hacksilver – was equally im- ning (Þorláksson 1978, 113). This kaupsetning portant as cloth up to the 12th century and was the was done through ON forráðsmen, three elected value against which other items were calculated. inspectors per district, who were probably appoint- After c. 1300, the cloth unit of currency starts to ed by chieftains on behalf of the þing institution. be replaced by one based on dried fish, although Violations of the price of exchange value of goods cloth currency existed until the 16th century. From were heard in hearings either in the home of the at least the 15th century onwards dried fish became prosecutor or at the local assembly site (see below) the most important medium of exchange due to (Semple et al. 2020, 234). The control of foreign the increase in fish exports. For example, 48 ells trade was a major source of the chieftain’s wealth of vaðmál corresponded to 120 dried fish (Ein- (Þorláksson 1978, 112; Miller 1986, 38). zig 1966, 262). In 16th-century German account During the later medieval period the operation books of merchants that traded in Iceland, vaðmál of foreign trade in Iceland changed considerably. was still mentioned as payment but fish was more The concentration of power in the hands of chief- important. Here, one standard fish weighed c. 2 lb. tains was substantially reduced after 1220, when One barrel of butter was worth 120 fish, one barrel they started to lose their monopoly to determine of flour was worth 30 fish (Hofmeister 2001; the prices of goods to the merchants. It has been Holterman 2020, 59 tab. 2.2.). argued that this change was brought about by the Weight and Value • Vol. 2 • 2021 41 Weight&Value02.indb 41 19.02.21 11:46 Natascha Mehler & Mark Gardiner foreign merchants who had been unhappy with graves that contain weights may indicate that the the system and gradually were able to expand their deceased person was also involved in trading activi- power and influence (Þorláksson 1978, 113; ties which accounted for his social status. Karlsson 2000, 51). After Iceland had become In the later medieval period, written sources re- part of the Norwegian realm in 1262, it was drawn port that bishops were involved in trade. Initially, further into the northern European markets and Icelandic bishops held close trading connections trade could no longer operate on Icelandic terms with the archbishop in Norway who received much only (Semple et al. 2020, 236-237). Legislation of the tax paid in kind which he needed to sell and was now necessary that was valid for all parts of for which he operated harbour infrastucture and Norway, including Iceland. The legal reforms of ships (Ísleifsdóttir-Bickel 1996, 46). The two the Norwegian kings, Magnus the Lawmender bishoprics at Hólar and Skálholt, economic and and Eric Magnusson, in the second half of the 13th cultural centres, operated a fishing fleet and fitted century had consequences also for Iceland, where out ships that sailed to Norway. A storehouse in the two royal laws were introduced. Jarnsiða (1271) harbour of Eyrarbakki in the south of Iceland be- and Jónsbók (1281) were both based on Norwegian longed to the bishop of Skálholt. When bishops of laws. The adoption of these two laws implied the English origin were installed in the two bishoprics introduction of the Norwegian administrative and in the first half of the 15th century, they used their legal system in Iceland (Sigurðsson 2010, 64; position to develop trade with their home coun- Frankot 2012, 10). However, even as the scale of try.7 In the 16th century the Icelandic bishops were foreign trade grew, foreign merchants continued connected with German merchants both in Iceland to be subject to Icelandic law and regulation (see and in Hamburg in manifold ways (Holterman below). 2020, e. g. 175-177). Domestic commerce within Iceland was in the Social positions hands of two groups of people: as mentioned above, Trade with foreign merchants was initially re- wandering salespeople (ON mangari) who went stricted to the people of higher social ranks: chief- from farm to farm to sell goods, and intermediate tains and, with the strengthening of Christianity traders who made their living by buying goods from and the church institution, also to bishops. During the foreign merchants at the coastal trading sites the Commonwealth period, when overseas trade and then sold these to their clients who could not was mostly in the hands of Norwegian merchants make the journey to the trading sites. It was possible and Icelandic chieftains, the chieftains that were to acquire some wealth with this, as Hænsa-­Þóris involved in the trade with Norway and those that saga reports. It tells of Þórir who made his living by travelled there are described as “men of honour” selling goods between districts. Another example is (ON virðingamenn) (Ebel 1977, 18). As men- that of Oddr, reported in Bandamanna saga, who tioned above, chieftains also regulated trade and started his business by owning parts of a ferry, but qFig. 5. Lead weights from lodged foreign merchants over winter for which soon had his own by which he transported timber Viking graves in Dalvík some wealth was necessary. We can see some of this and fish on Miðfjörður in the north of Iceland. He (ÞMJS No. 1909-194-24). wealth and status reflected in the archaeological re- bought foreign goods in the coastal trading stations The length of the cylindrical cord. Some pagan graves from the period before c. and sold them on in the interior of Iceland. He be- weight in the centre is 1000 AD contain metal weights (copper alloy and came wealthy enough to buy two ocean-going ships 1.4 cm (image by Í. lead) (Fig. 5) and weighing scales, and the quali- and continued his business in overseas trade (Ebel Brynjólfsson, Þjóðminjasafn ty and amount of grave goods indicates that the 1977, 4-5). However, most mangari did not make Íslands). deceased was a person of high social rank. Those such wealth and remained in the lower stratum of society. Moreover, it seems that mangari were not respected people and the word even became used as an abusive term (Ebel 1977, 8). Infrastructure of mobility: Prerequisites and physical evidence Mobility The geographical position of Iceland meant that the island depended on ship traffic. Foreign trade and contact with the outside world occurred in various ports along the coast. Icelanders needed to travel to and along the extensive coastline of the is- land to find the merchants. This was done by horse or foot, or people went along the coast in boats. Horses and boats were valued by Icelanders, as 7 DI 4, no. 518. 42 Weight and Value • Vol. 2 • 2021 Weight&Value02.indb 42 19.02.21 11:46 Coinless exchange and foreign merchants in medieval Iceland (AD 900-1600) mobility was essential. The value of these and their Physical evidence of an infrastructure of trade meaning for Icelanders is indicated by their funer- The seafaring skills of navigation and pilotage, ary customs of pre-Christian times. A number of advanced boat construction with heavy cargo ca- pagan graves include bodies placed in a boat, or to- pacity, and landing places that connected land and gether with their horse (Eldjárn 2000). Around sea were crucial for the colonisation of Iceland and 150 horse graves are known, with at least 175 in- the development of extensive networks of trade dividual horses, and a recent ancient DNA study and exchange. Most ports in Iceland were simple has shown that the majority of these buried hors- landing places or natural harbours, consisting of es were male in their prime years (5 to 15 years of a sandy or gravelly beach where boats were pulled age) (Leifsson 2018, 228; Nistelberger et al. ashore, or a natural jetty, to allow vessels of a deep- 2019). The boat burials are far less frequent as the er draught to be moored and unloaded. These har- vessels were certainly more valuable. About 10 of bours formed the economic, political and social in- those are known, but none with preserved timbers, terface between Iceland and northern Europe and, although their shape is marked by a series of boat although seemingly insignificant, trade of consid- nails. The length of the boats is mostly between 6 erable value and great importance was channelled and 7 m which implies a four-oared boat, though through them, giving them a special role in the eco- smaller ones are known (Roberts/Hreiðars- nomic history of northern Europe. The harbours dóttir 2013, 120; Jónasson 2018, fig. 13) (see are characterised by a very limited infrastructure below). which meant that they could be established and abandoned according to environmental or com- Geography and exploration mercial conditions. In those cases where jetties did According to written sources, Irish hermits or exist, they were probably made of wood – either monks were amongst the first explorers of Iceland. from imported wood or driftwood – but the ar- We do not know when this happened, but ac- chaeological evidence is lacking. Often, natural fea- cording to the Book of Icelanders (Íslendingabók, tures, such as horizontal stone banks of cliffs were from the early 12th century) the Norwegians that used as natural landing bridges and ships unloaded settled Iceland in the late 9th century encountered there. In many cases the harbours subsequently fell some Irish Christians whom they called papar (i. e. out of use, and the settlements were abandoned, so priests). The ON term papi (pl. papar) is a bor- the archaeological remains are yet to be identified, rowing from Irish pápa. We also do not know how even if they are known from historical records. The long they remained in Iceland and whether there lack of physical evidence of Norse or medieval har- were ever a substantial number of Irish settlers. The bours results from a variety of factors (Mehler colonisation of Iceland by settlers from Norway et al. 2015, 313-315). that started in the last decades of the 9th century is The number of sites along the extensive coast of far better known (e. g. Jóhannesson 1974, 5-8; Iceland which offer protection for ships against the Smith 1995). A reliable account of the explora- storms of the North Atlantic is limited. The sandy tion and colonisation of Iceland by settlers from coast on the south of the country provides few Norway is preserved in Landnámabók (the Book of sheltered bays suitable for mooring or anchoring. Settlements) which was probably compiled in the The best harbours in Iceland are found within shel- 12th century. It describes how Iceland was found tered fjords, in estuaries and particularly in small and lists the names of 3000 people and a great bays behind natural spits. The suitability of the an- number of settlements ( Jóhannesson 1974, 9). chorage was not, of course, the only consideration. As most of Iceland’s terrain consists of mountains The ports had to be located in places frequented and lava deserts, settlements were only possible by merchants who were willing to exchange Ice- in the coastal plains and valleys and even today landic produce for goods brought from abroad most of the settlements are found in the north and (Gardiner/Mehler 2007, 395-396). southwest. From written sources and archaeological surveys Foreign travellers and cartographers were aware and excavations a considerable number of coast- of the particular geography of Iceland, but lacked al market sites are known today but not all were detailed knowledge. We are best informed about used at the same time or were of equal importance this only from the 16th century onwards. Travel (Fig. 6). Most sites were grouped in the southwest accounts of two Germans are handed down, one of Iceland (Reykjanes peninsula and south of it), named “Van Ysslandt” by Gories Peerse from Ham- around Snæfellsnes in the west, some in Vestfirðir burg (1561), and Dithmar Blefken’s account “Islan- (Western Fjords) and in the fjords of the north. As dia” which reports his experience in Iceland in the noted above, the south of Iceland was practically years 1563 and 1565 (Seelmann 1883; Holzer/ unsuitable due to the large sandy beaches and vol- Wallisch 2012). Both are typical travel reports of canic activity, and very few sites are to be found in their time containing many exaggerations. Peerse the east of Iceland. Archaeological investigations describes the geography of the country and is clear- have been conducted at Gásir and Kolkuós in the ly amazed by its particularities, such as volcanoes, north, Búðasandur in the south-west and at Gau- fissures and swamps. tavík in the east (Gardiner/Mehler 2007; Weight and Value • Vol. 2 • 2021 43 Weight&Value02.indb 43 19.02.21 11:46 Natascha Mehler & Mark Gardiner uFig. 6. Map of Iceland with places mentioned in the text (map by M. Gar- diner and L. Mulqueeny). Traustadóttir et al. 2011; Harrison 2014). booths (but varying in extent and sizes) and none All sites, all of which are mentioned in written of the sites revealed physical evidence of harbour sources, are characterised by the typical arrange- infrastructure, such as jetties. This may be due to ment of small units of turf structures called ON the changing coastline, the erosion and the silting búðir (sgl. búð) (i. e. booths). These are temporary of many estuaries and fjords but it also needs to dwellings where the traders stayed during the sum- be noted that hardly any underwater surveys have mer, or were used to store goods or equipment. As taken place that could have revealed lost harbour a rule, they consist of turf walls, sometimes faced infrastructure (Grassel/Edvardsson in press). and bolstered with stones, and the roof consisted of A rather different sort of site has been suggest- a wooden frame covered with woollen cloth (ON ed by fieldwork. Ólafur Olavius writing in the vaðmál). Such booths were also found at assembly 1770s recorded that Germans had their base on the or þing sites and often, sites served both purposes Vestfirðir peninsula at a place called Svínanes and (Vésteinsson 2013; Semple et al. 2020, 239). traded there. One of the turf-walled buildings on An example of a medieval coastal trading site the farm was still known as the “German building” is Búðasandur in the south-west of Iceland which at the time the site was abandoned in the 1950s. is also known as Maríuhöfn. The site lies on the Unlike the sites already mentioned which had a landward side of a storm beach to the west of the series of booths, this appears to have been a single mountain of Reynivallaháls on Hvalfjörður. The structure. The trading site can never have been large inlet behind the beach is now very shallow, but and appears to have escaped any contemporary re- it may have been deep enough during the Middle cord. At best it was a minor place to which fisher- Ages to allow it to be used for boats. The booths men on the north side of Breiðafjörður brought occupy a long strip which run parallel to the inlet, dried fish to trade (Gardiner et al. 2011). This with a few buildings on the north side cut into can be compared with the longer-lived and well the spur of land lying to the north-west (Fig. 7). documented 16th-century German trading site at Small-scale archaeological excavations in one of the Kumbaravogur on Snæfellsnes. That too seems to booths revealed material with a calibrated radio- have had only one or possibly two buildings, sug- carbon date of AD  1245 and 1375 at one sigma. gesting that the infrastructure on some of the trad- It was also evident that the buildings were buried ing sites was very modest (Gardiner/Mehler beneath a tephra layer dating to about 1490. A 2007, 415-418). boat shelter may have been amongst the recorded During the initial years of the settlement some ruins and the site fell out of use probably in the Icelandic chieftains owned ships but this gradually 15th century (Þorkelsson 2004; Gardiner/ changed as the vessels got older and could not be re- Mehler 2007, 413-415). Excavations at Kolkuós, paired due to the lack of suitable timber and know- Gásir and Gautavík revealed similar clusters of turf how on the island. By 1262 it was mainly ships from 44 Weight and Value • Vol. 2 • 2021 Weight&Value02.indb 44 19.02.21 11:46 Coinless exchange and foreign merchants in medieval Iceland (AD 900-1600) Norway that arrived in Iceland (Guðmundsson In the later medieval period the number of mer- pFig. 7. Plan drawing, 1997; Karlsson 2000, 51). No shipwreck of the chant ships from Germany, England or the Nether­ digital terrain model and medieval period is known from Iceland and we lands grew, as described above. Clinker-built ships results of a geophysical do not have much knowledge about the ship con- remained the standard form and now we read of survey of the ruins of the struction (Grassel/Edvardsson in press), but types, such as cogs and hulks. However, beyond medieval coastal market site archaeological finds from Scandinavia give us an their clinker construction, we have hardly any Búðasandur in the south- idea about the size of the ships in use. The so called knowledge about what technical parameters con- west of Iceland (image by J. “Big Ship” of Bergen, a clinker construction excavat- stituted a certain ship type. In several instances, Coolen and R. Weßling © ed at Bryggen and dendrochronologically dated to two or more sources that refer to one particular HaNoA project). the end of the 12th century, was approximately 27 ship describe it differently, that is as a cog, a holk or to 30 m long and held a cargo capacity of about 60 a carvel (Belasus 2019, 176). last (i.  e. 120 t) (Christensen 2002; Wickler Written sources often report that ships got lost 2016). The Bergen merchants that traded with Ice- on their way to Iceland, due to storms and drift land enjoyed privileges granted by the Norwegian ice, and because Iceland offered only a few safe kings and were called ON dróttseti. They were in anchorages. One reference from 1311 records 60 the possession of vessels. The king did not own ships ships, specified as cogs and busses, beached on the and thus he depended on the tax of the merchants shores of Iceland during a seven-day storm: “...al- who owned ships. In the second half of the 14th cen- most 60 large ships, cogs (kuggar) and busses (bús- tury, however, the kings owned a fourth-part of each sur), foundered during the period of seven nights; Iceland vessel and these parts could be rented out the weather was so terrifying, that, even though the (Þorláksson 2010, 167-168). cables held, the ships foundered at their cables, no The first ship type we hear of in written sources man knew how many people perished there”. is the knarr (ON knorr, pl. knerrir), used for sailing Larger vessels were used in the 15th and 16th cen- and rowing, and it appears to have been the main turies and these provided accommodation for the ship type from the settlement period until the lat- crew while anchored in Iceland. However, the size ter half of the 14th century (Kuhn 1972, 499-503). of the ships of Hamburg and Bremen sailing to Ice- Alongside this, the most common term is ON skip land at the end of the medieval period was limited (i. e. ship) or ON bátr (i. e. boat), without really by the conditions of the rivers Elbe and Weser. Due differentiating between those two (Falk 1912, 86, to moving sands and silting processes, ships could 90; Kuhn 1972, 502). These could also be more not exceed a 100 last-cargo capacity if they had to specifically identified by the number of oars the sail all the way up the rivers to Hamburg and Bre- boat had. The smallest was the ON ferærðr bátr men. This is confirmed in written sources where the (two oar pairs, or four oars), then followed the largest ship mentioned for the Iceland trade is stat- sexæringr (six oars), áttæringr (eight oars), teinæringr ed to have been 90 last (Belasus in press). (ten oars) and the tolfæring (twelve oars) (Falk 1912, 90-91). The term ON bússur (i. e. bus), that Storage and banking appears in sources from the 12th century onwards, Goods were stored in the trading stations, and may not refer to a different ship type but rather to probably also ships’ equipment in the period before a variant of the knarr (Falk 1912, 86, 90; Kuhn 1400. Merchants generally arrive one year and over- 1972, 502). Busses are also the ones that are men- wintered in Iceland, returning to Norway the fol- tioned in the Old Covenant described above, in lowing spring. The excavations of the coastal market which the ship traffic between Norway and Iceland place at Gásir revealed a number of booth structures, was regulated (Þorláksson 2010, 152). some of which also served the purpose of storing Weight and Value • Vol. 2 • 2021 45 Weight&Value02.indb 45 19.02.21 11:46 Natascha Mehler & Mark Gardiner uFig. 8. The Viking hack- silver hoard found at undir Sandmúla (image by Í. Brynjólfsson, Þjóðminjasafn Íslands). Scale 1:2. goods. Two goods can be traced archaeologically. is doubtful whether they left any stock or equip- First, archaeoentomological analysis revealed a few ment behind over the winter months. During the samples of the granary weevil (Sitophilus granarius), summer trading season, stock was brought from a pest that comes with imported grain and that can- the ships anchored off-shore and exchanged with not reproduce in Iceland due to climatic conditions Icelandic clients. The Icelandic goods obtained in and so must have come on board the trading ships return were transferred to the hold of the ships to Iceland. The discovery of the pest at Gásir indi- which provided a secure and spacious storage place. cates that grain was stored here (Konráðsdóttir They were, in effect, floating warehouses. 2010). Second, sulphur, an important export com- There was, of course, little need for banking, modity from the later medieval period onwards, was because coins were rarely used as a medium of ex- stored here, as lumps of sulphur found in several ex- change. However, silver hoards are known from the cavated layers confirm (Mehler 2015, 200). Viking period which mainly consist of hacksilver. Since skippers and crews were sometimes also There is, for example, the hacksilver hoard from lodged by chieftains, some of their goods and the high-status farm named undir Sandmúla in the equipment was also stored at outhouses of the re- highlands (the so called Sandmúli hoard) which spective farms. consists of 36 silver objects with a weight of 304 g The seasonal pattern of trade changed in the and which date to the later decades of the 10th cen- 15th century with the arrival first of the English tury (Eldjárn 2000, 373-375; Graham-Camp- and then German ships which appeared in the late bell 2005; Vésteinsson et al. 2014) (Fig. 8). spring and departed before the onset of autumn. It The famous hoard from Gaulverjabær is an example 46 Weight and Value • Vol. 2 • 2021 Weight&Value02.indb 46 19.02.21 11:46 Coinless exchange and foreign merchants in medieval Iceland (AD 900-1600) of an Icelandic find that consists mostly of coins or peace” (ON kaupgrið) was established, a common pFig. 9. Detail of Carta coin fragments, 356 in total (495 g). Of these, 172 practice during the Viking period and Middle Marina from 1539 showing are Anglo-Saxon coins minted in England, with Ages throughout northern Europe to protect both armed ships from Ham- an end date of c. 1002/03, 160 in northern Ger- clients and traders. This may have been done in burg, Scotland, Bremen many, with an end date to c. 1010. The rest stems Iceland too. The term ON grið denoted an agreed and Lübeck off the southern from Scandinavia and Ireland, and four Kufic coins peaceful relationship between merchants and pur- coast of Iceland (Wikipedia underline the far-reaching contacts of the hoard’s chasers (Semple et al. 2020, 234). Commons). owner (Eldjárn 2000, 425; Holt 2003). The The security of trade did not necessarily improve reasons for their depositions remain obscure. As after Iceland put itself under Norwegian control. mentioned above, foreign coins were used to pay The Norwegian and later Danish crowns lacked any for land, or in connection with customary law, but effective means of enforcing their authority in Ice- not used for merchandise (Gullbekk 2011, 184- land or keeping the peace. Quarrels and disputes, 186; Ekengren/Domeji Lundborg 2015). also those relating to foreign trade, were brought to the assemblies (see below). The Icelandic officials made judgement and then reported to the Norwe- Security, risk and the legal system gian and later Danish king. This may have served for minor matters, but when the English merchants Security decided to flout Norwegian authority, as they did The Icelandic sagas, like any good story, give a in the 15th century, it was difficult for the governors dramatic and presumably unrealistic view of every- to enforce their authority. In the early 16th centu- day life. According to the sagas, merchants were ry, the nature of the struggle over power in Iceland frequently killed, either due to blood vengenace changed character. The Danish authorities looked or as part of their trading business. Valla-Ljóts saga to the German merchants for their assistance with reports of Boðvarr, a merchant, who has been killed the unruly English, and that led to increasingly vio­ in an act of blood vengeance (Byock 1982, 267). lent disputes between the two groups of traders in Ljósvetninga saga tells of a Norwegian merchant Iceland. Without any effective state authority, mer- named Sigurðr who sold his goods to Solmundr. chants had to look to their own security. German However, Solmundr refused the payment and and English traders who came to Iceland very often subsequently Sigurðr was killed by Solmundr´s had a gunner on board their ships (Holterman brother (Byock 1982, 233). How often trading in press) and from the 15th century onwards many ventures ended in violence is impossible to ships were equipped with firearms (Fig. 9). As determine from these accounts, but they must the struggle between German and English sailors reflect the risk that a misunderstanding or sharp intensified, the latter are said to have constructed practice might lead to the use of force. It has been a fortification in 1532 at Grindavík. It was subse- suggested that during the Commonwealth period quently stormed by German merchants who are foreign merchants were usually in possession of said to have killed many of the defenders (Þor- weapons, which implies that there was a lack of a steinsson 1957-1961, 80­ -82). Similarly, the sense of security ( Jakobsson 2007, 146). To pro- Scots were used by the Danish authorities against vide a safe ground for the act of trading, “market the English merchants who were established in the Weight and Value • Vol. 2 • 2021 47 Weight&Value02.indb 47 19.02.21 11:46 Natascha Mehler & Mark Gardiner Westman Isles (Vestmannaeyjar) in 1565.8 Lead In the first centuries of the Icelandic colony, the bullets excavated in the floor and walls of a booth bonds with Norway were especially strong due to at the coastal market place at Gautavík in the east the fact that most settlers had emigrated to Iceland of Iceland bear clear witness of violence at a trading from Norway and maintained their links with the station (Mehler et al. 2019, 261, 270). former home (Sigurðsson 2017). At a later date, foreigners that came to Iceland for trade were em- Cost, risk and insurance bedded in family and friendship networks in their Merchant voyages to Iceland were a high-risk, home countries. This has, for example, been inves- high-return enterprise. The greatest risk was the tigated for the Hanseatic world, where the trad- voyage outward and back, crossing the North At- ing companies were based on family bonds (i.  e. lantic, and written sources are plentiful which Selzer/Ewert 2010, 36-37). For the German describe the losses of ships and crews. It was not merchants in Iceland it was essential to trust their merely the weather which posed a hazard. As noted clients and maintain a good relationship, especial- above, hostile encounters with rival merchants or ly because, as noted above, the Icelanders either pirates posed a significant danger for merchants. paid for their goods in kind or established credit In spite of these risks, trading ships continued to (Holterman 2020, 168). set sail for Iceland, because the venture offered the It was inevitable that conflicts arose before, dur- prospect of considerable profit. In order to spread ing and after negotiations and meetings between the risk, German merchants and those from Eng- merchants and their clients. Foreigners in Iceland land formed groups or joint ventures to reduce fell under Icelandic jurisdiction and had to follow their individual investment and also placed their their laws and regulations. Grágás reveals that there merchandise in more than one ship to lessen the was parity in the way Icelanders and foreigners loss in the event that the ship went down or was were treated: “Laws are the same for our country- captured (Gardiner 2016, 88). Such groups have men as for foreigners.” (Dennis et al. 2000, 359). been mentioned above and were known in MLG as The Icelandic codes were particularly detailed in a maschup. These came into being to serve a specific the laws surrounding trade. They show both indi- goal and only for a limited period of time. The old- vidual Icelandic traits but also draw upon estab- er form was a wedderlinge for which no goals were lished measures from Norway, reflecting the fact defined. A few maschup contracts from the 16th that the Icelandic law codes are rooted in those of century have survived which show that city coun- Norway. Law cases were settled in Iceland and the cillors or burgomasters could also join such a group outcomes then reported to those kings. In case of (Holterman 2020, 329-337). Similar ventures the death of a foreign merchant in Iceland, Grágás were formed by English merchants, such as that established regulations for the inheritance (Ebel which financed the well-documented voyage of the 1977, 17-18). James of Dunwich in 1545 (Cooper 1939). The law cases took place at the local or main Much less is known about the operation of en- assemblies. The Icelandic assembly system ini- terprises at an earlier period. Norwegian merchants tially operated on three levels: at the top was the who traded with Iceland in the Commonwealth pe- altþing, followed by the quarter-þings and finally riod operated in trade alliances as well (ON félag) the local þings held in the spring and the autumn. in which several partners had a share of a ship and The alþing meetings were held at Þingvellir in the of the cargo. The owners were called ON stýrimenn. south-west and lasted two weeks and were held at Such groups were also formed between foreigners a set time each summer (Dennis et al. 1980, 57; and Icelanders. For example, the Laxdæla saga tells Semple et al. 2020, 184-186). The case of the mur- of the Icelander, Þorleikr Bollason who had a share dered Norwegian merchant Sigurðr, mentioned of a Norwegian ship (Ebel 1977, 16-17). above, was settled at the assembly. The killer, Sox- olf, Solmundr´s brother, was exiled for the rest of Trust and jurisprudence his life and Solmundr was outlawed for three years Trust was essential in the overseas trade. Friend- (Andersson/Miller 1989, 123-125; Semple ship was one of the bases of trust, but the more et al. 2020, 236). In the later medieval period, Ger- important basis was family relations, together with man merchants attended the altþing to settle dis- established traditions of merchants and merchants’ putes with the local authorities, with Icelanders or family visiting the same site, or area of Iceland. with other foreign merchants. In 1527, merchants Brothers, fathers and sons, cousins and wives (see from England, Hamburg and Bremen came there below) were often involved in joint overseas ven- to have their measures and weights confirmed tures. Throughout the medieval period, wealthy (Holterman 2020, 186-187). and powerful chieftains and their families formed The law of the crew´s home country was en- friendships with foreign merchants and these forced during the course of the voyage, so that the bonds were essential for international trade in Ice- Hanseatic maritime laws were applied on German land (Ebel 1977; Jakobsson 2007, 144-145). vessels. More generally, maritime law in northern Europe was largely based on the Laws of Oleron, 8 Calendar of the Manuscripts Preserved at Hatfield House, drawn up around 1200, according to which the 13, 70­-71. 48 Weight and Value • Vol. 2 • 2021 Weight&Value02.indb 48 19.02.21 11:46 Coinless exchange and foreign merchants in medieval Iceland (AD 900-1600) captain had to keep the peace amongst the sailors 2015, 275). However, sagas mention several cases and, if trouble arose, be their judge (Ward 2009, of women who took political actions on their own 104). However, there were many variations in the or divorced their husbands (Magnúsdóttir laws. Ships that arrived from Bergen or Trond- 2008, 46). To a large degree, their power and also heim, for example, had to use the trading laws their access to take part in the assemblies depended (ON biarkeyiarréttr) from their home towns. largely on their marital status (Semple et al. 2020, The effective operation of the ship required that 263). As we have heard above, women produced disputes which arose onboard had to be resolved the currency cloth named vaðmál, so it was women promptly. Sailors and merchants were able to set who quite literally made money, which might have up a ship þing while on board, and all decisions provided them with some power (Hayeur Smith made at that meeting were legally binding. Fines 2013, 738). that resulted from the verdicts were split in two: Women of higher rank may have been more in- one was given to the skipper, the other to the dependent. Aud the Deep-Minded (Auður djúpúð- group of sailors. The meeting held on board a ship ga Ketilsdóttir) was a powerful woman of the set- was held at the mast (ON við siglu) and it was tlement generation. She owned a ship and travelled symbolised by erecting a shield. However, such widely, including to Orkney ( Jesch 1991, 82-83) þing meetings were not confined to the ship it- and there is other written evidence that Icelandic self. They might be held in the harbour, or even at women were active in trade in Bergen ( Jesch the end of the landing bridge of the boat (ON við 2001, 60). brygg jusporðr) (Falk 1912, 5; Müller-Boysen Not much is known about the wives of for- 1990, 141-143). Íslendingabók reports of a case eign merchants and they rarely appear in written where Norwegians had chopped off the hand of a sources. For example, in the Hanseatic period, man named Skæring at the coastal marketplace of we know of merchant widows who took over the Gásir in Iceland (Miller 1990, 10). This seems business of their late husbands, when, for example, to have followed an ad hoc meeting in the har- their ships did not return from Iceland. In order to bour. Meetings in harbours or on ships adhered do that, it was not necessary to re-marry. In addi- to the practices in the section on the laws of the tion, the wives of merchants ran the business in the sea traders (ON farmannalög) in the biarkeyiar- home ports while their husbands were in Iceland réttr which regulated urban life and overseas trade (Holterman 2020, 368-370). Written sources (Müller-Boysen 1990, 117-121; Strauch also indicate that in a few instances German mer- 2011, 166-176; Semple et al. 2020, 236). chant wives sailed to Iceland and even owned a ship (Holterman 2020, 369). Without their company, German merchants had relationships The role of women in trade with Icelandic women although this was prohibit- ed, at least in the second half of the 16th century. It is hard to tell what role women had in trade Relationships that led to marriage were permitted. in Iceland. The written sources at hand most- For example, Hamburg merchant Henrik Gerkens ly mention men, and the interpretation of the Hannesson married an Icelandic woman, Jarþrúður archaeologi­cal record is equally biased in this re- Bjarnanóttir Sumarliðarsonar, but it is not known spect. However, a couple of glimpses can be found. whether she then took part in his trading business As mentioned above, the Icelandic term for a mer- (Koch 1995, 60). chant or trader is kaupmaðr or farmaðr but in ON maðr can mean both a man, or a human being in general, including women. From saga literature we Conclusion know of wandering salespeople (ON mangari), a role which – in theory – could also include women. Trade with Iceland operated in an effective man- As mentioned above, they sold goods they made ner from the settlement of the country until the themselves or had bought on farms, or which they establishment of the commercial monopoly by the had bought from foreign merchants at the trading Danish authority in the early 17th century. How- sites. Njáls saga tells of Mord Valgardsson who re- ever, as the trade grew in importance economi­ ports of wandering saleswomen who travelled the cally, the power to regulate and manage it moved districts with haberdashery (ON smávaring). The progressively to higher authorities. It slipped away implication of the text is that these women were of from the chieftains, to the þing and then out of the lower social stratum (Ebel 1977, 4). Icelandic control to the Norwegian and Danish The role of women in Iceland seems to have de- kings. The Danish monopoly of the 17th century, pended considerably on whether they were married although mercantilist in conception, was simply a or not, and this applied equally to their involve- further stage in the close regulation of trade which ment in trading business. For example, according had applied from the outset. to Grágás, a woman was allowed to sell goods at Trade was so important, both economically and the markets, but only if her husband was unable socially, to life in Iceland that it had to be managed to come and had given her permission (Carter to ensure that it provided benefits for all parties. Weight and Value • Vol. 2 • 2021 49 Weight&Value02.indb 49 19.02.21 11:46 Natascha Mehler & Mark Gardiner Internally, the production of commodities for trade Boulhosa 2005 had to be regulated, because the exchange system Boulhosa, P. P., Icelanders and the Kings of Nor- was built around items of common value. The basis way: Mediaeval Sagas and Legal Texts. The Northern of coinless exchange was that it was possible to stand- World 17 (Leiden 2005). ardise Icelandic items, whether cloth or fish, to act as Boulhosa 2010 a system of measure of value. Imported commodities Boulhosa, P. P., Of fish and ships in medieval Iceland. could then be measured against these standards. In: S. Imsen (ed.), The Norwegian Domination and Regulation underpinned every aspect of the trad- the Norse World c. 1100-c. 1400. Trondheim Studies ing system, since value could not be determined in in History (Trondheim 2010) 175-199. the market. This was advantageous for the incom- Burwash 1947 ing merchants. Even though price-setting might Burwash, D., English Merchant Shipping 1460-1540 take place each year, the merchants knew the broad (Toronto 1947). value of goods and could assess the profitability of Byock 1982 the distant market on Iceland. 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Weight and Value • Vol. 2 • 2021 53 Weight&Value02.indb 53 19.02.21 11:46 Natascha Mehler & Mark Gardiner Traustadóttir et al. 2011 Þorláksson 1991 Traustadóttir, R., Guðmundsdóttir, L., Eine- Þorláksson, H., Vaðmál og verðlag: Vaðmál í utan- brant Svensson, J., Carter, T., Kolkuós í Skagafirði: landsviðskiptum og búskap Íslendinga á 13. og 14. Framvinduskýrsla – excavation report 2011 (Hólar öld (Reykjavík 1991). 2011). Available online, https://www.academia. Þorláksson 2010 edu/11979467/Kolku%C3%B3s_%C3%AD_ Þorláksson, H., King and commerce: The foreign Ska­g afir%C3%B0i_Framvindusk%C3%BDrsla_ trade of Iceland in medieval times and the impact of Excavation_report_2011 (accessed 15.12.2020). royal authority. In: S. Imsen (ed.), The Norwegian Trigg et al. 2009 Domination and the Norse World c. 1100-c. 1400. Trigg, H. B., Bolender, D. J., Johnson, K. M., Pata- Trondheim Studies in History (Trondheim 2010) lano, M. D., Steinberg, J. 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Vésteinsson et al. 2014 Addresses of the authors Vesteinsson, O., Church, M., Dugmore, A., McGov- ern, Th., Newton, A., Expensive errors or rational Natascha Mehler choices: The pioneer fringe in late Viking Iceland. Eberhard-Karls-Universität Tübingen European Journal of Post-Classical Archaeologies 4, Institut für Ur- und Frühgeschichte und Archäo­ 2014, 39-68. logie des Mittelalters Ward 2009 Schloss Hohentübingen Ward, R., The World of the Medieval Shipmaster: 72070 Tübingen Law, Business and the Sea, c. 1350-1450 (Wood- Germany bridge 2009). Wickler 2016 natascha.mehler@uni-tuebingen.de Wickler, S., Medieval shipwrecks from North Nor- way and their contribution to understanding mari- time interaction and trade. International Journal of Mark Gardiner Nautical Archaeology 45, 1, 2016, 59-76. School of History and Heritage Þorkelsson 2004 College of Arts Þorkelsson, M., Í Hvalfirði: Miðaldahöfn og hlutverk University of Lincoln hennar (MA thesis Háskoli Íslands/University of Ice- UK land 2004). Þorláksson 1978 mgardiner@lincoln.ac.uk Þorláksson, H., Comments on ports of trade in early medieval Europe. Norwegian Archaeological Review 11, 1978, 112-114. 54 Weight and Value • Vol. 2 • 2021 Weight&Value02.indb 54 19.02.21 11:46 Technologies of trade in western Asia in the Middle Bronze Age by Gojko Barjamovic Mesopotamia, Anatolia, Bronze Age, cuneiform, merchants, trade infrastructure The exceptional survival of a large body of commercial archives from the site of Kültepe in modern-day Turkey reflect a system of traders and their commercial transactions during the Bronze Age. The detailed records allow scholars to reconstruct the physical and commercial infrastructures and technologies used by the traders and their contemporaries, and to give a relatively detailed picture of the ‘tools of the trade’ – including writing im- plements, weights and balances, containers, vehicles and more. The merchant accounts provide the documenta- tion of one trade route and its auxiliaries, and a single solid dataset for postulating the existence of several such high-intensity trans-regional commercial circuits across western Asia just after 2000 BC. Handelstechnologien in Westasien während der Mittelbronzezeit Mesopotamien, Anatolien, Bronzezeit, Keilschrift, Händler, Handelsinfrastruktur Textarchive zu Handelsaktivitäten vom Fundplatz Kültepe in der heutigen Türkei, die außergewöhnlich gut erhalten sind und in großer Anzahl vorliegen, spiegeln ein System von Händlern und ihren kommerziellen Transaktionen während der Bronzezeit wider. Die detaillierten Aufzeichnungen ermöglichen es Fachwissen- schaftlern, die physisch erhaltene und kommerziell erschließbare Infrastruktur sowie die Technologie zu rekon- struieren, die von den Händlern und ihren Zeitgenossen genutzt wurden. Somit kann ein relativ detaillier­tes Bild der „Werkzeuge des Handels“ gewonnen werden – einschließlich der Schreibgeräte, Gewichte und Waa- gen, Behältnisse, Fahrzeuge und vielen anderen Dingen. Die Abrechnungen der Händler ermöglichen die Dokumentation einer Haupthandelsroute und von Nebenrouten. Die Texte stellen einen einzigartigen und soliden Datensatz dar, um die Existenz mehrerer solcher stark genutzter transregionaler Handelskreisläufe durch Westasien kurz nach 2000 v. Chr. zu postulieren. Weight and Value • Vol. 2 • 2021 55 Weight&Value02.indb 55 19.02.21 11:46 Gojko Barjamovic The Old Assyrian commercial system is the A number of factors appear to have been decisive best-documented example of a long-distance to the way this commercial system was formed and trade network (Fig. 1) surviving from the Bronze came to function. These include 1) a network of Age (Barjamovic 2018). The term ‘Old As- international agreements regulated by treaty where syrian’ refers to a historical period c. 1950-1750 cities along the routes would levy taxes in return BCE in Northern Iraq and Turkey, as well as the for a guaranteed safety of passage as an alternative linguistic stage and material culture associated to insurance; 2) a physical infrastructure that al- with it (Lar­sen 2015). In archaeological terms, lowed the movement of people and goods in great it is coterminous with the early Middle Bronze quantity, including paved roads, bridges, guarded Age in Turkey (Kulakoğlu 2011). Geograph- passes and political borders; 3) a surplus capital ically, it is focused on the archaeological site of and workforce in the area travelled by the traders; Kültepe near the modern­-day Turkish city of 4) a network of permanent settlements of Assyrian Kayseri (Özgüç 2003). More than seventy sea- agents to handle and sell the goods; and 5) a system sons of archaeologi­cal excavations at the site have of communications that allowed the movement of unearthed the remarkable remains of a thriving information through space. Bronze Age city that bore the ancient name of Traffic was measured in several hundred donkey-­ Kanesh. The settlement probably covered an area loads per year (Stratford 2017, 291-315). of at least 150 ha (Barjamovic 2014). It con- Commerce was built on established procedures sisted of an acropolis with temples and palatial and allowed the formation of long-term partner- structures (Fig. 1a,A), surrounded by a lower ships and the settling of permanent commercial town with compact industrial and residential agents abroad (Larsen 1977). The system had quarters (Fig. 1a,B-F) en­closed by a fortification seemingly evolved from an earlier venture trade in wall. An estimated 20,000 people lived in the which single caravans journeyed to market cities city. So far, archaeologists have unearthed 9 ha of in commercial one-off investments (Barjamovic narrow winding streets, small squares, and more et al. 2012, 62). It reverted to venture trade after than a hundred multi-­storied houses (Fig. 1b). less than a century of agent-based commerce, now The settlement was destroyed in a conflagration between two separate, but linked communities of around 1840 BCE, thus sealing a generation of traders in Assur and Anatolia connected by a pro- houses under burnt rubble and preserving its re- fessional class of transporters. The main bulk of mains for posterity. our documentation dates to a single generation of In addition to its local population, Kanesh traders from the period of agent-based commerce was home to a merchant colony of about a thou- (Barjamovic et al. 2012, 75-78). sand people (Barjamovic et al. 2012, 60) The Assyrian term for a trader was the dever- from the oligarchic city-state of Assur on the bal noun tamkārum, derived from makārum ‘to Tigris River in modern-day Iraq a 1,000 km to trade’. No distinction was made between creditors, the south (Larsen 2000). They were engaged traders, merchants, or retail-sellers. Their native in an extensive overland trade in raw metals, language was a northern dialect of Akkadian that wool, and luxury textiles (Veenhof 2008a). would likely have been intelligible to most people Their settlement at Kanesh was the main hub living south of the Taurus and Zagros mountains for three-dozen additional ports of trade spread between the Persian Gulf and the Mediterranean across Central and Southern Anatolia (Barja­ Sea. The region of Central Anatolia where the men movic 2011). of Assur went to trade was linguistically more di- The Old Assyrian commercial system is docu- verse with speakers of at least the two distinct Indo­ mented through a corpus of 23,500 merchant re- European languages Hittite and Luwian, as well cords written on clay tablets (Fig. 2) excavated in the as the unrelated isolates of Hurrian and Hattian private archives of the houses at Kültepe (Michel (Garelli 1963). Texts rarely make reference to in- 2003). This material offers detailed insight into the terpreters, and it seems that the foreign traders for way large commercial structures could function the most part relied on their own skills of commu- over long distances. The closest structural parallels nication. All three named interpreters attested in to these records are found in the medieval town the corpus bore Assyrian names (Veenhof 2008a, archives of the North Italian city-states and in the 224). Just one text refers to an individual capable of Cairo Geniza (Larsen 1976, 92-97). reading in a foreign language.1 The trade was based on long-term free stock en- Several systems of weight, measurement, and nu- terprises and financed by private capital managed meracy were in use in Central Anatolia (Zaccag- by risk-based and profit-seeking individuals. Trad- nini 2000; Dercksen 2016). Texts distinguish ers made use of silver bullion and bearer’s checks the common Mesopotamian unit of weight from as means of payment (Veenhof 1997). They en- the ‘stone of the Land,’ (Dercksen 1996, 86), gaged states and individuals across several cultural ‘the palace’ (Bilgiç 1998, 477), and other local and linguistic zones, and managed their exchange units (Erol 2016). The latter includes the ‘stone of across diverse systems of measurement, including weight, quality, and calendars. 1 AKT 8.271: You must give the tablet to a scribe who knows Hurrian so that he can read it. 56 Weight and Value • Vol. 2 • 2021 Weight&Value02.indb 56 19.02.21 11:46 Technologies of trade in western Asia in the Middle Bronze Age tFig. 1. Map of the Assyr- ian ports and stations, and the routes connecting them ca. 1870 BC. The exact location of many of these places is disputed. The map also shows the principal goods and their directional- ity in the system: commod- ities entering, circulating, and leaving the part of the trade network managed by the merchants from Assur (Barjamovic 2011). Weight and Value • Vol. 2 • 2021 57 Weight&Value02.indb 57 19.02.21 11:46 Gojko Barjamovic see Fig. 2b Fig. 2a. Site plan of Purushaddum,’ a city that appears to have been lo- the base currency (Dercksen in this volume). Kültepe, ancient Kanesh. cated on the western margin of the Assyrian net- Amorphous materials were evaluated primarily The extent of the site has not work and which, also collected its taxes using the for their material value, as opposed to quality, been systematically investi- decimal system (Barjamovic 2011, 375-376). At craft, or the time that went into making them gated. A conservative esti- Kanesh, taxes were calculated in the sexagesimal (Dercksen 2016). That said, a range of quali­fiers mate is represented by the system that originated in Mesopotamia. were used to distinguish qualities of wool, textile, broken line (Barjamovic We know too little about other measuring units and metal. These include geographical origin, 2014). to make regional distinctions, but may note that adjectives referring to color, bonity, purity, and the Assyrians and the locals agreed on standards shape (Lassen 2010; Michel/Veenhof 2010; of value, with silver and gold bullion serving as Erol 2019). 58 Weight and Value • Vol. 2 • 2021 Weight&Value02.indb 58 19.02.21 11:46 Technologies of trade in western Asia in the Middle Bronze Age Scales and weights were used for weighing out later abrasions complicate matters (Kulakoğlu Fig. 2b. Close-up of area trade objects and metal currency. Texts refer to 2017). B shown on Fig. 1a. A com- quantities down to half-grains.2 This corresponds Merchants brought their own weights to Kanesh plete plan of excavations is to 1⁄360 of a shekel or about 23 mg and presum­ where they are often found in houses and tombs. not available, but the image ably is far below the tolerance of the weights used Caravan leaders and other itinerant merchants compiles all published infor- in physical weighing. Such references probably presumably had to carry weights and probably also mation. Walls of domestic therefore always relate to fictive (currency) values, scales during their journeys as they were required houses shown in black. Paved and not physical amounts. The study by Powell to weigh out precise and always varying payments streets are dark grey. Grey (1979, 83) of Mesopotamian metrology found for tolls, inns, and other transport expenditures areas were excavated but that ‘Mesopotamian weights tolerated an inaccu- (Barja­movic 2011, 11-26). A particular sum not published. House plans racy of about 3 % of the mass of the object being called the ‘hand tin’ was set aside for this purpose highlighted in red contained weighed,’ which would seem to accord with the as a proportion of each shipment leaving Assur archives that can be attribut- excavated examples from Kanesh (Dercksen (Veenhof 1972, 257-346). Copper was often ed to merchants coming from 2016). The existence of several weight systems and used as means of payment inside Anatolia. Silver Assur. Those in purple repre- on the return trip to Assur. sent local archives. Those in 2 AKT 3:93, 9: 31 ma-na 14 1⁄3 GÍN 7 1⁄2 ŠE KÙ.BABBAR- Weights come in all shapes and sizes, including yellow are not attributable áp-šu and Kt n/k 250, 12-16: 1⁄2 GÍN 22 1⁄2 ŠE KÙ.BABBAR simple geometric forms and complex animal shapes (Hertel 2014). … i-ri-ha-am. Weight and Value • Vol. 2 • 2021 59 Weight&Value02.indb 59 19.02.21 11:46 Gojko Barjamovic (Kulakoğlu 2017). Surviving examples are fash- with determining their total assets and liquidity ioned out of various types of hard stone and lead. (Barjamovic et al. 2012, 72-73). Weights shaped like ducks or frogs are of Meso- An extensive infrastructure was the prerequisite potamian origin. Scale pans of bronze have been for operating the trade, even if direct references to recovered from the houses at Kültepe (Kulakoğ- such infrastructure are rare in the textual and mate- lu 2017, 350) and their use is illustrated in scenes rial record (Barjamovic 2018). The term ‘infra- carved on seals. No weight beams have been iden- structure’ is used here in a broad sense to include A) tified so far. political infrastructure (moderating institutions, Data on Assyrian weights and their manipula- state treaties, security, and taxation); B) industrial tion in the textual record were studied by Veen- infrastructure (for the production of food, tools, hof (1972) and Dercksen (2016). The latter saddling, wrappings, breeding of donkeys, wagons, concluded that the majority of the weighing stones containers, timber, reed, ships, ropes, sails, other excavated in the lower town at Kanesh reflect the equipment); C) intellectual infrastructure (such as Assyrian standard based on a mina that was about financing, credit, agency, insurance, schooling, and 10 % heavier than the local Anatolian one. Most commercial technology); and D) physical infra- published weight stones range from 1⁄12 shekel to structure (roads, bridges, mountain passes, guard- 2 minas. The two heaviest examples weigh 4250 g posts, inns, and a postal system). and 5250 g respectively. One text mentions an As- syrian 10 mina weight, ešartum mana’um. A) Political infrastructure Verification must have taken place according to The Assyrian system was based on trading com- institutional standards with paradigms probably munities of private agents who maintained legal and stored in the Assyrian Port Office and in the main financial institutions independent from the society temple of Assur back home. Weights belonging to in which they settled (Veenhof 2008a). The po- certain individuals were known to be slightly off, litical scene in Anatolia and Northern Syria at this and were therefore used with a fixed calibration time was one of constant power struggles, warfare, (takīttum). Such inaccuracies caused particular and changing alliances between leagues of cities. problems when tiny amounts of silver or gold were The merchants frequently refer to the disruption weighed. By listing the specific weight stones used, of trade owing to conflict (Barjamovic 2011) a negative effect could be counteracted by using and the Assyrians ventured to protect and facili- the same stone again for a later return on the same tate their businesses by creating a network of sworn transaction. The collection by Dercksen (1996, agreements with local rulers (Veenhof 2013). In 85-86) of known calibrations show that deviations return for the permission to found colonies with ranged between 0.4 % and 2.1 % with a median of extra-territorial rights, as well as the protection of 1.1 %. passing caravans, the traders offered revenues and Inaccuracies in weighing seem to have ranged the right of pre-emption on their merchandise at well below issues of quality control, particularly favorable prices. In areas where fully formed states of the precious metals. Without coinage or a guar- did exist, the interaction between state institutions antee of purity, accepted payments made in metal and trade appears to have been symbiotic and often would to some extent have to rely on trust. Letters a politically creative force. occasionally report on cases were metal was smelt- ed in order to determine its purity. Exchange rates B) Industrial infrastructure between metals were based on perceived notions of Various industries would have existed to support quality and were fairly standardized. Local varia- the trade in Assyria. Only indirect evidence for trade tions created the arbitrage pursued by the traders. exists in the surviving records, but their existence Knowledge of qualities, exchange rates and fluc- must be taken for granted on the basis of the extant tuating market prices are occasionally reported in sources. For instance, the texts from Kültepe show the correspondence and many be assumed to have that most of the donkeys used to carry the goods been a standard part of a trader’s knowledge. Such from Assur were sold along with their equipment knowledge was backed by training in numeracy once the merchandise reached its final destination a standardized vocabulary found in a handful of in Anatolia. With hundreds or even thousands of school-texts from Kültepe and in Assur (Barja­ animals in demand each year, there must have been movic 2015). Training in basic numeracy and an extensive industry of donkey breeders and train- literacy included the introduction to a standard ers, tanners, rope makers, harness makers, saddle phraseology of objects, qualities and transactions, makers and smiths catering to the traders for whom as well as mastering fraction arithmetic and cal- information is otherwise scarce. Similar supporting culations of cumulative interest. A high degree of industries would have existed elsewhere for the pro- standardization in format, sealing practices, ductus, duction of bitumen, reed and timber for shipbuild- genre and style across the corpus suggests a high ing, or for wheelwrights and cart makers. And final- degree of uniformity in the training. On the oth- ly, of course, the hundreds of luxury textiles sold each er hand, there seems to have been no standardized year required herding, plucking, spinning, coloring, form of bookkeeping, and traders often struggled weaving on an almost industrial scale. 60 Weight and Value • Vol. 2 • 2021 Weight&Value02.indb 60 19.02.21 11:46 Technologies of trade in western Asia in the Middle Bronze Age C) Intellectual infrastructure mentioned because their existence was taken for Fig. 3. Sealed clay tablets, The Assyrian trade was organised as a combina- granted by correspondents. The most important in- envelopes and seals from tion of family businesses and long-term commer- dication of paved or planed surfaces is indirect and Kültepe. Letters were often cial partnerships with outside financing. Numer- comes through references to heavy wagons used in enclosed in a sealed clay ous elements characteristic to Assyrian commercial the transport of copper. envelope to protect the pri- technology include financing, credit, agency, and Another key element in the physical infrastruc- vacy of the communication. insurance. ture included were the bridges and ferries crossing The name of the addressee Their agent-based trade required a high degree the numerous rivers of Anatolia. Bridges are gen- was written in front. Legal of functional literacy and numeracy so that close erally the weakest link in a road network, and they documents were likewise communications could be maintained across space cannot be built or efficiently sustained without enveloped and sealed to (Barjamovic 2015). It also led to the develop- skilled labor. They were expensive to construct and protect the contents. Both ment of a postal service by which caravan leaders, maintain and could function as gateways for ene- letters and legal records are agents, financers, and partners would communicate mies as well as traders. shown in this image (photo quickly and efficiently (Veenhof 2008c). In turn, Guard-posts located at bridges or along roads courtesy K. Wagensonner literacy and numeracy came to penetrate society travelled by the Assyrians are also recurring in the and the Yale Babylonian beyond the immediate purview of trade to also records. Their number and distribution suggests Collection). serve as a medium of communication and record- that barracks and forts must have been a common ing of information between women, slaves, and sight in the landscape. local Anatolians who were not involved directly in When passing through distant regions with commerce (see Fig. 3 for examples). heavy cargos, the Assyrian caravans depended upon inns laid out along the main routes (Fig. 1) of Ana- D) Physical infrastructure tolia and Syria for provisions. The Assyrian caravans Little is known about the building and upkeep did not carry their own food and the caravan lead- of roads, and, yet, such roads were a precondition er had to trust that the inns en route could provide for the large-scale commercial activities reflected in the provisions required by his group. Some inns are the records (Barjamovic 2011). Roads are rarely known to have offered stabling facilities and long- Weight and Value • Vol. 2 • 2021 61 Weight&Value02.indb 61 19.02.21 11:46 Gojko Barjamovic term storage. One could buy livestock there, or take But the overall pattern of mobility and the vol- on guides and packers. Inns were essential not only ume traded was by no means unique to the Assyri- for offering protection and provision, but provid- an corporation. We can trace these routes and their ed the necessary precondition for large caravans to development from the Early Broinze Age and argue travel at an acceptable speed. the gradual establishment of what was essentially a A caravan consisting of 500 donkeys and a com- multi-layered and multi-centered structure of inter- parable number of men would obviously have locking circuits, which, in spite of not being in direct required precise organisation: the animals alone touch, formed an interdependent organism in which would consume around 8 t of water per day, and events at one end affected conditions at the other the challenge of feeding them would have required (Barjamovic 2018). Developments in the material that detailed agreements were made beforehand record can be used to support the notion gained from with providers along the route. It is difficult to de- the Old Assyrian texts that commercial structures termine exactly how common inns were, but even built up during the late 3rd millennium primarily by small and rarely mentioned settlements in Anatolia state actors led to an explosion in the use of metal in and Northern Mesopotamia can be shown to have common households just after 2000 BC. had them. This implies that a constant and lively Records from Ebla dated to the 24th century BC traffic was the rule and shows that the inns must (Steinkeller in this volume) yield references to have depended on traffic other that the occasional huge amounts of silver that can only have origi­ Assyrian merchant. nated in Turkey (Ezer 2014; Kulakoğlu 2017; Services provided by inns were paid for in cash Barjamovic 2019), and it now seems clear that metal, and the flow of traders spending part of the rise of grand palatial buildings in Central Ana- their proceeds en route through Syria and Ana- tolia in the 25th century BC – including those at tolia, must have transformed the economy of the Yassıhöyük, Kültepe and Karahöyük – should region affected by the traffic. Each donkey would be linked to a dialectic development of political consume an average 3 kg of high quality fodder centralization and long-distance trade (Archi and 20 l of water each day. In Northern Syria, 2017). This picture fits with the growing corpus where hundreds of Assyrians and their donkeys of current research by Turkish archaeologists (Ṣa- passed each year, the demands for food and wa- hoğlu 2005; Efe 2007; Erarslan 2011; Sari ter of an inn catering to the caravans would have 2012), who track deep qualitative changes in set- equaled that of a village. Its presence must have tlement structure, pottery assemblages, routes and had notable consequences for local agricultural exchange patterns in the Euphrates Valley and production and networks of distribution. Manu- western Anatolia around this time. Records from facture would have been restructured to accom- Ebla listing tons of silver have serious implications modate the consumption, and the inns would for the politi­cal and economic infrastructure of have tied down part of the available local work the region that produced the metal. As in the Old force (on a seasonal basis at least) with a lasting Assyrian case, we must reconstruct a network of effect on the economy of the roadside communi- settlements, production sites, and polities able ties. It is important to note that none of these ef- to manage the mining, processing and transport fects on society are directly visible in the material (Winters 2018). or written record. But its very existence demands The centers that managed such operations can that they were present. not have been trivial players. During the late 3rd A characteristic trait of the Old Assyrian system millennium, Iran, Anatolia, Central Asia and the seems to be its high degree of political and eco- Gulf coalesced into powerful political and popu- nomic specialization, made up as part of a package lation centers in their own right. This allowed the that included technologies of collective gover­ formation of long distance overland and maritime nance, literacy, diplomacy, communication and fi- networks of exchange as well as the required extrac- nancing (Barjamovic 2018). This went hand in tion of metal on a hitherto unseen scale. hand with a developed system of agency and legal As shown by Rahmstorf (2011), the weight mediation (Hertel 2013). Commerce was built systems in use during the late 3rd millennium BC on private initiative, but dependent upon state sup- from the Aegean to the Indus, though following port and facilitation. The small size of the polity local standards, converged and were synchronized effectively meant that the same group of individu- with each other as a result of interconnected, large- als shared the roles of agents, financers and legis­ scale trade. The Assyrian caravan accounts provide lators. All actors were closely related in terms of the documentation of one trade route and its auxil- kinship, which meant that a system could be built iaries with a single solid dataset for postulating the on mutual trust instead of competition (Yoffee/ existence of a high-intensity trans-regional com- Barjamovic 2018). This allows us to define the mercial circuit just after 2000 BC. Its ‘weights and entire city-state of Assur as a single corporate entity merchants’ provide one singularly detailed early in external competition with a number of similarly example of exchange and convergence that is likely organised political units. to have been common in many of the ancient cases presented in this volume. 62 Weight and Value • Vol. 2 • 2021 Weight&Value02.indb 62 19.02.21 11:46 Technologies of trade in western Asia in the Middle Bronze Age APPENDIX Assur is entrusted to a named carrier. The vessel could be a gift from a merchant to his wife. The This appendix presents translations of seven metal represents currency and that can be used documents (Fig. 4), written on clay tablets in the to pay creditors (in this case, 1 mina of silver was cuneiform script that come from archives belonging reserved for that purpose), cover living expenses, or to merchants from Assur in modern-day Iraq who to initiate a new trade cycle. A (sealed, enveloped) had settled at the site of Kültepe (the ancient city copy of this text would presumably follow the qFig. 4. Seven examples of of Kanesh) in Central Turkey. Originally, all seven shipment to its destination. cuneiform tablets belonging would probably have been enclosed in envelopes, to archives of merchants such as those seen in Fig. 3. Tablets a and b still have 5 minas from Aššur-imitti of silver – the import from Assur who had settled faint markings of the thin gauze textile that once tax is extra, and he (the transporter) has been at Kültepe. All seven tablets separated the tablet from the clay envelope. satisfied with his transport fee – and 2⁄3 mina of gold are now housed in the Yale The seven texts are selected to illustrate different – the import tax is extra, and he (the transporter) Babylonian Collection. aspects of the commercial ventures undertaken by has been satisfied with his transport fee – have been They represent a selection of foreign merchants, including the arrangement of placed as a bundle in a suppannum-vessel (made) of different types of texts relat- a transport of earnings from Anatolia to Assur, a silver weighing 26 shekels – the import tax is extra, ed to trade (Text a: trans- message from Assur notifying commercial agents and he (the transporter) has been satisfied with his port arrangement; Text in Kanesh of an approaching shipment, a copy of transport fee. 1 mina of silver – the import tax is b: notifying message; Text an account sent from commercial agents in Kanesh extra, and he (the transporter) has been satisfied c: account of a shipment; to their superiors in Assur about the sale of goods, with his transport fee – belongs to the creditor. Text d: a letter about smug- two commercial letters discussing matters of trade, All this I entrusted to Ikun-pia (as) witnessed by gling; Text e: a letter about and two legal documents relating to financial Ennam-Anum son of Amria (and) Aššur-urhi son marriage arrangements; disagreements between traders. The selection of Budadum. Text f: a legal testimony in constitutes a microcosm of the roughly 23,000 receipt of a loan; Text g: a such documents hitherto unearthed at Kültepe. Text b (BIN 4, 24) legal interrogation in front Message sent from Assur to notify agents in of witnesses. All seven texts Text a (BIN 4, 122) Kanesh of an inbound shipment. In accordance appear in translation in the Witnessed account that a transport consisting with regulations, the tin in the shipment is said Appendix (photo courtesy of silver, gold and a vessel going from Anatolia to to be under seal, except for the part reserved for K. Wagensonner). Weight and Value • Vol. 2 • 2021 63 Weight&Value02.indb 63 19.02.21 11:46 Gojko Barjamovic costs on the road. The consignment is modest (ca. were cleared of excise tax and preemption I deposited 70 kg) and carried by a single donkey. It seems to the 8 dark textiles used in packing on your account have formed part of a larger consignment led by in the Port Office. Aššur-rei deposited the remainder. Uṣur-ša-Aššur; the authors state that if he were Out of the 5 1⁄2 minas of silver that I owe you 2⁄3 mina to decide to bring goods with him further west to 6 shekels is a penalty. I paid it (lit.: weighed it) out Purušhaddum (after declaring them at Kanesh), of your tin and your textiles in the Port Office. The their part of the shipment can continue with him. remainder of your silver (coming down to) 4 2⁄3 minas Records show that one could expect higher profits 4 shekels is in my charge. There is a šitapkum-deposit by doing so, but at the price of an increased travel in the Port Office, and so I held back your silver, say- time. There are letters, which instruct agents to sell ing: ‘The … shall not drink water off (i. e. leech on) shipments immediately upon arrival in Kanesh for their backs.’ speedy return and reinvestment in Assur. Text d (BIN 4, 48): commercial letter From Aššur-imitti and Šu-Hubur to Pušu-ken, Private letter giving detailed instructions on how Amur-Šamaš son of Mišar-rabi, and Kurub-Ištar. to smuggle a shipment either by sending it via a 130 minas of sealed tin, 10 minas of ‘hand tin’ ( for smuggler’s route (harrān suqinnim) or by bringing expenses on the road), 4 dark textiles ( for) packing, the goods into town in a covert fashion without de- a black donkey and its harness, all of this Uṣur-ša- claring it to the authorities. The letter is incomplete Aššur son of Aššur-bel-awatim is leading to you. If and a second tablet is missing. The author feels he Uṣur-ša-Aššur (wants) to enter Purušhaddum, then is wasting his time waiting for the tin while there is give him the tin and the textiles, let him take it into a profit to be made on the market. He promises his Purušhaddum and convert it to silver, and then let associates a favorable return on the goods if only him bring the silver to me with his (own return) ship- they hurry up and follow his surreptitious scheme. ment. To Puzur-Aššur, Ṭāb-ṣilli-Aššur, Aššur-bani, Text c (BIN 4, 29) Adad-bani and Ikun-paša from Buzazu. There is no Account in the form of a letter from an agent sta- tin here for inspection with our copper. If Aššur-bani tioned in Kanesh to his superiors in Assur; these are is there on the day that you hear my letter, consult the same individuals who sent Text B in the oppo- with each other and let them travel on to Timelkiya site direction. A detailed breakdown of taxes levied to get to my merchandise; and if the Narrow Track by the royal household at Kanesh upon the arrival is safe, my tin and my textiles of good quality – as and declaration of the shipment is followed by note much as he had brought to me ( from Assur) – should on the return transport of the proceeds (see Text come to me with a caravan on the Narrow Track. If 1). The text employs fairly precise measurements, (smuggling on) the Narrow Track is not feasible, they down to 1⁄3 shekel (c. 2.8 g). It records a substantial should have the tin sent to Hurama and let either ‘underweight’ (c. 3 %) of goods upon arrival. One some natives of Hurama bring in all the tin in quan- may speculate about possible the reasons for this, tities of 1 talent each into town, or else let them make including theft, erroneous reporting, and discrep- packets of 10-15 minas each, and then let the per- ancies in scales. sonnel bring them (the packages) in (to town) inside their clothes. Let them deliver 1 talent safely, then let To Aššur-imitti son of Ennam-Anum from Pušu- them return and bring another talent in. Send me kēn. 5 talents and 20 minas (c. 160 kg) was your de- the first tin that arrives safely with the first shipment clared value (of the shipment when it was sealed and in the exact moment that it arrives. If Aššur-bani is left Assur). 5 2⁄3 minas and 5 shekels per (talent) were not headed this way, then let Adad-bani and Kisha- the road fees for (the journey) to Kanesh. 30 2⁄3 minas nuil come with the tin and send my two servants on (in total) accrued as fees. 15 shekels were the head tax to Purušhaddum. Dear fathers and lords: pay heed on the (donkey) driver. 1⁄2 mina was the transport cost to my message concerning my goods in Timelkiya and in the mountains. 1⁄2 mina for … (and) sustenance for do me a favor by letting the tin enter here by the Nar- the driver. 8 minas were the excise tax of the palace. row Track or by smuggling and then I will be able 11 1⁄3 minas was the underweight of your containers to favor you. I will be wasting time here until they and ‘hand tin.’ I have deducted 51 minas 15 shekels bring me the tin. There is a market for tin here. Take as expenses out of the 4 talents and 40 minas that in- notice and grant me a big favor. Assign them (i. e. the clude ‘hand-tin’ so that 3 ta­lents 48 2⁄3 minas 5 shekels tin bundles) to me, and at least 1 mina of silver will of your tin was cleared (of taxes in the palace). There- materialize (as profit). If you … of: Ili-alum took 1 talent and Lulu took 1 talent, 2 minas 15 shekels at 9 shekels (of silver per mina), Text e (BIN 6, 104) so that 6 5⁄6 minas 5 shekels is your silver. Thereof: I A private letter from a trader to a prospective paid 6 2⁄3 minas 8 1⁄3 shekels as transport fees to Ku- wife. The text illustrates the practical nature of mar- rub-Ištar under my seal. Kurub-Ištar is bringing it to riage and the alludes to the negotiation between you. 1 talent 46 1⁄2 minas of the tin that was cleared is two families. The trade on Anatolia to a large part in my possession. Out of your 10 kutānu-textiles that operated on the basis of trust, and family relations 64 Weight and Value • Vol. 2 • 2021 Weight&Value02.indb 64 19.02.21 11:46 Technologies of trade in western Asia in the Middle Bronze Age were one of the foundations of such trust. In addi- I question you on behalf of the son of the deceased. tion, marriage was about maintaining a household. Did or didn’t Sueyya leave you 40 minas of silver While the men were highly mobile as a function for safekeeping? Answer me before these (witnesses).’ of their involvement in the trade, women were less Ennam-Aššur said: ‘You have (already) made up itinerant as they looked after the house and family. your mind. I will take counsel for a couple of days and That is not to say that women did not travel often: then I will answer you.’ The plenary assembly of the there are plenty of records to show that they did. Port of Purušhaddum brought us (to witness) these But they are also often seen to act as key agents for words, and we gave our testimony before the weapon the family and its home base in relation to credi- of divine Aššur. Witnessed by Uṣur-ša-Aššur son of tors, legal and religious authorities. Akuwa, Buzia son of Bazaza, Aššur-muttabbil son of Šu-Bēlum. From Puzur-Aššur to Nuhšatum. Your father wrote to me about marrying you, and so I sent out my servants and my message to your father about you Bibliography and your departure. Please, on the day you hear my tablet, turn to your father there and set out and come Archi 2017 here with my servants. I am alone. There is noone Archi, A., Metals in third millennium B.C. Stand- who stands by my head and noone who sets the table point Ebla. In: F. Kulakoğlu/G. Barjamovic (eds.), for me. If you do not come with my servants, I will Proceedings of the 2nd Kültepe International Meet- marry a girl from Wahšušana in Wahšušana. [The ing. Kültepe, 26-30 July 2015. Studies Dedicated remainder of the letter is broken, but the author urges to Klaas Veenhof. Kültepe International Meetings 2 Nuhšatum to hurry up and come to him]. (Turnhout 2017) 163-172. Barjamovic 2011 Text f (BIN 4, 111) Barjamovic, G., Historical Geography of Anatolia in A brief legal record which confirms that a debt the Old Assyrian Colony Period. Carsten Niebuhr has been paid out to the creditor’s representative in Institute Publications 38 (Copenhagen 2011). front of a witness appointed by the Port in Kanesh. Barjamovic 2014 The text speaks to a spatially flexible system of trade Barjamovic, G., The size of Kanesh and the demogra- and credit guaranteed by witnesses provided by phy of early Middle Bronze Age Anatolia. In: L. Ati­ impartial institutions. The seizing of the hem is a ci/F. Kulakoglu/G. Barjamovic/A. Fairbairn (eds.), symbolic action that marks the initiation of legal Current Research in Kültepe/Kanesh: An Interdisci- action. plinary and Integrative Approach to Trade Networks, Internationalism, and Identity during the Middle Aššur-ṭab seized the hem of Aššur-rabi’s garment Bronze Age. Journal of Cuneiform Studies, Supple- and Aššur-ṭāb said: ‘Regarding the 21 1⁄2 shekels of mental Series 4 (Bristol 2014) 55-68. silver that you owe to my investor Aššur-lamassi: give Barjamovic 2015 me silver.’ Aššur-rabi weighed out 21 1⁄2 shekels of sil- Barjamovic, G., Contextualizing tradition: Incan- ver to Aššur-ṭāb. Aššur-rabi said: ‘Thus you took the tations, writing and domestic life in Old Assyrian 21 1⁄2 shekels of silver for your investor Aššur-lamassi.’ Kanesh. In: P. Delnero/J. Lauinger (eds.), Texts and Aššur-ṭāb said: ‘I took it.’ The Port of Kanesh brought Contexts: The Circulation and Transmission of Cu- me (as a witness) for these words, and I gave my tes- neiform Texts in Social Space. Studies in Ancient timony before the emblem of divine Aššur. Witnessed Near Eastern Records 9 (Berlin 2015) 48-86. by Iddin-Šamaš son of Dalaš. Barjamovic 2018 Barjamovic, G., Interlocking commercial networks Text g (BIN 4, 105) and the infrastructure of trade in Western Asia during A legal record of a brief exchange between liti- the Bronze Age. In: K. Kristiansen/T. Lindkvist/J. gants in a court before witnesses appointed by the Myrdal (eds.), Trade and Civilisation. Economic Net- plenary assembly of the Port of traders from Assur in works and Cultural Ties from Prehistory to the Early Purušhaddum. A merchant has died and his heir is Modern Era (Cambridge 2018) 113-142. in the process of establishing the range of his father’s Barjamovic 2019 outstanding claims. Legal testimonies such as this Barjamovic, G., Silver, markets and long-distance could be presented later in the legal process in lieu of trade in the Konya region, 2400-1700 bce. In: Ç. the key witnesses themselves, who could be expect- Maner (ed.), Crossroads – Kavşaklar. 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PIHANS 128 (Leiden 2016). Michel 2003 Efe 2007 Michel, C., Old Assyrian Bibliography of Cuneiform Efe, T., The theories of the ‘Great Caravan Route’ Texts, Bullae, Seals and the Results of the Excavations between Cilicia and Troy: The Early Bronze Age III at Aššur, Kültepe/Kaniš, Acemhöyük, Alişar and Bo- period in inland Western Anatolia. Anatolian Studies gazköy. Old Assyrian Archives, Studies 1 = PIHANS 57, 2007, 47-64. 97 (Leiden 2003). Erol 2016 Michel/Veenhof 2010 Erol, H., Ina aban Usha and ina aban Karahna. In: S. Michel, C., Veenhof, K. R., The textiles traded by the Erkut/Ö. S. Gavaz (eds.), Eski Anadolu Araştırmaları- Assyrians in Anatolia (19th-18th centuries BC). In: C. na ve Hititlere Adanmış Bir Hayat. Studies in Honour Michel/M. L. Nosch (ed.), Textile terminologies in of Ahmet Ünal Armağani (İstanbul 2016) 225-234. the 3rd to 1st Millennium BC in the Ancient Near East Erol 2019 and Eastern Mediterranean. Ancient Textiles Series 8 Erol, H., Old Assyrian metal trade, its volume and (Oxford 2010) 209-269. interactions. Belleten 298, 2019, 779-806. Özgüç 2003 Ezer 2014 Özgüç, T., Kültepe–Kaniš/Neša: The Earliest Inter- Ezer, S., Kültepe-Kanesh in the Bronze Age. In: L. national Trade Center and the Oldest Capital City of Atıcı/F. Kulakoğlu/G. Barjamovic/A. Fairbairn the Hittites (Tokyo 2003). (eds.), Current Research in Kültepe/Kanesh: An Powell 1979 Interdisciplinary and Integrative Approach to Trade Powell, M. A., Ancient Mesopotamian weight me- Networks, Internationalism, and Identity during the trology: Methods, problems and perspectives. In: M. Middle Bronze Age. Journal of Cuneiform Studies, A. Powell/R. H. Sacks (eds.), Studies in Honor of Supplemental Series 4 (Bristol 2014) 5-23. Tom B. Jones. Alter Orient und Altes Testament 203 Garelli 1963 (Neukirchen-Vluyn 1979) 71-109. Garelli, P., Les Assyriens en Cappadoce. Bibliothèque Rahmstorf 2011 archéologique et historique de l’Institut Français Rahmstorf, L., Re-integrating ‘diffusion’: The spread d’Archéologie d’Istanbul 19 (Paris 1963). of innovations among the Neolithic and Bronze Hertel 2013 Age societies of Europe and the Near East. In: T. C. Hertel, T., Old Assyrian Legal Practices: Law and Wilkinson/S. Sherratt/J. Bennet (eds.), Interweaving Dispute in the Ancient Near East. Old Assyrian Ar- Worlds. Systemic Interactions in Eurasia, 7th to 1st Mil- chives, Studies 6 = PIHANS 123 (Leiden 2013). lennia BC. Papers from a Conference in Memory of Kulakoğlu 2011 Professor Andrew Sherratt (Oxford 2011) 100-119. Kulakoğlu, F., Kültepe-Kaneš: A second millennium Şahoğlu 2005 BCE. Trading center on the central plateau. In: S. Şahoğlu, V., The Anatolian trade network and the Steadman/G. MacMahon (eds.), The Oxford Hand- Izmir region during the Early Bronze Age. Oxford book of Ancient Anatolia (Oxford 2011) 1012-1030. 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Studies in An- syriology 4 (Copenhagen 1976). cient Near Eastern Records 17, 1 (Boston 2017). 66 Weight and Value • Vol. 2 • 2021 Weight&Value02.indb 66 19.02.21 11:46 Technologies of trade in western Asia in the Middle Bronze Age Veenhof 1972 Yoffee/Barjamovic 2018 Veenhof, K. R., Aspects of Old Assyrian Trade and its Yoffee, N., Barjamovic, G., Old Assyrian trade and Terminology. Studia et documenta ad iura Orientis economic history. In: K. Kleber/G. Neumann/S. antiqui pertinentia 10 (Leiden 1972). Paulus (eds.), Grenzüberschreitungen. Studien zur Veenhof 1997 Kulturgeschichte des Alten Orients. Festschrift für Veenhof, K. R., ‘Modern features’ in Old Assyrian Hans Neumann zum 65. Geburtstag am 9. Mai 2018. trade. Journal of the Economic and Social History of Dubsar 5 (Münster 2018) 815-824. the Orient 40, 1997, 333-366. Zaccagnini 2000 Veenhof 2008a Zaccagnini, C., A note on Old Assyrian weight Veenhof, K. R., The Old Assyrian period. In: K. R. stones and weight system. In: S. Graziani (ed.), Studi Veenhof/J. Eidem, Mesopotamia: The Old Assyrian sul Vicino Oriente Antico dedicati alla memoria di Period. Orbis biblicus et orientalis 160, 5 (Fribourg Luigi Cagni, vol. 2. Istituto Universitario Orientale, 2008) 15-265. Dipartimento di Studi Asiatici, Series minor 61 (Na- Veenhof 2008b ples 2000) 1203-1213. Veenhof, K. R., Communication in the Old Assyr- ian trading society. In: C. Michel (ed.), Old Assyri- an Studies in Memory of Paul Garelli. Old Assyrian Address of the author Archives, Studies 4 = PIHANS 112 (Leiden 2008) 199-246. Gojko Barjamovic Veenhof 2013 Department of Near Eastern Languages and Veenhof, K. R., New Mesopotamian treaties from the Civilizations early second millennium BC from kārum Kanesh and Harvard University Tell Leilan (Šehna). Zeitschrift für Altorientalische 6 Divinity Avenue, Cambridge, MA 02138 und Biblische Rechtsgeschichte 19, 2013, 23-58. USA Winters 2018 Winters, R., Negotiating Exchange: Ebla and the In- barjamovic@fas.harvard.edu ternational System of the Early Bronze Age (PhD dis­ sertation Harvard University 2018). Weight and Value • Vol. 2 • 2021 67 Weight&Value02.indb 67 19.02.21 11:46 68 Weight and Value • Vol. 2 • 2021 Weight&Value02.indb 68 19.02.21 11:46 The technology of medieval maritime trade An archaeological perspective on northern Germany and beyond by Felix Rösch Medieval archaeology, technology of trade, medieval trade, infrastructure, ancient topography, trading sites This paper aims to provide an overview of the archaeological references in respect of the technology of medieval maritime trade in northern Germany and, in the broader sense, northern Europe. In particular, the periods before detailed written sources in the 14th century dealing with trade are considered. The scope of the trading technologies considered here is not limited to currencies, instruments and watercraft, but explicitly focuses on the infrastructure and topography of the trading sites. In order to present the complex and changing technologies over the course of the Middle Ages, three different trading places are discussed. Each of which has been subject to outstanding archaeological investigations and which exemplify the situation of its time: the historic Reric (Groß Strömkendorf ) in the Wismar Bay, Schles­ wig at the Schlei and Lübeck. At Reric, an early medieval Seehandelsplatz, a relatively small long-distance trade is demonstrated. Although in its infancy there is evidence of systematic organisation and was most likely based on barter. As early as the end of the Early Middle Ages, the introduction of the silver weight-based currency system was a major in- novation. The further professionalisation of long-distance trade and the associated technological changes are demonstrated by the example of Schleswig, which was founded shortly after the middle of the 11th century. In Schleswig a waterfront topography tailored to needs of sea-borne trade was developed as well as several technolo­gies to control trading activities. Third, the latest findings from Lübeck illustrate the further change towards an urban topography and more effective technology, which reflect the new status of the largely inde- pendent and widely networked merchant. Die Technologie des maritimen Handels im Mittelalter. Eine archäologische Perspektive auf Norddeutschland und darüber hinaus Mittelalterarchäologie, Handelstechnologie, mittelalterlicher Handel, Infrastruktur, historische Topographie, Handelsplätze Diese Abhandlung zielt auf einen Überblick über die archäologischen Hinweise hinsichtlich der Technologie des mittelalterlichen maritimen Handels in Norddeutschland sowie Nordeuropas im weiteren Sinne. Dabei finden besonders die Perioden vor dem Einsetzen einer detaillierten schriftlichen Überlieferung zum Han- del ab dem 14. Jahrhundert Berücksichtigung. Die Spannbreite der hier diskutierten Handelstechnologien beschränkt sich dabei nicht nur auf Währungen, Instrumente und Wasserfahrzeuge, sondern rückt explizit Infrastruktur und Topographie der Handelsplätze in den Fokus. Um die komplexe und sich über den Verlauf des Mittelalters stark wandelnde Technologie pointiert darzule- gen, wird Einblick in drei verschiedene und archäologisch herausragend untersuchte Handelsplätze gewährt, die jeweils exemplarisch für die Situation ihrer Zeit stehen dürften: das historische Reric (Groß Strömken- dorf ) in der Wismarer Bucht, Schleswig an der Schlei und Lübeck. An Reric, einem frühmittelalterlichen Seehandelsplatz, wird die frühe, jedoch bereits systematische Organi­ sation eines noch relativ überschaubaren Fernhandels demonstriert, deren Grundlage zunächst der Tausch­ handel gewesen sein wird. Bereits im ausgehenden Frühmittelalter kam es mit der Einführung der auf Hack- silber beruhenden Gewichtsgeldwirtschaft zu einer bedeutenden Neuerung. Die weitere Professionalisierung des Fernhandels und die damit einhergehenden technologischen Veränderungen werden am Beispiel des kurz nach der Mitte des 11. Jahrhunderts neu gegründeten Schleswigs dargelegt, dessen Wasserseite eine auf den seegestützten Handel und seine Akteure zugeschnittene Topographie aufweist und das bereits zahlreiche Tech- nologien zur Kontrolle des Handels kannte. Als drittes und letztes wird anhand der jüngsten Befunde aus Lübeck der weitere Wandel hin zu einer städtischen Topographie und effektiveren Technologie verdeutlicht, die den neuen Stand des weitgehend unabhängigen und weit vernetzten Kaufmanns wiederspiegelt. Weight and Value • Vol. 2 • 2021 69 Weight&Value02.indb 69 19.02.21 11:46 Felix Rösch Introduction These situations are represented by the well-re- searched sites of Groß Strömkendorf/Reric (Meck- Trade practices during the Middle Ages are char- lenburg-West Pomerania, Germany), Schleswig acterised by an ongoing professionalisation and and Lübeck (both Schleswig-Holstein, Germany). specialisation. Growing population, urbani­sation, While Groß Strömkendorf is considered among the christianisation and innovation all had their impact early medieval coastal trading sites, Schles­wig rep- on how trade and exchange was conducted. This resents a new type of high medieval port. Lübeck becomes especially apparent by the seaborne ex- is regarded as the prototype for the later medieval change, which first and foremost was long-distance independent merchant town. As they were all im- trade. Waterways, harbours and infrastructure portant trading sites, that remained well-preserved shaped the arena for a variety of actors. While trade after their heyday, they provide manifold archaeo- mechanisms became more professional over time logical evidence on trade technolo­gies. Their func- and the amount of exchange constantly increased, tion as hubs in the long-distance trade networks the arenas underwent major changes through- sheds light on mercantile practices, mobility, con- out the Middle Ages. Routes were changed, ports tacts and communication. It can be said that here founded, currencies established, vessels invented all points of medieval maritime trade technologies and waterfront layouts adapted. While some tech- culminate. The presentation of the three sites is nologies were successfully adjusted to new needs, therefore flanked by the discussion of trade relat- others ceased to exist. An increase in material cul- ed artefacts ranging from ships, containers and ture, which has been preserved by favourable water- currencies, to testimonials of written and symbol- logged conditions, provides large amounts of data ic communication. For a better understanding as- for the study of medieval maritime trade technol- pects of inland trade will also be considered. ogy, as demonstrated at landing sites, waterfronts, ports, ship wrecks and beyond. The archaeological material related to the tech- Early medieval maritime trade: Coastal trading nology of trade has been published extensively sites as a showcase (Düwel/Jankuhn 1985; Düwel et al. 1987; Jankuhn 1989; Boe/Verhaeghe 1997a; The year is 808 and the Wismar Bay in today’s 1997b; Gläser 1999; Bill/Roesdahl 2007; federal state of Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, Steuer 2009). However, the focus is usually on Germany is the arena of an outstanding event. Vi- the finds or aspects of mobility while the topog- king forces under the command of the Danish king raphy of trading places as well as infrastructure are Göttrik (lat. Godofridus) attack the prospering not taken into consideration. At most, these are trading place of Reric, which is located at a shel- discussed briefly and only as background infor- tered natural harbour basin at the eastern shore of mation to the find. Even though efforts have been the bay (MGH SS 1, 195; MGH SS rer. Germ. 6, undertaken to highlight topographical aspects of 126). The Danes surprisingly did not do what one seaside places in terms of trade (cf. Bill/Clausen would expect them to do: to ransack the place, 1999; Gläser 2004), the aspects are rarely looked murder the residents and take valuable goods with at in conjunction (Sindbæk 2007; 2017). them. Instead, they targeted the merchants, forced This article aims to provide an insight into the them onto their fleet and brought them to the Dan- technology as a whole, including topographical is- ish trading site of Hedeby. This action resulted in a sues, focussing on northern European waters. As distinct commerce boost for Hedeby and is con- it has been expressed by the editors of this volume sidered as the first known active intervention into (cf. Rahmstorf/Barjamovic in this volume), trade mechanism by a ruler in the Baltic (Adam the term “technology” is understood in a broader 1996, 172; Müller-Boysen 2007, 181). Despite sense comprising tools as well as varying types of Frankish sources mentioning the destruction of the infrastructure. Due to the wealth of material, a full emporium reric, there no direct archaeological evi- overview of the archaeological evidence for medieval dence for such an action. The place was not able to maritime trade technologies cannot be given here. revive and was abandoned shortly afterwards. Too diverse is the situation in different parts of Eu- This episode also highlights the importance of rope, too massive are the changes occurring within Reric for the Baltic trade. Extensive excavations the 1,000 years of the medieval periods, too numer- close to today’s village of Groß Strömkendorf, Blo- ous are the archaeological remains. In addition, there watz municipality, have revealed a site of more than is a strong increase of written records by the 14th 20 ha. This has been identified as the most prob- century at the latest, which enables scholars to draw able location of Reric. The site stretches almost more detailed pictures of trade mechanisms than for 1 km from North to South and consists of a burial earlier periods and are a field of study on their own. ground, a settlement area running parallel to the For this reason, the article will focus on different sit- shore, and a harbour (Fig. 1). Dendrochronological uations in northern Germany which shall act as case analysis of more than 70 wells provided precise data studies for three periods, highlighting mechanisms to establish the site’s chronology (Tummuscheit of maritime trade in their contemporary context. 2011, 5-12). 70 Weight and Value • Vol. 2 • 2021 Weight&Value02.indb 70 19.02.21 11:46 The technology of medieval maritime trade. An archaeological perspective on northern Germany and beyond tFig. 1. Topography and excavation areas of Groß Strömkendorf (Tummu­ scheit 2011, fig. 1, 3). The topography underwent several remarkable south, beneath the natural harbour basin (Tum- changes. In the first half of the 8th century, the set- muscheit 2011, 155-157, 173-174). tlement started out in the northern part of the area Around 760 a major change can be recorded at with an irregular arrangement of ten pit houses. the site (phase II). The northern part of the set- They were most likely accompanied by larger build- tlement was torn down and replaced by the burial ings such as log-houses, some wells and numerous ground (see below). South of, and in close prox- pits. Concentrations of similar structures were also imity to the burial ground, an area was developed found at various other locations and it is likely that in a grid pattern, which clearly distinguishes itself the early settlement consisted of several nuclei. from the former layout. Pit houses, pits and a post Whilst irregular layouts, ground-level buildings construction were arranged along two axes – one and pit houses with fire places in the north west- running from north-south and one from east-west. ern corner are typical elements of regional Slavonic The centrepiece of the grid pattern were lined-up settlements, there is also a Scandinavian influence. pit houses, now larger with a sharp rectangular Several pit houses had gable-topped posts, quite outline, attributes which may be attributed to a typical of the southern Scandinavian pit house tra- Frankish-Saxonian influence. In addition, a 6 m dition. Until 750/60, the whole site was settled in wide street, evidenced by an almost featureless a sporadic manner down to a swampy area in the strip, ran from north to south and a tree sanctuary, Weight and Value • Vol. 2 • 2021 71 Weight&Value02.indb 71 19.02.21 11:46 Felix Rösch uFig. 2. The arrangement interpreted as a ritual site had been erected (Tum- of pit houses (grey) indi- muscheit 2011, 158-159, 174-175). cate a regular grid pattern From 780, a third phase can be recognized at in Groß Strömkendorf the site, which is contemporary with further topo­ (Klein­gärtner 2014, graphical changes. The focus of the activities shifted fig. 51). to the southern part of the area, to a strip of almost 300 m in length, running parallel to the harbour basin and framed by a brook in the north and the swamp in the south. The same regular settlement pattern as in the second phase has also been found here. Rows of pit houses, surrounded by settlement pits, wells and evidence of ground-level buildings were also recorded. In each row, the pit houses were arranged at a distance of 5-10 m from each other, some of which indicate small properties. At least four or five plots, separated by small ditches or rows of pits, were discovered in the central section of the strip. Ca. 10 m wide, the plots appear to be aligned towards the bay. In a section further to the south, numerous wells of different construction types but only a few dwellings could be recovered. The area closest to the swamp features considerably smaller pit houses with an average floor space of just 6 m² (in comparison to the average 8-9 m² recorded in the areas to the north). These observations have been interpreted as a specialised settlement topog- raphy serving different needs. In terms of construc- tion techniques, the pit houses of this period seem to be the result of a local development combining different traditions – i. e. Slavonic, Scandinavian and Frankish-Saxonian (Tummuscheit 2011, 52-53, 159-161, 175-176). In 811 the latest recorded activity took place and Reric was abandoned shortly after (Tummu­ scheit 2011, 176). Although the western part of the settlement fell victim to coastal erosion, the topography of Reric remains highly characteristic for an early medieval coastal trading place. The site is located at a shel- tered spot in the Wismar Bay with access to the Bal- tic and developed from essentially a rural site into an organised trading place. This is demonstrated by the pit houses which follow a straight grid-pat- tern as well as main pathways that run parallel to the shore (Fig. 2). In addition to the pattern, which probably signifies the existence of small properties, rectangular plots were also aligned towards the harbour basin. Whilst these areas are dominated by dwellings, other spots were highlighted by fewer buildings or by a concentration of wells. It is likely, that a pagan sanctuary was located in the settle- ment whilst the burial ground was on the outskirts. Unfortunately, with the exception of ceramics (Brorsson 2010), glass (Pöche 2005), grave goods (Gerds/Wolf 2015) and the archaeozo- ological remains (Schmölcke 2004) many finds have not yet been systematically analysed or pub- lished. This makes it difficult to link certain activi- ties to distinct spaces. Nevertheless, there are many finds including raw materials and unfinished prod- ucts that indicate specialised craftwork production 72 Weight and Value • Vol. 2 • 2021 Weight&Value02.indb 72 19.02.21 11:46 The technology of medieval maritime trade. An archaeological perspective on northern Germany and beyond which is also a central criterion for early medieval data. Additionally, four strontium isotope analy­ trading places (Steuer 2002). It can be assumed ses were carried out, which revealed a northern that people in Reric worked with amber, bone and European coastal signature (Wolf 2015). Based antler as well as glass and metals such as lead and on this data, M. Gerds (2015, 227) suggests that gold. Spinning and weaving was also commonplace the burial ground represents a permanent resident (Wietrzichowski 1993, 38, 58; Jöns 2000; population of about 150 individuals living in fam- Gerds 2001, 117). The detailed analysis of almost ily units. 100 pit houses revealed a small number of finds, Discussion continue as to whether the burial such as loom weights and hammerscale inside the ground mirrors a multi-ethnic population or is buildings indicating craftwork. As plenty of the the result of a population dominated by foreigners finds relating to craftwork stem from the immedi- from Scandinavia. Of course, Scandinavian burial ate surroundings, it is possible to suggest in many rites and artefacts dominate, while east-west ori- cases they functioned as a workshop. Fireplaces, entated inhumations and the use of urns indicate often recovered from in the inside of the pit hous- Frankish-Saxonian and Frisian practices. This, es, indicate domestic occupation at the same time. however, does not negate a Slavonic contribution, With sizes ranging up to 20 m², it is understood especially when early Slavonic burial practices are that up to eight people could have been in occupa- considered. Burial grounds could not be detected tion (Tummuscheit 2011, 49-52). in large parts of early Slavonic Germany, whilst the The aspect of trade becomes obvious in the im- burials known were dominated by cremations with- ported finds and foreign goods. Pieces from the out urns and rarely include grave goods (Padden- west and the north dominate. The majority of finds berg 2000). This might have led to biased results. are of Frankish-Carolingian origin, such as Reti- In German research tradition, places such as cella vessels, Millefiori beads, tesserae, Mayen mill- Reric are defined as a Seehandelsplatz. These are stones and coins. Approximately 10 % (more than characterised as non-rural settlements, in sheltered 6,000 shards) of ceramic are of none-West Slavonic locations, close to the Baltic shore in the Slavic origin. They originate from the Rhineland, repre- lands. They are subject to a strong Scandinavi- sented by, for instance, Merovingian Black ware, an influence, which is evident in artefacts as well Badorf ware and Tating jugs, as well as from the as burials and dwellings (Kleingärtner 2014, coastal zones of Saxony, Frisia and Scandinavia. 71-72, 179-180). The places are strongly linked to Grindstones and fibulas of Scandinavian origin ship-based long-distance trade and include areas of have also been discovered (Wietrzichowski specialised craftwork. Many terms have been used 1993, 43; Jöns 2000; Pöche 2005, 70; Brors- for comparable sites that can be found at the shores son 2010, 91-93). all over northern Europe. The terms usually high- As mentioned above, the burial ground succeed- light different aspects, for example: craftwork (pro- ed the early settlement nuclei in the north shortly ductive sites), trade between different cultures (ports after 750 and was in use for about 50-60 years. It of trade), services for a hinterland (central place) or was fully excavated (2.5 ha) and found to com- network centrality (nodal points) (Fig. 3). Irrespec- prise 241 graves with the remains of almost 300 tive of the different manifestations of those places, individuals and 14 animal burials. As suggested by the historic term emporium is more or less accept- the pit houses, the great variety of burial rites and ed within the international research community grave constructions confirms a mix of different tra- (More­land 2001; cf. Callmer 2007, 238-240 ditions, with parallels to Scandinavian, Saxonian, for criteria of a emporium). Frisian and Baltic lands. Approximately one-third The rise of emporia is a subject of discussion of the graves were inhumations and two-thirds cre- which is biased by different historic socio-political mations which, in addition to some of the (quite backgrounds (Callmer 2007, 238-239). Some sparse) grave-goods, suggest South Scandinavian scholars hold the opinion, that they developed and Saxon and Frisian/Frankish origins. Six boat out of regular trading voyages along the coasts by graves and barrows also point to Scandinavian in- self-organised long-distance traders (Lübke 2004, fluence, while the latter are also found at Slavonic 92; Sindbæk 2005; Callmer 2007, 240). A burial grounds. Urns were in large parts made in model which S. Kleingärtner (2014, 193-199) the Western-Slavic Sukow type style. The presence discusses for Seehandelsplätze suggests that this of one chamber grave, boat burials and barrows sporadic exchange then resulted in colonies. She could suggest that c. 5 % of inhabitants were of elite also argues that the access to raw materials played status (Paddenberg 2000; Brorsson 2010, 43- a central role, and that long-distance trade was 46; Gerds 2015, 225-227). the result but not the cause. Others understand The anthropological analysis revealed a balanced the emporia as creations of (local) elites to gain proportion of sex and age among the cremations access to luxury goods (Hodges 1989, 54-55, and a dominance of male and adult individuals 70; Müller-Boysen 1990, 153-154; Ulriksen among the inhumations. As a result of poor preser­ 1998, 134). Commonly accepted, however, is the vation, it was impossible to determine the sex of a theory that authorities were involved when it came large portion of the remains, which may bias the to the development of regular settlement patterns. Weight and Value • Vol. 2 • 2021 73 Weight&Value02.indb 73 19.02.21 11:46 Felix Rösch uFig. 3. The distribution of different terms used for non-rural settlements in northern Europe (Klein­ gärtner 2014, fig. 16). For Reric, we are aware of an organised topogra- As the author has pointed out in the previous phy by 760. In 808, we learn from the annales regni volume, it is problematic to locate early medieval francorum, that the place was of extreme impor- marketplaces or spaces where transactions were tance for the Danish kingdom, due to Göttrik col- carried out. On the one hand, there is limited lecting taxes there (MGH SS 1, 129). The Slavonic knowledge about how and where the exchange tribe of the Obotrite’s, in whose territory the em- of goods took place, making it difficult to pin- porium was located, also had an involvement in the point likely locations. On the other hand, there settlement. Their ruler Drasco, Göttrik’s counter- is only very limited archaeological evidence. This part, controlled large parts of the southern-western is a result of coastal erosion and/or (modern) Baltic coast until he was murdered in Reric in 810 destructions. In addition, trading space such as (MGH SS 1, 308). beach markets are not expected to have any in- High medieval sources provide more detailed frastructure at all and small indications might be information about the tax collection practices. overlooked (Rösch 2019, 277-281). Minimal The so-called Herdgeld, a tax collected per hearth places have revealed installations that could be (= household), is known from continental Europe linked to possible beach market situations. For and Scandinavia. One way of distinguishing house- instance, recent excavations at the Seehandels­ holds would be to clearly divide them into individ- platz Rostock-Dierkow, Germany, have revealed ual units or plots (Piekalski 2014, 73). a large area of up to 3,500 m² at the former shore The plots might also have played an important which was covered with wattle-wood mats. They role in the exchange of goods by functioning as are interpreted as stabilisation measures for the a marketplace. Plots lining both sides of a main soggy ground (Messal 2019, 29-31). Compara- street in the emporium Ribe, Denmark, have been ble features are known from Hedeby and Wolin, interpreted in this way (Feveile 2006, 25-35, 43- Poland, for instance while in Kaupang, Norway, 45). In this kind of marketplace scenario, the trade rocks were used to stabilise the soil (Pilø 2007; would have taken place in semi-public or private Kalmring 2010; Stanisławski/Filipowiak space, which might have, to some extent, been 2014). An exception to this is the Frankish em- controlled and/or taxed by an authority. Another porium Dorestad, where dozens of massive plat- option could have been a beach market at the har- forms of up to 200 m length, following the plots bour basin, where transactions occurred on and at structure on the shore, were constructed in the the beached ships. This means trade took place in river bed of the Kromme Rijn (van Es/Ver­ public space where it could easily have been wit- wers 1980; 2009). It is highly likely that actors nessed but taxation was made more difficult (cf. with commercial interest were engaged in the Rösch 2018a, 215-217). As c. 100 m of the shore construction of the installations, which are by have eroded, possible traces have vanished in Reric. far the most extensive infrastructural measures This makes it difficult to determine where the exact known from a 8th/9th century coastal trading site exchange of goods took place in Reric. (Rösch 2019, 278). 74 Weight and Value • Vol. 2 • 2021 Weight&Value02.indb 74 19.02.21 11:46 The technology of medieval maritime trade. An archaeological perspective on northern Germany and beyond Despite the sparse archaeological remains, writ- By the end of the 9th century, some decades after ten legislations from the Carolingian realm are the fall of Reric, drastic changes in the market ex- strong evidence that the harbour was simultane- change can be recorded in the circumbaltic region. ously also the market. The same was probably true A new system of payment in the form of weight-­ for places in early medieval England and even Scan- regulated silver currency was introduced. The cen- dinavia, where Carolingian legislation often served trepiece of the new system were precise and stand- as an ideal (Rösch 2019, 281-282). ardised scales and graded sets of weights (cf. Kil­ger As pointed out previously, the presence of large in this volume). These were found in large numbers amounts of specialised craft production is a key in- in all trading places and in other settlements type, dicator for coastal trading places (Steuer 2002b; as demonstrated by an increasing number of metal 2005). The finds reveal that the production was detector finds (Hilberg/Lemm 2018). Two types focussed on everyday items such as combs made of weights are known: bronze-coated iron spheri- from bone or antler and glass beads. In some cases cal/oblate-spheroid weights and bronze cubo-octa- luxury items were also produced, as a touchstone hedral weights that allowed precise weighing of sil- from Reric or the deposit of a precious metal ver down to 0.35 g. This practice becomes apparent smith containing several tools and metal pieces in in numerous finds of hacksilver and a large number Rostock-Dierkow indicate (Warnke 1992/93; of silver hoards. It was driven by a large influx of Wietrzichowski 1993, 38). The locally pro- silver dirhams, which weighed almost 3 g and were duced goods are interpreted as support for the found in their thousands in the Baltic region. This Fig. 4. Wodan-Monster exchange activities with the hinterland of the em- system made it easier to pay for small, everyday type sceatta found in Ribe poria. In addition to imported objects, mostly con- items (Steuer 1997; Steuer et al. 2002). Whilst dating to ca. 710-720 AD. sisting of high-status objects such as high-quality weighing of silver and other goods must have taken Scale 3:1 (Classical Numis- ceramics, weapons, glass, jewellery, textiles, wine place prior to the introduction of this system, it re- matic Group, Inc.). and mill- and grindstones, exchange of salt and mains presently unknown if and how the weights fish, as well as slaves and fur took place. For all of were standardised. these goods there is only indirect archaeological ev- Different opinions exist about the establishment idence: salt springs in close proximity to emporia, of the system. I. Gustin (1997) and H. Steuer bones of fur-bearing animals and shackles (Steuer (1997, 342-343; 2009, 295) argue that it was neither 2009, 302; Klein­gärtner 2014, 198-199). a king or political entity, nor an organisation of mer- Exchange in the age of Reric was most likely chants, but a result of intensified communication conducted through bartering , even though a small among a growing number of actors involved in com- amount of silver coins, four Carolingian dinars, mercial practices and with the Middle East. Others two sceattas and, stemming from the latest phases, in turn favour the model of a trade system controlled four Arabian dirhams, have been found (cf. Klein­ by authorities (Kleingärtner 2014, 150). gärtner 2014, 80, tab. 4). Since the late 7th cen- There is strong evidence that the weights of the tury, silver was used as the basis for the European system were “…perceived as exact, identical and monetary system. In the late Carolingian empire, reliable by the people of the time” (Gustin 2015, the dinar was the only weight-regulated coin. At 31). Due to their shape, material and ornamenta- the beginning of the 8th century, in the coastal re- tion they were difficult to counterfeit whilst the gions of the North Sea, sceattas were introduced, ornamentation found on the cubo-octahedral which were most-likely minted in Frisia and Eng- weights gave the impression of exactitude and reli- land (Steuer 2009, 294; Müller-Wille 2011). ability. The use of the highly standardised weights It is an ongoing debate if sceattas have also been was therefore also a symbol of trustworthiness. The minted in the Danish North-Sea emporium Ribe, same is true for measuring equipment with weight- where large numbers of the so-called Wodan-Mon- like ornamentation, scales, steelyards and measur- ster type were excavated (Fig. 4). By the first half ing rods. Penannular brooches with facetted end of the 9th century, a “Nordic” type of coin appears knobs were also seen as trustworthy items (Gus­ in Scandinavia that is clearly distinguishable from tin 2015, 31-37; Kershaw 2019, 131-132). continental or English coins. It is not exactly The standardised weighing equipment as well as known where they were coined, but mints in Ribe the manifold cultural influences suggest that Reric and Hedeby are highly likely (Malmer 2002, 118- was well-connected in the early medieval Baltic 122). In addition, silver in the form of ingots and sea region. Reric did not stand alone but formed jewellery was also the basis of the monetary system part of a network of emporia that were aligned in Scandinavia and the Slavic lands. By the 9th cen- along the southern and western Baltic coast. Trav- tury, Kufic dirhams appear in the Baltic (Steuer elers and merchants primarily used ships to travel 2009, 294). This would indicate that in the age of along the coast. It must be noted that the emporia Reric there is coin-based economy in the West, to were located at a distance of 30-40 km from each some extent, in southern Scandinavia, but not on other (Klein­gärtner 2014, 43). This equates the southern Baltic coast – Reric vanished just be- to the average daily travel distances of ships com- fore the coin-based economy became more wide- monly used in the 7-9th centuries by Scandinavians spread. and Slavs. The travel durations are known from Weight and Value • Vol. 2 • 2021 75 Weight&Value02.indb 75 19.02.21 11:46 Felix Rösch 8th/9th centuries, specialised ship types were not in use in the Baltic (Fig. 5). All known ship finds from this period indicate multi-purpose vessels that were driven by sail and oars and could transport people as well as a certain amount of goods. Their length could reach up to 23 m as the late 9th century Gok- stad ship (Norway) demonstrates. Multi-purpose ships between 10-15 m length were found in three out of six boat graves in Reric, where the shape of the former hull could be reconstructed from the position of the rivets. Two others were heavily dis- turbed and one was of a log boat type. The ships were clinker-built with different fixation and caulk- ing techniques which required the skills of profes- sional shipwrights. By the 10th century specialised cargo carriers like the Skuldelev 1 ship appeared in the Baltic. They were broader and had fixed masts but could no longer be rowed over long distances (Crumlin-Pedersen 1999; Bill 2003; Gerds 2015, 88-95). The crew of the ships navigated by sight along the coast, spotting landmarks, but were also capa- ble of astronavigation (solar band celestial) as a re- sult of strong traditions that emphasised oral and corporal transmission of knowledge. It is an ongo- ing debate whether navigational instruments were in use (for a summary see Indruszewski et al. 2009, 275-277). Such aids are rarely found and not known before the end of the Early Middle Ages. A Fig. 5. Ralswiek 2 ship- contemporary travel reports and experiments with miniature wind vane manufactured in the Borre find and reconstruction ship reconstructions. Probably the most important style dating to the 9th/10th century has been found (Herrmann 1985, record in this regard are the travel reports of the in Menzlin (Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, fig. 60). Anglo-Saxon nobleman Wulfstan and the Nor- Germany), another emporium close to the south- wegian seafarer Ohthere from the late 9th centu- ern Baltic coast (Fig. 6). It is not certain however ry. While the former travels under sail, non-stop if it was used for navigation (Christensen 1998; for seven days and nights from Hedeby to Truso Lamm 2002). From 11th century Wolin a wooden ( Janów Pomorski, Poland), which is approximate- disc is known, which has been interpreted as a sun- ly 385 NM, the latter sailed with night stoppings dial (Stanisławski 2001). along the Norwegian coast. Wulfstan’s travel speed Goods for trade were transported on ships in was calculated as 2.3 kn, while experiments have different types of containers and bundles, which shown that under favourable wind conditions the are not normally preserved in the archaeological speed could increase. A trial voyage with a recon- record. An example of a bundle is the famous brass struction of the Skuldelev 1 ship, a medium-sized bar find from Hedeby harbour, consisting of 25 Viking trading vessel from 1030 with a capacity cast rods with a rhombic profile and a mean weight of 20-25 metric tons, reached an average speed of of 128 g dating to the 8th/9th century. The bundle 3.5 kn in non-stop travel (Englert/Ossowski probably originates from the Rhineland (Sind- 2009; Indruszewski et al. 2009, 283). The re- bæk 2001; Kalmring 2010, 438-439). construction of the Slavic ship Ralswiek 2, a 9.0 m It is an ongoing debate, whether imported ceram- x 2.5 m multifunctional vessel from around 977 ics served as trade goods, containers or were merely with an approximate cargo capacity of 2-3 t had an belongings of the seafarers and foreigners. In Reric average sailing speed of 2.4 kn during a ten-day run and Hedeby the number of imported wares1 made with night stops (Gülland et al. 1999). During up 10 % and 7 % respectively of the total ceramics the age of the named travellers and Reric, i. e. the (by weight) and can theoretically be explained as personal belongings as W. Janssen (1989, 135) favours for Hedeby. In Norwegian emporium Kau- pang almost two thirds of all ceramics were import- uFig. 6. Borre style minia­ ture wind vane from Menz- 1 Janssen doesn’t count the Slavonic type wares among the lin. Scale 1:2 (Kleingärt- imported ceramics which would increase the total amount ner 2014, pl. 3,25). to 12 %. The question, if Slavonic wares were also produced in locally Scandinavia (i. e. Baltic ware) has been intensively discussed (Roslund 2009; Lüdtke 2013, 76). 76 Weight and Value • Vol. 2 • 2021 Weight&Value02.indb 76 19.02.21 11:46 The technology of medieval maritime trade. An archaeological perspective on northern Germany and beyond ed and their occurrence explained as trade goods. Not all types of ceramic forms were suited for stor- age vessels, but the Badorf relief-band amphoras and large ovoid Pingsdorf vessels were certainly built to contain fluids and were used in the trans- port of wine and oil (Fig. 7). In Hedeby more than 70 % of the imported ceramics were one of these types (Steuer 1987, 134-142; Janssen 1989, 128-136; Brorsson 2010, 95-96). It seems there- fore likely, that a certain amount of bulgy ceramics were used as containers to transport, most likely, wine to the Baltic region. Due to their high quality it cannot be ruled out that they were also used as status symbols as E. Roesdahl (1982) states. Slavonic pottery was likely used to transport honey and wax from the Slavic lands between Odra and Elbe. The former was known as tribute to the Ottonian kings in the 10th century (Kempke 2001, 231, 254). Tar was also produced and exported by the Slavs (Biermann et al. 2013, cf.; Brather 2008, 218-220). Whether the finds of roughly 100 shards, most of them with traces of tar, found in the harbour of Hedeby result from the tar trade or are just a witness of ship maintenance is uncertain (Lüdtke 2013, n. 2). The use of barrels has been known since the Ro- man Iron Age (Capelle 1981). In the Carolingian Period there are some finds of barrels or barrel parts in trading places such as Dorestad. They date from 685 to 835, were made of oak and originate from the wine-growing area around Mainz, Germany, which makes a transport of wine likely (Botman/ Verwers 1999). Typical finds suggest a secondary use, mainly as wells (Capelle 1981). In Reric, out of 72 wells, just one of such kind has been found. This suggests that barrels and the ability to transport larger quantities did not seem to be essential (Tum- muscheit 2011, 108). In contrast, 29 of such bar- rel wells dating to the 9th and 10th century were exca- vated in Hedeby (Fig. 8). They were, in most cases, In addition to the shore it is important to ex- Fig. 7. Badorf relief-band made of non-indigenous conifer wood, particularly amine trade by land which is considered in this amphora from Hedeby. fir, which may indicate that they contained import- paragraph. Besides the ships, horses and the use of Scale 1:4 (Janssen 1989, ed goods. The barrels reached impressive dimensions wagons, hauled by oxen or humans, was an essential pl. 3). up to 2.5 m in height and 0.8 m in diameter with a means of transport that can be found in the archae- volume of up to 800 l. Besides wine and other fluids, ological record. Rich finds from different parts of they were also used to transport different kinds of wagons are known from Hedeby for instance. They goods which basically makes them multi-purpose comprise parts of disc wheels and spoke wheels as containers. A famous source stems from the Bayeux well as wheel hubs and axles. They stem from dif- tapestry, where a huge barrel filled with weapons is ferent kind of wagons that were able to transport brought to a ship by wagon (Steuer 1987, 131- loads weighing between 200 kg and 1,000 kg. This 134; Westphal 2006, 37-38). is also depicted in the aforementioned scene from It remains uncertain to what extent barrels have the Bayeux tapestry where in addition to the huge been used as containers in the early medieval trade. barrel, lances and helmets are also transported. Ship finds with bigger amounts of cargo including The upper construction of a wagon is to date only barrels are not known before the Late Middle Ages known from the Oseberg grave, a rich ornamented (Ossowski 2014a). What can be carefully stated trough (Hayen 1983; 1986). is, that in the beginning they were limited to the The amount of goods that were transported on larger trading sites and royal courts (Capelle land in comparison to the waterways cannot be 1981). Throughout the Middle Ages their impor- stated. It has often been argued, that ships were the tance continuously increased, as will be demon- main means of transportation in the Middle Ages. strated later in this article. This is true for heavy or bulky goods or for long Weight and Value • Vol. 2 • 2021 77 Weight&Value02.indb 77 19.02.21 11:46 Felix Rösch distances, but is hard to quantify. Transportation as Bardowick lost its significance, it became a place on land included manifold forms besides the wag- rural in character, which allowed for the survival ons (and carts) ­– pedestrians with panniers, baskets of extraordinary parts of the medieval topography or stretchers, wheel barrows, sledges, pack-animals in the soil. Unfortunately archaeologists have not and travois – which have seldom left traces (Bill/ been able to benefit from this circumstance yet. Roesdahl 2007). Dozens of excavations have been undertaken up to Out of town infrastructure has already been now, however with the exception of some efforts known from the Early Middle Ages. A famous in the 1980s (Hübener 1983; 1984; 1986), a sys- example is the huge Viking-age bridge Ravning tematic analysis of the findings is still missing. Enge, which spans the flat of the Velje river close Nevertheless, the topography of this impor- to Jelling, Denmark, with a length of 760 m. The tant trading place can be estimated by excavation oldest bridge of Scandinavia was erected in 980 at reports, remote sensing data and the churches, the instigation of King Harald Bluetooth. It has a whose locations are still known in most cases. width of more than 5 m and its massive construc- The settlement is located on a slight elevation in tion compiles 240 yokes, each built of four upright the floodplain between Ilmenau and a moraine in piles in the middle and two slanted piles on the the west. Here the locations of the churches stand sides, with a distance of 2.4 m. This enabled two out, as they were located on small hills of natural wagons to pass each other and also allowed for the origin as core samples of the subsoil have proven movement of large military units. This impressive (Hübener 1983, 146-147). While finds dating monument, which was constructed from approxi- to the 9th and 10th centuries spread over an area of mately 300 ha of oak wood, was also a demonstra- more 130 ha (Grunwald 1997, 238, fig. 5), the tion of power ( Jørgensen 1997; 1998). heart of medieval Bardowick covered an area of ap- The same is true for the Fossa Carolina (or fos- proximately 50 ha between Ilmenau in the east and satum magnum). It is an artificial channel dug be- the churches of St. Willehadus, St. Vitus and the tween the Danube and Rhine via the European cathedral St. Peter and Paul in the west (Fig. 10). Fig. 8. Barrel found in watershed, with a length of 3 km south of today’s Manifold excavations conducted in the past Hedeby in secondary use as city of Nuremberg. Although never finished, the decades have unearthed settlement structures that a well (Maixner 2010, construction site tied up massive resources of King we are already fairly familiar with. At almost every fig. 8). Charlemagne who initialised the project in 793. location, pit houses, some of them containing typ- The amount of wood required alone would have ical signs of craftwork, and small wells made of made the felling and shaping of 400 ha oak for- barrels/barrel staves, logs or as box constructions, est necessary. If it had been finished, the channel, flanked by numerous postholes and other pits, which was designed for shallow draft barges such as were recorded. Even though a clear stratigraphy the Bremen “Karl” or the Krefeld-Gellep ship find, has not been published yet, dendrochronological would have linked the two most important river- dates prove the introduction of those structures by ine transport zones of Europe (Werther 2016; the 10th century at the latest (Assendorp/Kun- Werther et al. 2018, 363-366). Even though ze 2010; Assendorp 2014; Binnewies et al. the Fossa Carolina was never finished, channels in 2018). The historic settlement units even become early medieval Europe were of higher importance visible in aerial photographs, where potential pit than often thought. Around 30 are known for the house locations can be spotted on undeveloped Early Middle Ages with concentrations in south- meadows. Still uncertain is the subdivision of the ern England, northern France and northern Italy structures. Their arrangement is not yet under- (Werther et al. 2018, 355-357, fig. 1). stood and seems rather random as linear reference Finally, I will examine Bardowick, a contem- structures such as fences, ditches or streets are rare. porary inland trading place. It is located south of The same is true for a regular plot layout, which Hamburg at the Ilmenau River, and was first men- almost certainly must have existed in Bardowick. tioned in 798. It was one of nine trading places on Based on evidence from other contemporary plac- the eastern border of the Carolingian realm men- es, their location can be expected in close proxim- tioned in the Diedenhofer Kapitular from 805. The ity to the waterway. An option worth discussing order prohibited the weapons trade with the Slavs would be an abandoned meander, which, revealed at these nine places, among which were the impor- by the digital elevation model, runs past St. Wille- tant towns of the Later Middle Ages Magdeburg, hadus, ends in front of St. Nikolai, and would pro- Erfurt and Regensburg. These stretched from Bar- vide the sheltered natural conditions favourable dowick in the north to Lorch, Austria, in the south for a harbour (Fig. 10). Even though St. Nikolai (Fig. 9). In its heyday, Bardowick had eight church- is not mentioned before 1251 (Hübener 1983, es and one cathedral and stretched over an area of 160), the patronage was popular among merchants more than 100 ha, which is more than four times and seafarers and often located close to bodies of larger than Hedeby. The wic-suffix, imported finds, water. The use of this patronage becomes popular large numbers of fibulas as well as their own mint from the late 11th century onwards in North-east- highlight its importance as a trading place (Grun- ern Europe (Blaschke 1967). Probably among wald 1997). By the second half of the 12th century, the oldest churches is St. Willehadus, dedicated to 78 Weight and Value • Vol. 2 • 2021 Weight&Value02.indb 78 19.02.21 11:46 The technology of medieval maritime trade. An archaeological perspective on northern Germany and beyond tFig. 9. The reconstructed eastern border of the Caro- lingian empire (graphics by D. Wehner, modified by the author). the first bishop of Bremen. Whilst not mentioned one hand they fulfilled religious needs of different before 1304 (Hübener 1983, 158), many Wille- groups (of different origin and/or profession), as hadus consecrations took place in the second half is likely for St. Willehadus for people from Bre- of the 9th century. The age of the churches in Bar- men (Hübener 1983, 158) and discussed for dowick is an ongoing discussion as none of them is St. Nikolai in Schleswig for Westphalians from mentioned before the late 12th century. It is highly Soest ( Johansen 1975, 520) or St. Clemens in likely, however, that most of them are considera- Lübeck for Scandinavians (Rieger 2019a, 74- bly older, as indicated by the patronages (Dröge­ 77). A practice that was possible until 1215, the reit 1977; Hübener 1983, 150-160). As already year the IV Lateran council took place and after touched upon by the author in the last volume which the consecration of new churches in places (Rösch 2019, 276-277), the church played an with already existing parishes wasn’t possible any important role in the organisation of early medie- more ( Jahnke 2019). On the other hand it also val trade. The existence of manifold parishes was a enabled merchants to act as a legal entity, as it is common characteristic of prospering towns in the known from Magdeburg in 965/75 (Schlesin­ Christianised parts of northern Europe. On the ger 1973, 278-279). Weight and Value • Vol. 2 • 2021 79 Weight&Value02.indb 79 19.02.21 11:46 Felix Rösch uFig. 10. The topography of Bardowick in the flood- plains and different areas of activity (graphics by the au- thor, based on: Auszug aus den Geodaten des Landes- amtes für Geoinformation und Landesvermessung Niedersachsen, © 2019; Wall and find distribution based on Grunwald 1997, fig. 1, 5). The case of Bardowick demonstrates that the High medieval maritime trade: The ports churches played an important part in the technol- ogy of early medieval trade in Christian Europe, In the early 1170s a miracle is said to have oc- while many other topographical elements could be curred in the prospering Danish port of Schleswig: found in trading places all over northern Europe. “A wealthy man in Denmark, citizen of the town of A travelling merchant would have come across fa- Schleswig, built a large ship at great expense. And miliar technologies almost everywhere despite re- the king of the country decided to join company gional variations depending on religious, political and take part in the profits. And after he had made or natural circumstances. good half of the costs, he owned a corresponding 80 Weight and Value • Vol. 2 • 2021 Weight&Value02.indb 80 19.02.21 11:46 The technology of medieval maritime trade. An archaeological perspective on northern Germany and beyond part of the ship. When the ship was built and ready to be launched, it could not be moved because of the huge size of its [hull], and even with many people pushing it, with cushions laid underneath, and with ropes being pulled, the effort was in vain. Many people thought that the ship would have to be broken up. And to avoid wasting his efforts and expenses, the worried owner of the ship considered requesting the support of the new martyr Thomas. Quietly, he said: ‘Move this machine into the deep, Martyr, and I promise you 100 pounds of wax from each of its trading voyages.’ Gently moved by hands, and with many fewer people pushing than before, the ship descended into the waves just as if it was gliding over something slippery. And the ob- ligation of this vow lasts to the present day” (Eng­ lert 2015, 13). The legend which is dedicated to Thomas Becket, Archbishop of Canterbury, who was murdered in 1170, is of interest in several cases regarding tech- nologies of high medieval trade (Englert 2015, 14). On the one hand we learn about two actors en- gaged in trade-related activities. An enterprising cit- izen of Schleswig with capital investment, who we can call a merchant, and the king of Denmark. The king, in this instance Valdemar I, co-finances the construction of the ship, indicating joint owner­ship existed. On the other hand, we learn that Schleswig pFig. 11. Reconstruction of Hedeby wreck 3. With a capacity of ca. 60 t this ship was a market and port with a shipyard capable of – built around 1025 – belongs to the largest cargo vessels of that time (drawing by building large ships. This suggests a skilled work Wikinger Museum Haithabu). force, knowledge and technologies were present. We also learn about the ship itself, which is described as navis magna, i. e. extraordinarily large. In 12th centu- ry Denmark, the construction of large cargo vessels was at a crossroads. There were bulgy vessels built in Nordic tradition, as the so-called Knarr, but also the first appearances of seagoing flat-bottomed ves- sels, commonly known as cog2. In the late 10th century Nordic ship building de- veloped from multi-purpose vessels towards more specialised crafts. There were long and narrow war ships with a beam to length ratio of up to 1:10 that were fast and designed to carry troops. Then there were the bulgy cargo vessels with a ratio of 1:3.1 whose hulls were stabilised by cross bracings. The cargo carriers could not be rowed anymore and, due to their massive hull and draughts of up to 1.5 m, beaching was no longer possible. While the aver- age vessels had cargo capacities around 20 t, some ships could transport loads of up to 60 t in their open hull. Such extraordinarily large cargo vessels are known since the beginning of the 11th century was able to achieve (Crumlin-Pedersen 1999; pFig. 12. Reconstruction (Fig. 11). From the late 12th century ships with a ca- Englert 2015). of the Kollerup cog from pacity of 120 t are known, the so-called “Big Ship” The navis magna built in Schleswig, has often ca. 1150 with a sternpost from Bergen, Norway. This was probably the max- been linked to the introduction of the cog in Den- rudder and an improved rig imum, the shell-first technique of Nordic tradition mark (Crumlin-Pedersen 2000, 120; Radtke (Englert 2015, fig. 4,11). 2002, 47; Bill/Hocker 2004). The first appear- 2 The term “cog” is a historic one and its use for archaeologi- ance of such ships was the find from Kollerup, an cal ship finds as well as historic images on seals etc. has been early stage cog built around 1150 with a capacity much debated as it is probably linked to a ship size rather of 42 t, and the Kolding cog with 70 t capacity built than a type of construction (Englert 2015, 69-70; Zwick in 1189 (Fig. 12). Cogs were bulbous vessels which 2012, 290 n. 2). Weight and Value • Vol. 2 • 2021 81 Weight&Value02.indb 81 19.02.21 11:46 Felix Rösch conducted in co-operation. While such a prac- tice is known as early as the 7th century (Ellmers 1984, 17), later (Scandinavian) sources differenti- ate between skipper, who could be the owner, one of the owners or a representative of the owner, and ship-companions. The companion paid the skipper for a share of the cargo space, but was also a sea- man, as he had ship operation duties and, if neces- sary, had to defend the vessel. Such practice is prob- ably depicted on the earliest town seal of Lübeck (Fig. 14). Fig. 13. Variety of sin- could reach a beam-length ratio lower than 1:3 m. From the 13th century onwards a growing sepa- tels found in Hollingstedt, Their bottom was flat and built by flush-laid planks, ration of the commercial and nautical functions on Schleswig`s North Sea while the sides were made by the clinker technique. board can be recorded. On the ships three different harbour (Siegloff 2012, Contrary to the Nordic-type vessels, they had actors are recognized: ship owner/captain, crew fig. 5). straight stem and stern posts and stern-mounted and cargo owner. This is described for the first time rudders. Another characteristic was the use of sin- in the Rôles d’Oléron from 1224, the first codi- tels (Fig. 13), metal staples, which secured the caulk- fied maritime law (Müller-Boysen 1990, 43, ing (Ellmers 1994; Crumlin-Pedersen 2000; 62-63, 136-145; Deggim 1999; Jahnke 2008; Hocker/Daly 2006). The biggest advantage of Englert 2015, 42-45). King Valdemar’s Itinerary the cog was a more economical construction, which (Valdemar II. ruled from 1202-1241), the earliest results primarily from the fact that sawn instead of sea itinerary for the Baltic Sea, also dates to this split planks were used. This allowed either small- period. The document describes a route along the er logs or sawn wider planks to be used to save on coastline of Sweden and Finland, connecting the is- fixations and caulking material. Furthermore, to a land of Utlängan (close to today’s Karlskrona, Swe- certain extent also unskilled workers could be used den) with Tallinn (Estonia) which became Danish (Ellmers 1994; Jahnke 2008, 177). In the fol- territory in 1219. The itinerary was more a basis lowing centuries – J. Bill (2003) characterises this for calculation rather than a practical sailing guide, period as a phase of mass construction in northern but doubtlessly stemmed from observations made European shipbuilding – the cog was increasingly by seafarers. That the descriptions are linked to an developed and enlarged (capacities up to 200 t are actual route has been proven by an experimental known), while the Nordic ship type almost van- sailing trip (Zwick 2017, 44-69). ished (Englert 2015, 277-285). Besides the specialised types of ships introduced Shipbuilding in the Schleswig area is proven in northern Europe by the 11th and 12th centuries, by dendrochronological data. At least five out of innovation also becomes apparent in a new type of 16 Danish medieval cargo vessels, among them urban settlement topography. Most of the early me- also the mentioned cogs, are of southern Jutland dieval trading places have vanished or were shifted, provenance (Daly 2015). Additionally, finds of while only a few experienced a resurgence – Ribe sintels have been unearthed in larger quantities in for instance. Schleswig was among the new found- the town. Some of them dating to the late 11th or ed towns which took place unusually late in the early 12th century are the oldest known finds in the 1050s or 1060s after Hedeby’s demise (Müller Baltic. Sintels are often related to the construction et  al. 2014; Müller 2016; Hilberg 2016; of cogs (Vlierman 1996; Siegloff 2012, 188- Rösch 2018a, 277-281). 200). Without relating features they could just as Schleswig is clearly distinct from its predecessor. well stem from maintenance activities on other ship A bag-shaped peninsula of 10-12 ha located on the types as the Karschau wreck in the Schlei demon- northern shore on the Schlei was chosen as loca- strates, or hull parts in secondary use (Zwick 2012, tion (Fig. 15). Within two to three decades the 289; Englert/Kühn 2015, 202, 228). However, whole peninsula as well as parts of the neighbour- dendrochronological data and finds indicate, that ing peninsula Holm were completely developed. the legend contains elements, that could actually The new town was shaped by a modern harbour have occurred. It is therefore highly likely that cogs and waterfront, the physical manifestation of pow- were constructed in Schleswig which makes the er and Christian belief (Radtke 2009). town a centre of technological innovation. In the last volume the author has pointed out that As the ships developed so did the practice of sea- the commercial waterfront design of early Schles­ faring. The legend of St. Thomas already pointed wig can be seen as a blueprint for many ports in towards multiple ship ownership. This practice northern Europe (Rösch 2019, 282-283). Exten- can be retraced to the first half of the 11th centu- sive excavations have revealed large parts of the ear- ry as three rune stones from Aarhus, Sporup (both ly waterfront, which have survived extraordinarily Denmark) and Västra Strö (Scania, Sweden) bear well in waterlogged conditions (Vogel 1983) and witness (Düwel 1987, 327). Merchant seafaring could finally be analysed in detail (Rösch 2018a; in the high middle ages was to a certain extent 2018b). The core element of the waterfront were 82 Weight and Value • Vol. 2 • 2021 Weight&Value02.indb 82 19.02.21 11:46 The technology of medieval maritime trade. An archaeological perspective on northern Germany and beyond large dam-like platforms emerging in several steps tFig. 14. The Lübeck seal into the shallow water (Fig. 15). The platforms of 1256 depicting a skipper succeeded a regular plot layout on the shore and and ship companion mak- were developed with houses, pens, ovens and other ing an oath (Ewe 1972). installations. These were built and maintained by different groups of actors involved in long-distance trade (Fig. 16). This was illustrated by the following findings: 1. The platforms were erected on the southern shore of the peninsula – the spot where the cargo ships from the Baltic Sea arrived, as well as barges from the southern shore of the Schlei, loaded with goods and carts from the North Sea harbour Hollingstedt. 2. All platforms were of the same design, but built in different years using wooden planks or small logs distinct in quality and shape. 3. A competition which became obvious by the observation that the dams were frequently ex- was the connection to a waterway, the infrastructure tended over the heads of their neighbours. in which it was embedded as well as a controlled sit- 4. The individual development on the platforms. uation (Fig. 16). The public open space enabled the 5. Depending on stage and location of the plat- eye-witnessing of transactions by authorities and form, cargo ships of higher capacities had the especially third-parties which played an important ability to moor at the heads. role in medieval jurisdiction (Rösch 2018a, 255- 6. A high amount of imported ware which 260; 2019). To date, harbour markets also have makes more than 1⁄3 of the total, was found. It been identified in Hedeby, Dorestad, London and is composed of Rhinish and Slavonic pottery, probably Lübeck, but they are likely to have existed the last exceeding the number in the town at other places too as their identification by archae- centre by four times. ological methods is rather complicated (Rösch 2019). Moreover early medieval written sources in- The platforms were suited to the needs of the dicate that harbours and markets are strongly linked 11th/12th centuries long-distance trader. They pro- (Middleton 2005). vided a locational advantage, due to direct access to Essentially the high-medieval long-distance trad- the water, space for housing, goods and the hosting er was subject to a broad variety of laws. This frag- of foreign merchants, a practice which is known in mentation has often been understood as restraint for Schleswig from the mid-12th century at the latest commercial activities. But it could also have borne (SlStR I § 31), and the possibility to directly load advantages in regard to communication, conflict and unload cargo vessels. They could be regarded de-escalation and possibilities of choice and design as private space and, when foreigners were host- as A. Cordes and P. Höhn (2018) pointed out. ed, as semi-public space. Comparable installations The basis of the legal protection of foreigners in the in different variations have been revealed at many medieval trading hubs were privileges, which were contemporary waterfronts at ports in England, granted to different groups. In early Schleswig King the Netherlands, Germany, Norway and Poland Canute the Holy (1080-1086) even legally equated (Rösch 2018a, 106-130, 239-255, fig. 21). all foreigners in 1084/86 with the local population The platforms were flanked by a network of nar- (Müller-Boysen 1990, 113), while in 1134/36 row corduroy streets, which linked the waterfront Colognians appear as one of the first privileged with the town centre while causeways running groups (Radtke 1995, 61). Besides the privileges, parallel to the shore provided access to plots and protection was also offered by ship communities or platforms (Fig. 16). As the platforms grew into guilds, allowing merchants to support each other the Schlei, so did the streets, whose front ends in foreign places (Müller-Boysen 1990, 62-78, might have been used to unload carts from the 136-137; Jahnke 2008; Rösch 2018a, 224-226). barges. Like the platforms, most streets were built The identification of the groups by archaeological and maintained individually by the residents with sources is almost impossible though, as they de- sections differing in material and quality (Rösch scribe a legal status or a form of self-organisation. 2018a, 92-106, 237-239), as could be observed in Security and control in Schleswig were pro- the archaeological record. vided by the Danish king and his local represent- The centrepiece of the commercial activities was atives, the jarls of Schleswig (later dukes). Their a huge undeveloped platform, which functioned as power manifested itself in the regular waterfront space for a so-called harbour market. This type of design, which goes back to a royal initiative or at market developed from the beach markets and trad- least permission (Rösch 2018a, 243). By around ing shores of the early middle ages. Their advantage 1200 we also have written evidence from the Weight and Value • Vol. 2 • 2021 83 Weight&Value02.indb 83 19.02.21 11:46 Felix Rösch Fig. 15. The topography oldest municipal law, containing several regu- sides of the narrowest part of the Schlei (which of early Schleswig based on lations of how to build and maintain bridges can be at Missunde or Stexwig) are as yet uniden- archaeological, architectural (= platforms) and streets (SlStR I § 41, § 86). tified. The mid-13th century Knytlinga Saga men- and written sources (graph- The king himself had a palatinate in the eastern tions a massive iron chain which was installed ics by the author, based part of the peninsula (Fig. 15). The building is as- under jarl Knut Laward in the 1120s and was able on KARTE LVERM SH sumed to have existed as early as the 11th century, to block the access to the inner Schlei (Nakoinz DTK 5). because several visits by the king are known. Ar- 2005, n. 21). A well-known archetype of such a chaeological proof in the form of the foundations practice is known from Constantinople, where of a hall building and a tower date not before the the main byzantine harbour, the Golden Horn, second half of the 12th century (Radtke 1977; could be blocked by a chain in the early 8th cen- Müller 2014, 360). Four castles situated along tury at the latest (Schreiner 2015). The fourth the Schlei played an important role not only in castle was the St. Jürgensburg located on an island the security of the town but also in the control in front of the harbour (Fig. 15). The castle which of the trade. One, the Oldenburg (old castle), a was erected in the 1120/30s at the latest, was the huge tower of 24 m in diameter, was located at seat of the jarls and dukes of Schleswig. From its the mouth of the Schlei. Here all ships heading location the actions taking place at the water- towards Schleswig had to pay a tax of 12 pennies front could be easily observed, while the castle (Radtke 1981a). Two fortifications at both itself demonstrated to incoming foreigners and 84 Weight and Value • Vol. 2 • 2021 Weight&Value02.indb 84 19.02.21 11:46 The technology of medieval maritime trade. An archaeological perspective on northern Germany and beyond inhabitants, the power of the town lords. Ships so-called landsdelsmønter (English: part-of-the-coun- Fig. 16. Schleswig, leaving the harbour had to pay a tax of six pennies try coins) the use of the coins was limited to the town Plessenstraße 83/3 excava- at the St. Jürgensburg. Several minor archaeolog- and southern Jutland. The system behind the curren- tion (dashed-and-dotted ical surveys have revealed an early fortification cy was the renovatio monetae, where new coins were lines). The topography and phase, a wall made of wood and sods which was circulated every five years (Fig. 17). On the one hand, development of the early followed by a brick construction. In addition sev- the obligatory local currency guaranteed a uniform waterfront. Private space eral wooden bridges running from the island to means of payment in the town and on the other hand is highlighted in dark grey, the town are known (Rösch et al. 2014). Last enabled the crown to generate considerable income public space in light grey but not least a signal-fire system might have ex- (Moesgaard et al. 2016). Parallel to the local coin- (graphics by the author). isted in the Schlei region (Lemm 2016). It can age, the weight-based currency system was at least to be stated that the defence and control systems of some extent still in use until around 1100. This is indi- Schleswig were strongly geared towards the mar- cated by the findings of a range of weights and scales, itime environment. Both, friends and foes, were the largest number stemming from the marketplace expected from the sea side in particular. (Steuer 1997; Rösch 2018a, 255-260). Trade was also controlled by local coinage of the The manifestation of power and the installation Danish kings minted in Schleswig since the 1070s. As of manifold security systems stands in contrast to Weight and Value • Vol. 2 • 2021 85 Weight&Value02.indb 85 19.02.21 11:46 Felix Rösch the early medieval emporia where buildings linked of the large cargo vessels. A manifold system of de- to authorities are rare and fortifications not known fence works and control mechanisms guaranteed at all – at least not before the 10th century, when the security and reliability and generated a substantial ramparts in Birka and Hedeby were built (Call- income to king and town. mer 2007, 243; Kleingärtner 2014, 144). Nevertheless, a town fortification surrounding the Fig. 17. Denier type Dbg. peninsula, did not exist in Schleswig before the late The later Middle Ages – a short glance at some 1304, struck presumably in 12th century too (Rösch 2018a, 186-189). aspects of the further development of the Schleswig under the reign As in Bardowick we also find many churches in technolo­g y and topography of trade of Svend Estridsen (1047 - Schleswig. By the end of the 12th century at the 1074) and circulated locally latest, seven churches and a monastery are known. From the 13th and especially the 14th century on- (Moesgaard et al. 2016, Already from the 1080s two churches, indicated wards the written and visual sources of northern fig. 12). by cemeteries with dendrochronologically dated Europe become more and more precise about tech- coffins, are archaeologically known (Fig. 15). The nologies of trade, actors and their networks. The early churches were probably made from wood. late medieval and early modern economic history One was erected at the waterfront and, not sur- can be regarded as well studied compared to earli- prisingly, dedicated to St. Nicholas. The other er periods (Kypta et al. 2019, 3-4). The analysis of stood in the centre of the old town, was dedicated correspondence of Hansa merchants for instance, to St. Trinitatis and discussed as the first cathe- have revealed detailed information about pan Eu- dral. By the 12th century the church was re-built ropean trade networks, naming single actors, places in stone, while the newly erected St. Peter took and trading processes, types and amounts of goods, over the role as episcopal church (Vogel 1971; diplomatic and plotting actions and many more (cf. Lüdtke 1997). In the northern edge of the old Burkhardt 2012; Ewert/Sunder 2012). town St. Clemens, close to the silted up Holmer The increasing number and quality of sources Noor, was located, while St. Maria still exists in along with well-preserved built environments led the fishermen’s suburb on the Holm. The location to detailed studies in the topography of the late of St. Olaf and St. Jakob is uncertain (Müller medieval seaside town by archaeologists, historians 2014; Auge/Hillebrand 2019, 537-670). This and geographers (Fig. 18). In particular, towns of high number of churches probably goes back to the Hanseatic League on the southern Baltic coast different groups/associations. Merchants from show similar features and had the same municipal Westphalia had strong ties to the town. For in- law. In the late medieval seaside town, the long-dis- stance the oldest municipal law, codified around tance trade has moved away from the harbour mar- 1200, goes back to the one of Soest, and West- kets to the merchants’ houses whose spacious hall phalians might have been organised in the par- houses (the so-called Dielenhäuser) became the ish of St.  Nikolai ( Johansen 1975; Radtke semi-public spaces of trade relations. The market- 1981b). St. Cle­mens and St. Olaf became popular place has shifted to the centre of the town and now in 11th and 12th century Scandinavia and there- held a primary function to supply the local popu- fore are likely to be among the earliest churches lation. Furthermore, the town was now secured in Schleswig too. St. Clemens points to the initia- by a fortification which completely surrounded it. tives of Danish elites (nobleman or the king) who In front of the seaside walls, the harbour was lo- wanted to further mercantile activities under their cated consisting of a more or less open space used control (Rieger 2019a, 74-76). When abroad in for loading and unloading the vessels, mooring in- non-Latin-Christian lands, Christian merchants stallations as jetties, piers or quays and cranes. The took a priest with them. After trade connections goods were brought into the town through several became more institutionalised, it was possible gates via so-called Hafenstegstraßen (harbour jetty to erect their own church and have a temporary streets) on whose sides the Dielenhäuser were ar- priest installed there. Solely in exceptional cases a ranged gable-end onto street forming a continuous church could be built by foreign merchants when front. In contrast to the earlier trading places, the they stayed in a catholic town ( Jahnke 2019). churches were lower in numbers but of impressive The case study Schleswig has given an insight architecture. Also, monasteries of mendicant or- into an 11/12th century maritime trading hub. The ders had found their way into town. Furthermore, complex and differentiated topography is clearly town halls with richly decorated fronts symbolising distinct from the early medieval coastal trading power and status of the new rulers of the town, the sites like Reric. Even though a regular and planned burghers represented by the town council (Hoff- layout can be stated for both places, the design of mann/Lubowitz 1995; Piekalski 2001; Ham- the waterfront, compiled of water-related proper- mel-Kiesow 2005; Müller 2010; 2011; Rösch ties and harbour installations, a marketplace and 2019, 286-289). churches, dedicated to patronages of seafarers and These topographical items, most of them still traders, can be understood as a reflection of an in existence, shape our image and understanding increased volume of trade and more professional of the medieval seaside town to the present. That actors. This also became obvious in the emergence they became wide spread demonstrates the success 86 Weight and Value • Vol. 2 • 2021 Weight&Value02.indb 86 19.02.21 11:46 The technology of medieval maritime trade. An archaeological perspective on northern Germany and beyond of a seaborne trade related topography. In this re- tre of Lübeck, the Hauptmarkt (main market), can Fig. 18. View of gard the design of 11th/12th century Schleswig can be recorded from 1158/59. By 1180, shore and Stralsund from 1592 by be understood as an intermediate stage in the de- harbour have been separated from the settlement Sebastian Münster. Many velopment. By the first half of the 13th century sev- by the first town wall (Rieger/Jahnke 2018; typical topographical ele- eral measures are recorded in the town, that point Rieger 2019a; 2019b). ments of the late medieval towards an adoption of this new topography in A greater number of interesting finds have been Hansa town are displayed: Schleswig too (Vogel 1999; Rösch 2018a, 270- made in the earliest layers of the Gründungsvier- a harbour with jetties and 275). tel: ampulla shaped cast tin objects, consisting of a open space, a surrounding The latest results from the extensive Gründungs- round coin-like centre of just 1 cm in diameter with wall with many gates at the viertel (founding quarter) excavations conducted different motifs and a hoop (Fig. 19). The function harbour, a skyline domi- from 2009 to 2017 in the town of Lübeck, called of the objects is still uncertain, but the hoop could nated by churches, monastic Queen of the Hanseatic League, have virtually have served to attached the item to something by buildings of mendicant delivered a blueprint for such a development. The a cord. D. Rieger (2019a, 67) discusses the items orders and the gable of a excavations revealed that settlement activities in as potential early seals, which would be an out- town hall (Möller 2005, Lübeck are considerably older than the historical standing early proof of institutionalised quality fig. 1). records – the famous “double foundation” by the control. Seals and especially cloth seals appear in count of Holstein in 1143 and Henry the Lion, almost every European commercial centre by the duke of Saxonia in 1158 ­– indicate. Probably as 13th century. They were introduced to guarantee early as around 1100 a settlement was erected at the the quality of products by officials which now Trave river, on a peninsula consisting of shore par- could be bought unseen. The seals, mostly made allel wattle-wood houses in a linear arrangement, of lead, were in use until the 18th century reaching a large open space interpreted as marketplace, a its peak in the Early Modern Period (Egan 1994; (surrounding?) ditch and a potential church ded- Hittinger 2008). icated to St. Clemens – a topography of trade fa- miliar to us by now. By 1143, the date of the first foundation, the topography massively changed. tFig. 19. Tin objects of The houses at the shore vanished and plots were set unknown purpose found in up and developed on both sides of a street running Lübeck. Have they func- from the town centre rectangular to the shore – the tioned as early seals? predecessor of a later Hafenstegstraße. After Hen- (Rieger 2019, fig. 20). ry the Lion took over, a unitary structuring of the plots could be recorded, which was highly suited to mercantile needs. The plots compiled a large, mul- ti-storied front building with cellar, followed by a small court with adjoining buildings and a building at the back containing wells and cesspits. Many of the front buildings were constructed using the sill beam technique with standardised timbers. While the market space at the shore still existed until the end of the 12th century, a central market in the cen- Weight and Value • Vol. 2 • 2021 87 Weight&Value02.indb 87 19.02.21 11:46 Felix Rösch uFig. 20. Bundle of iron the late 14th century, when town officials ordered bars (Ossowski 2014, containers to be signed by maker’s marks (Ho­ fig. 7). meyer 1870; Koch 1930; Falk 2003). As the number of written sources in general rapid­ly increased in the Late Middle Ages, so too did the written communication in terms of trade in particular. While texts on parchment or paper are seldom found by archaeologists, styli, and in some cases also the associated wax boards, are known in greater numbers. Styli were made of metal or bone and primarily used to engrave wax boards. They appear in the Early Middle Ages in the cleri- cal environment and increase in numbers from the An outstanding archaeological highlight in re- 12th century onwards indicating a growing literacy. gard to the technology of late medieval trade is the Their use in trade contexts is documented since the so-called Copper Ship, a ship which sunk around 10th century (Krüger 2002, 1-85). Additionally, 1408 in the Bay of Gdansk (Poland). Much of its two regional types of documents are known which cargo has survived, compiling of copper ingots, also have survived in the soil: the western Russian bundles of iron ingots (Fig. 20), barrels filled with birch bark letters and the Bryggen runic inscrip- iron lumps, wood tar and potash as well as wooden tions. More than a thousand, most of them have planks and wainscots just to mention the highlights. been excavated in the medieval town of Novgorod, Many goods were signed by merchants’ marks (also are known of the first type. They are mainly written known as house marks or personal mark) – on the in Old Novgorod dialect, but also other languages barrels alone, 28 different marks could be identified have been identified, and date from the 11th to 15th (Fig. 21). It is still debated if merchants’ marks were century with peaks in the 12th and 14th/15th cen- a means of identifying goods, signified quantities or tury. The letters are of personal as well as business batches of goods, have been related to quality con- character containing information to trade includ- trol, denoted ownership or recognised those, who ing cargo lists, tribute or debt (Schaeken 2012, were to receive them (Ossowski 2014b). While 13-71). The Bryggen inscriptions, named after the such marks are known since the Early Middle Ages famous Bryggen excavation in Bergen, Norway, is and even earlier, they were increasingly in use since compiled of almost 700 runic inscriptions on bone uFig. 21. Barrels and bundles were stowed on top of each other in the hull of the Gdansk Copper Wreck (modified after Ossowski 2014, fig. 20). 88 Weight and Value • Vol. 2 • 2021 Weight&Value02.indb 88 19.02.21 11:46 The technology of medieval maritime trade. An archaeological perspective on northern Germany and beyond and wood dating from the 11th to the 14th century. and a public marketplace, several so-called mer- Most of the inscriptions were used as markers of chants’ churches as well as comprehensive facilities property while personal texts proved the everyday for the protection and control of town and trade. use of runic language at least until the Late Middle In addition, changes in shipbuilding, shipping op- Ages (Spurkland 2010, 131-202). erations and also the introduction of local coinage have been discussed. In the end, the change to an urban topography Conclusion made it clear, on the basis of the most recent re- sults from the large-scale excavations in Lübeck, The technology of medieval maritime trade is a how it was to become characteristic for the Han- broad field covering instruments, containers, vehi- seatic towns in the 13th century and beyond. The cles and currencies as well as the infrastructure and confident status of a now largely independent and topography of trading sites. It spans not only a wide well-networked merchant was reflected in the area and an extensive chronological depth, but was prestigious hall houses, impressive church build- also subject to numerous changes. “The” technol- ings and town halls and also a business-orientated ogy of medieval trade did not therefore exist. In- harbour operation. At the same time, rapidly rising stead, we are dealing with a whole series of various literacy towards the end of the Middle Ages, which, aspects which on the one hand were continually as was able to be shown, is tangible in archaeologi­ adapted to dynamically changing basic conditions cal finds, ensured not only decisive technological and needs and on the other hand, however, drove advances but also a clearly better source for research developments themselves. The aim of this paper into late medieval trade technologies. was to provide an overview of the archaeological To summarise, the insights presented here should legacy of these technologies; in the process, special have illustrated not only the diversity and complex- importance was granted to the trade-related topog­ ity of medieval trading technologies, but were also raphy, a rather peripheral topic up to now among able to demonstrate what contribution archaeolo- the otherwise comprehensive literature on medie- gy was capable of accomplishing in the interaction val trade and traffic. with the parallel tradition. If it is suggested, for In order to do justice to the diversity and dynamic future consideration, to devote more attention to of the topic, an approach was selected that would the topography of trading centres, it can also be re- enable an insight into – to showcase as it were – garded as an integrated expression of trading tech- three different historical situations. At the centre of nologies which merged with almost all aspects of the considerations stood in each case a historically medieval society. important and archaeologically well-researched trading centre whose topography and infrastructure were analysed. Furthermore, the material legacy of Bibliography the corresponding period was presented, which was able to provide information on mobility, transport, Adam 1996 bartering and purchasing, weighing and measuring, Adam, H. Das Zollwesen im Fränkischen Reich und as well as control, credibility and security. das spätkarolingische Wirtschaftsleben. Ein Über- The case studies comprised the historic Re- blick über Zoll, Handel und Verkehr im 9. Jahrhun- ric (Groß Strömkendorf ) in the Bay of Wismar, dert. Vierteljahrschrift für Sozial- und Wirtschafts- Schles­wig and Lübeck. 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Address of the author Felix Rösch Georg-August-Universität Göttingen Seminar für Ur- und Frühgeschichte Nikolausberger Weg 15 37073 Göttingen Germany felixlennart.roesch@uni-goettingen.de Reference link fig. 4 http://www.cngcoins.com, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=4041324 Weight and Value • Vol. 2 • 2021 97 Weight&Value02.indb 97 19.02.21 11:46 98 Weight and Value • Vol. 2 • 2021 Weight&Value02.indb 98 19.02.21 11:46 Trade and containerisation Perspectives from the medieval Indian Ocean world by Elizabeth Lambourn Indian Ocean, containerisation, medieval, ceramics, sacks, bales, textiles This contribution begins with an overview of the scholarship on pre-modern Indian Ocean trade and current knowledge about technologies of trade in the western Indian Ocean. Viewing containerisation as a distinct and often neglected technology within tools of exchange, the sources and issues associated with the understanding of historical practices of containerisation of traded commodities across this vast, culturally diverse area are then explored in more detail. Parts two and three of the contribution focus on both hard containerisation in the form of ceramic storage and transport jars, and on soft containerisation as represented by sacks and bales. Although ceramics are the most visible and durable indexes of medieval exchanges and trade, in the Indian Ocean world textile bales and sacks were the preferred materials for packing and transporting solid commodities. Future studies of Indian Ocean trade must continue to work with both technologies, however varied their patterns of survival and problematical their interpretation. Handel und Containerisierung. Perspektiven aus der Welt des Indischen Ozeans während des Mittelalters Indischer Ozean, Containerisierung, Mittelalter, Keramik, Säcke, Ballen, Textilien Dieser Beitrag beginnt mit einem Überblick über die Forschungen zum vormodernen Handel im Indischen Ozean und den aktuellen Wissensstand hinsichtlich der Technologien des Handels im westlichen Indischen Ozean. Unter Berücksichtigung der Containerisierung als eigenständige und oft vernachlässigte Methodik innerhalb der Austauschinstrumente werden dann die Quellen und Fragen im Zusammenhang mit dem Verständnis der historischen Praktiken der Containerisierung von Handelsgütern in diesem riesigen, kultu- rell vielfältigen Gebiet näher untersucht. Die Teile zwei und drei des Beitrags konzentrieren sich sowohl auf die harte Containerisierung in Form von keramischen Lager- und Transportgläsern als auch auf die weiche Containerisierung mittels Säcken und Ballen. Obwohl Keramik der sichtbarste und haltbarste Indikator für mittelalterlichen Austausch und Handel ist, waren in der Welt des Indischen Ozeans Textilballen und -säcke das bevorzugte Material für die Verpackung und den Transport von festen Gütern. Zukünftige Studien über den Handel im Indischen Ozean werden weiterhin beide Materialgruppen untersuchen müssen, auch wenn ihre Erhaltungsmuster unterschiedlich und ihre Interpretation im Einzelfall problematisch bleiben werden. Weight and Value • Vol. 2 • 2021 99 Weight&Value02.indb 99 19.02.21 11:46 Elizabeth Lambourn Trade in the scholarship on the prevalent above the equator, but also by the com- Indian Ocean world parative safety afforded by coasts and islands. The open-ocean crossings between Mala­bar and the The Indian Ocean world encompassed from the Arabian Peninsula and between the Coromandel beginning an extraordinary range of trade systems coast or Sri Lanka and areas along the Straits of and practices which only increased in complexity Malacca were the principal long-­distance routes and variety as trans-regional trade boomed from sailed in the medieval period while in practice, the the 8th century onwards. Long-distance trade in Indian Ocean below the equator was only rarely the premodern Indian Ocean world operated traversed. The settlement of Madagascar around overwhelmingly through intersecting regional 700 CE by Austronesian populations originating circuits, only rarely was direct voyaging between in southern Borneo, now believed to have been the extreme ends of the ocean undertaken (Abu- undertaken through open ocean voyages of over Lughod 1991; Beaujard 2019). Modern defini- 3,000 km (1,600 NM), perhaps via the Chagos Is- tions of the Indian Ocean (Fig. 1) delimit an area lands, represents the longest ocean voyaging known extending from the Gulf and Red Sea in the west in the area before the modern period (Wilms- to East Asian waters, commonly called the China hurst et al. 2011, 1815-1820; Hoogervorst/ Sea, in the east, and on the north-south axis from Boivin 2018). Only during the later 8th and 9th the northern Indian Ocean coasts down to south- centuries did ships sail directly between the Gulf ern Africa and western Australia where it joins the and eastern China (Hourani 1995; Belitung Southern Ocean at the latitude of 60o S. In practice, Wreck 2004). Yet even within these narrowed the natural maritime connectivity between the parameters, the distances involved remained huge; Gulf of Thailand and the China Sea has meant that at 70,560,000 km2 (27,240,000  mi2) the Indian Indian Ocean studies extend into the western Pacif- Ocean is the world’s third largest ocean or, put ic, or Indo-Pacific. Geographical definitions aside, another way, it represents 1⁄5 of the globe’s oceanic qFig. 1. Principal regions until the advent of steam allowed regular open- surface. and sites mentioned in the ocean crossings, circulation across this vast area was Over the course of the last two decades the Indi- chapter. heavily patterned not only by the monsoon system an Ocean has become an established unit of study T ig r is R Hakata Eu p hr R. Ya Bay . Baghdad at I nd us es ng R. Alexandria tze Basra R. Cairo Changsha Myos Hormos Siraf FUJIAN Quanzhou Quseir ONG Me GD AN ko n g Khambhat GU Berenike Mecca Guangzhou R. ‘Aydhab Diu Arabian Bay of Re Sea Bengal Aihole Martaban dS . R Sana’a ea Nile Phanom o m andel Ma Sharma Mamallapuram Surin wreck la b a Aden Socotra C or r Mantai Kodungallur PASAI Barus t s a MALDIVES o BORNEO C Belitung wreck ili ah Shanga / Manda Sw N Chagos Isl. Kilwa MADAGASCAR © S.Ballard (2020) 100 Weight and Value • Vol. 2 • 2021 Weight&Value02.indb 100 19.02.21 11:46 Trade and containerisation. Perspectives from the medieval Indian Ocean world and embedded in the institutions and structures of genetic material that could be recovered at many academia. The Indian Ocean is an exciting place Indian Ocean sites and the rich data that could to do archaeology and to write history because of emerge from its analysis and broader interpretation the wealth of new sites and source materials con- (among the many project publications see Fuller stantly emerging but it should be obvious from et al. 2011; Jones et al. 2013; Crowther et al. what follows, that the narrative is barely half writ- 2016). Nevertheless, data on trade remains uneven- ten and that no synthetic overviews of many of the ly spread across this huge area reflecting both the technologies of interest to this research project are variety of regional cultural traditions and practices, yet possible. A thriving body of scholarly literature different local conditions of survival for material has been generated both as a direct contribution to and/or written sources, and diverse colonial and Indian Ocean studies and as part of more nation- national engagements with history and archaeolo- ally or regionally focused inquiries into maritime gy since the 19th century. In practice this means, for spaces and histories. Medieval trade is a prominent example, that for eastern and southern Africa no leitmotif of survey works on the Indian Ocean it- autochtonous written sources survive before 1500, self (Pearson 2003; Sheriff 2010; Beaujard with the exception of a small number of Islamic in- 2012; 2019; Alpers 2013) and of more region- scriptions, even though the area has a long tradition ally focused studies (monographic, co-authored of archaeological investigation and more recently and edited) such as those on East Africa (Hor- has been at the heart of new techniques of aDNA ton/Middleton 2001; Wynne-Jones/La recovery and analysis. China, by contrast preserves, Violette 2018), the Red Sea (Lunde/Porter in addition to archaeological material including 2004; Power 2012), South Asia (Wink 1990; abundant shipwrecks, architectural remains and Malekandathil 2010) and its sub-regions, detailed written records for coastal ports and trade notably Malabar (Kooria/Pearson 2018; thanks to its extensive bureaucratic systems and the Prange 2018), western India (Sheikh 2010; good preservation of these sources. Varadarajan 2011) and the Bay of Bengal area In South and South-East Asia, many written (Mukherjee 2006; 2011), maritime South East documents for medieval trade history survive in Asia (Lombard 1990; Reid 1990; Lieberman the form of charters and grants on stone, or in- 2003-2009), and East Asian waters (Sen 2003; cised onto copper plates, since writing supports Schottenhammer 2007; 2008). The islands such as palm leaves and paper cannot survive long of the Indian Ocean and their trade are most of- in the monsoon climate (Salomon 1998; Davis ten subsumed within larger regional or thematic 2017). Tombstones constitute another important studies although a number of edited volumes spe- epigraphic category particularly for Muslim trade cifically on islands include material relevant to me- communities (Guillot 1998-2003; Guillot/ dieval trade (Biedermann/Strathern 2017; Kalus 2008); grafittos and dedicatory inscrip- Schnepel/Alpers 2018). The advances of the tions represent another sub-category (for exam- last two decades are noticeable when looking back ple Strauch 2012). However only a fraction of at pioneering early surveys such as Kirti N. Chaud- these written sources have been fully published, huri’s Trade and Civilization in the Indian Ocean. in no small part because of the variety of region- An Economic History from the Rise of Islam to 1750 al languages and scripts in which they are writ- (Chaudhuri 1985) which in fact included few ten and the decline of epigraphy as a discipline examples that were both medieval and directly over the course of the twentieth century. Ranabir maritime. This is a reflection of the comparative Chakravarti’s consistent use of medieval epigraphy paucity of synthetic studies available in the 1980s for the study of medieval Indian trade (for exam- and both the heterogeneity and poor publication ple Chakravarti 2004) and the equally promi- of primary source materials. Even some more re- nent use of epigraphy in the study of Tamil trade cent surveys and edited volumes promising medi- networks (Christie 1998; Karashima 2002 to eval coverage in fact present material overwhelm- cite just two) illustrate the huge potential of this ingly focused on the period after 1500. The excava- material. Beyond these epigraphic sources, howev- tion or identification of new source materials, their er, documents are otherwise rare. The earliest and interpretation and wider circulation, remains key largest surviving documentary corpus for the Indi- to the development of trade histories of the Indian an Ocean are the ca. 500 items relating to Jewish Ocean before 1500 and explains why this chapter trade with India during the late 11th and 12th cen- takes the opportunity to focus on the question of turies preserved in the Cairo Genizah and which the containerisation of bulk trade. are still in the course of publication (Goitein Today, histories of medieval trade are recover- 1973; Goitein/Friedman 2008; 2009; 2010a; able to varying degrees through a wide range of 2010b; 2013). Second are the documents excavat- primary sources, written and material, and in- ed from the Ayyubid layers (ruled 1171-1260) at creasingly through genomic data derived from the port of Quseir on the Red Sea coast, here again aDNA (ancient DNA). The ERC-funded Sealinks only a portion have been published (Guo 2004) Project (2008-2013) was crucial in demonstrat- while work on integrating textual and archaeolog- ing the wealth of faunal, botanical and human ical sources is still in its infancy (Burke 2007). Weight and Value • Vol. 2 • 2021 101 Weight&Value02.indb 101 19.02.21 11:46 Elizabeth Lambourn Archaeological data across the area is no less varied, Heng 2012) – or on specific mercantile groups or patterned by local climate (the monsoon is unkind trade diasporas (Abraham 1988; Risso 1995; to organic remains and the aDNA it might pre- Lombard/Aubin 2000; Feener/Sevea 2009; serve), highly variable national engagements with, Chaffee 2018; Lambourn 2018). and investments in, archaeology, and by increasing- The Indian Ocean world has nowhere near the ly transparent nationalist agendas. These variables thickness or consistency of maritime archaeology are rarely discussed in formal academic literature of the Mediterranean or North Sea. If the Red Sea, but form part of the knowledge base of all field- the Gulf, the Swahili and Chinese coasts have seen work-active researchers across this area. regular and thorough archaeological excavations, The complexity of the source materials and their and South East Asia is fast catching up, South Asia very uneven patterning probably explains why still presents sometimes substantial blanks. Besides more narrowly focused studies often offer better excavations of port sites (see earlier bibliography coverage of medieval trade, even if they may not for archaeological investigations), medieval ship- always position themselves explicitly within Indian wrecks and their cargoes are increasingly being Ocean studies or offer comparative perspectives. identified and studied particularly in the eastern Port sites or entrepots constitute a prominent unit sector where shallower waters make their location of analysis, their study contributes to understand- and recovery much easier than in the western In- ings of traded commodities, the physical settings dian Ocean (Flecker 2002; Belitung Wreck and infrastructure of trade as well as filling out 2004; Harkantiningsih et al. 2010; Krahl sometimes sketchy understandings of trade net- et al. 2010; Liebner 2014). Important sections works and mercantile communities. Port studies relevant to medieval Indian Ocean trade can also are available for sites on the Swahili coast (Chit- be found in commodity histories, for example for tick 1974; 1984; Horton 1996; Meier 2016), sugar (Sato 2015), aromatics (McHugh 2012) the Red Sea (Peacock/Blue 2006; 2011; van or textiles (Riello/Parthasarasthi 2009) and der Veen 2011), the Gulf and Arabian Penin- in museum catalogues (for Indian textiles Barnes sula (Margariti 2007; Whitehouse 2009; 1997, for example). However it is probably true to Rougeulle 2015), South Asia (Shokoohy say that the majority of scholarship on medieval In- 1988; 2003; Shokoohy/Shokoohy 2010; dian Ocean trade is still found in single articles or Nanji 2011; Carswell et al. 2013), South East book chapters spread across an extraordinarily wide Asia (Guillot 1998-2003; Guillot/Kalus range of journals or edited volumes. Edited confer- 2008; Perret/Surachman 2009) and East Asia ence volumes as well as Festschriften for colleagues (Schottenhammer 2001). Nevertheless, the represent another important output. In 2013 Pal- very varied scales and approaches of these volumes grave began its Indian Ocean World Studies series – some archaeological, some architectural, oth- which now includes 22 thematic volumes, many ers epigraphic, some combining multiple sources, edited, with a broad temporal frame that often some monographs, others multi-authored edit- includes substantial medieval material (for exam- ed volumes like the last two – also makes direct ple Schottenhammer 2019). Ohio University comparison extremely difficult. A number of port-­ Press followed shortly afterwards with its Indian focused edited volumes have also been published Ocean Studies series; additionally Harrassowitz (Mukherjee 2014; Boussac et al. 2016). More Verlag’s East Asian Maritime History regularly ex- generally, these and other major topics are covered plores the Indo-Pacific frontier (Schottenham- in single articles or book chapters found across mer 2008; Kautz 2010). Routledge’s pioneering an extraordinarily wide range of publications. A Indian Ocean Series begun in 2000 has had a more French database project APIM (Atlas des Ports et chequered history. Primus Books, publishing out Itinéraires Maritimes de l’Islam Médiéval) gathers of Delhi, is a reliable source of monographs and substantial data on medieval ports either located edited volumes on various aspects of Indian Ocean directly in Islamic lands or that were part of sub- studies. These patterns in the scholarship are due stantially Muslim networks but is not yet openly in no small part to the comparative youth of the accessible (Apim no date). field and the suitability of the article format for Focused discussions of regional trade or trade presenting new primary sources or exploring new systems in the medieval period are more often approaches. However, the heterogeneous nature of found within the context of the survey works and the sources and scholarship themselves also make port studies just discussed, a reflection no doubt of mesoscale synthetic studies challenging to write. the challenges involved in developing longue durée It is against this background that the following or even medium range synthetic studies from such sections of this contribution address some of the uneven sources. Only a very small number of mon- key issues about technologies of trade posed by the ographic studies and edited volumes focus specifi- ERC project WEIGHTANDVALUE. Due to the cally on regional trade or trade networks in the me- author’s expertise on the western Indian Ocean and dieval period – for example for India ( Jain 1990; exchanges between the Middle East and South Asia Chakravarti 2020), the Yemen (Vallet 2010) the following sections mainly focus on this area. or the East Asian-western Pacific area (Sen 2003; 102 Weight and Value • Vol. 2 • 2021 Weight&Value02.indb 102 19.02.21 11:46 Trade and containerisation. Perspectives from the medieval Indian Ocean world Terminology should, however, be wary of thinking of Muslim Rich epigraphic remains from South Asia and traders as a monolithic block, the enlarged Muslim textual sources from the Islamic world have left umma was as ethnically, linguistically and cultural- plentiful linguistic evidence for the terminologies ly diverse as it was religiously varied. Furthermore, used to refer to merchants and traders. While Muslims from the Arabian Peninsula and Eastern the dominant term in Arabic is tājir (pl. tujjār), Mediterranean were initially only one of many commonly translated as trader or merchant West Asian merchant diasporas of different faiths (dependent on context), South Asian epigraphy who engaged in Indian Ocean trade, notably Zo- reveals a far wider range of terms (see Sircar roastrians, Eastern Christians and Jews (Wink 1960) however there currently exists no synthetic 1990). In the Indian Ocean area they traded with survey of their application at specific periods Jain, Hindu and Buddhist mercantile communities or their changing use over time. One Sanskrit who, in the last two cases, played an equally impor- term, vanij, found its way into multiple northern tant part in the spread of their faiths beyond South and southern languages becoming, for example, Asia (Sen 2003). Sojourners, usually male, became vanikar in Tamil. The wide prevalence of the permanent residents and begot new bi-cultural and term in the Indian Ocean world is borne out by bi-lingual communities which in turn hosted new its arabicisation as baniya in medieval Arabic to arrivals and assisted them in their trade. The exam- designate any South Asian merchant community ple of the Tamil Muslim merchants, whose material or individual. Some of the more focused studies culture and language make them a wholesale part of specific occupations and terminologies make of the southern Indian Tamil world (Shokoohy clear that ownership of the infrastructure of 2003), underlines the dangers of relying exclusively mobility (ships) conferred particular power on religious labels to understand mercantile groups and prestige as seen in Chakravarti ’s (2000) and cultures. work on the title nauvittaka (one whose wealth The ample literature on ports and regional trade is derived from ships) in Sanskrit and the Indic systems leaves no doubt that the ports and entre- languages, and the term nakhuda, literally “ship pots of the Indian Ocean rim were home to a rich master” in Persian and Arabic. Work on Genizah patchwork of mercantile communities, usually liv- documents has only reinforced this centrality while ing in their own quarters and provided with their building on Chakravarti’s work (see the extensive own places of worship and, if necessary, burial discussion in Goitein/Friedman 2008, 125- grounds. Written sources, literary and epigraphic, 156). Chakravarti’s (2020) work on the role suggest that in much of the Indian Ocean world, of the so-called rājaśresthī or “royal merchant” as across wider Afro-Eurasia, mercantile commu- is equally important in confirming that Indian nities of all faiths operated semi-autonomously rulers also participated directly in maritime trade within their host polities and each had their own via appointed merchants, and sometimes owned head or representative, often appointed in consul- their own ships, a situation seen again among tation with local authorities. At the community Muslim polities around the Arabian Peninsula level, law followed the Late Antique principle of and along the Gulf notably through Geniza legal extra-territoriality, the notion that faith or sources. Many other trade-related titles and terms community specific legal principles and practices are known, some widely used such as shahbandar operated within communities irrespective of the or ‘port master’ (Moreland 1920; Matthee location in which they resided (Lambourn 2008, 2012), others more regionally specific such as pati 56-60). The surviving written evidence is only (Gamliel 2018). Many more are attested through rarely of sufficient resolution to capture detailed epigraphs, documents and other sources and still examples, however, the Cairo Genizah documents remain to be thoroughly studied. suggest that Middle Eastern Jews in India had their own courts for the resolution of communal Social and political organisation of trade or internal trade disputes. Although we have no The exponential growth of maritime trade in the synthetic study of the issue, primary source mate- Indian Ocean from the 8th century onwards was ac- rial from South Asia and the Far East suggests that companied by a corresponding increase in human it was only in cases requiring capital punishment, circulation which in turn diversified the landscape notably for murder, that legal authority passed up- of trade even further. Diaspora networks have been wards to the local ruler or governor or, in China, if a feature of Afro-Eurasian trade since prehistory, the dispute was between two different trade com- this continued to be the case in the medieval In- munities. The situation may have been different on dian Ocean but was accompanied by a major dif- the sparsely populated Swahili coast which lay out- fusion of what eventually became world faiths. side the direct control of landed polities and may The centuries after 700 CE are widely recognized have allowed full autonomy, however, at present to have been a critical period in the Islamisation we lack the written or material evidence to clarify of eastern Africa, South Asia and maritime South this situation. East Asia largely as a result of mercantile settlement All trade systems are meshes of networks of var- and inter-marriage (Wink 1990; Risso 1995). We ying scales. In the Indian Ocean system, trade was Weight and Value • Vol. 2 • 2021 103 Weight&Value02.indb 103 19.02.21 11:46 Elizabeth Lambourn heavily reliant on chains of intermediaries, fronted work but provide valuable insights into their organ- at port level either by formal trade associations, by isation, trade and religious practices. There is every state officials, by acculturated longterm sojourners reason to suppose that the Indian merchants who or more loosely organised individuals, or indeed visited and settled at other Indian Ocean ports and by a combination of these. With commodities trade centres – the Yemeni city of San’a famously originating deep inland or in challenging, alien had a baniya quarter where Hindus and Jains re- environments such as rainforest or desert, very few sided (Serjeant 1983), medieval Quanzhou had merchants traded directly at source. Indeed, the Hindu temples built in the southern Indian style sources of valuable commodities may have been to serve its Tamil merchant community (Guy kept obscure deliberately to control supplies, prices 1993-1994) – continued to operate within these and ultimately maximise tax revues. Ports and en- structures even if we currently lack direct evidence trepots constituted the termini of complex and ex- for this. In South Asia, West Asian merchants and tensive networks supplying items such as gold, ivory other diasporas are unlikely to have been unable to and slaves from local and regional miners, hunters operate without the agreement of Indian trade as- or brokers across Africa (Wynne-Jones/La Vio­ sociations and may, on occasion, have adopted sim- lette 2018), spices, aromatics, birds and other ilar institutions. The Anjuvanam is believed to have forest products obtained from foraging commu- been a trade association of West Asian merchants nities in South and South East Asia (Morrison and is referenced in inscriptions at various ports 2002; Ptak 2012), iron and high grade steel pro- sites in southern India up until the 13th century duced by artisans in southern India and Sri Lanka (Subbarayalu 2012). Chinese sources too speak (Craddock 2013), printed cottons from crafts of a head of “foreign” merchants (Chaffee 2018). communities in western Indian (Barnes 1997), Trade associations such as these are probably only horses herded by pastoralist or bedouin communi- the top, the most visible component of a complex ties in Iran and the Arabian Peninsula (Lambourn mercantile social landscape comprising groupings 2016b), to highlight just a few commodity net- structured as much by occupation as by faith or lan- works. Many supply networks ran to inland centres guage. Roxani Margariti (2014b) has exploited of production but we should also recognise the the high resolution of Genizah documents to give a importance of regional maritime networks in the detailed insight into the non-Jewish business part- supply of major ports and entrepots such as Khamb- nerships of Jewish traders in India in the 12th centu- hat, Aden or Guangzhou. Within a trade system ry but on the whole only a handful of sources give as complex and large as this the idea of “source” is us detailed insights into these exchange relations. relative and from the perspective of Middle East- ern merchants, for example, the ports of southern India or China represented a substantial leap clos- Tools of exchange er to the source of commodities such as pepper or porcelains even if they remained distant from the Information about tools of exchange in the Indi- sources of production themselves. Greater proxim- an Ocean world is peppered across sources with few ity to sources likely ensured access to better quality, synthetic overviews to date. Nevertheless, as one unadulterated products, on occasion it also allowed would expect of a trade system made up of over- for a production more tailored to export tastes, as is lapping regional circuits, tools remained extreme- seen in the case of Indian textiles made for the Mid- ly varied across the area in the premodern period dle Eastern and South East Asian markets (Barnes and merchants and intermediaries are likely to have 1997) or Chinese porcelains made for the Middle been able to operate within multiple tool sets at any East (Krahl et al. 2010). However, probably the one location. most significant benefit was the increased profit There is no convincing evidence for the idea that gained by cutting out at least some of the middle Arabic became the lingua franca of premodern men involved in such long supply chains. Indian Ocean trade although it is true to say that One notable characteristic of South Asian trade many languages across the Indian Ocean integrated between the 8th century and 13th centuries is the Arabic and Persian loanwords, and in some cases existence of formalised mercantile associations or adopted the Arabic script too (Tamil and Malay groupings, vaniggrama or “community of mer- for example among Islamised communities). If chants” in Sanskrit (Christie 1998, 242). While anything, local documents and inscriptions sug- some appear to have operated at the level of a sin- gest that regional languages remained important, gle urban centre, others such as the Ayyavole 500, with longterm sojourners and diasporas effectively originally from Aihole in what is now Maharashtra, bi-lingual to the extent that they often integrated were active trans-regionally. They and other associ- regional administrations (Chaffee 2018 for Chi- ations have left donative inscriptions across South na; Shokoohy 2003 and Lambourn 2016a for and South East Asia, and even in coastal China South Asian examples). The Genizah documents (Abraham 1988; Christie 1998; Karashima evidence the extent to which Indian loanwords 2002; Sinopoli 2003, 103-105; Subbarayalu permeated the language of Middle Eastern Jewish 2012; 2015) which not only map their core net- communities, sometimes even several generations 104 Weight and Value • Vol. 2 • 2021 Weight&Value02.indb 104 19.02.21 11:46 Trade and containerisation. Perspectives from the medieval Indian Ocean world after they had ceased travelling to India for trade research by Michael Flecker, proving the use of an (Lambourn 2014). Indonesian metrological system and thus the Indo- Merchants would have needed to be bi-lingual nesian origin of the finds (see Belitung Wreck also in a more metaphorical sense when dealing 2004, 660-663 with further bibliography). With with local currencies, and systems of weights and no excavated medieval shipwrecks from the west- measures. Roxani Margariti’s (2014a) work on ern Indian Ocean these assemblages can so far only monetisation in the western Indian Ocean during be compared to (and clearly differentiated from) a the 12th through 14th centuries shows that multiple number of later Chinese scale sets. To my knowl- currencies circulated, requiring merchants to have edge, no or few weights or scale bars of the medi- detailed understanding of each system and grasp eval period have been found, or at least identified, of fluctuating exchange rates. However, trade was in other archaeological contexts around the Indian by no means uniformly monetised across the area. Ocean, Flecker’s thorough study of the Indonesian New studies of cashless economies in the Bay of weights is at present a unique archaeological contri- Bengal region (Deyell/Mukherjee 2020), pass- bution to the metrological history of the medieval ing references in Genizah materials to the impor- Indian Ocean. tance of barter and payment in kind in exchanges This last point brings me to the main focus of with the Horn of Africa and southern Red Sea this chapter. Perhaps one of the largest gaps in coast and new perspectives on the actual uses of our understanding of premodern Indian Ocean coins in pre-colonial eastern African (Wynne- trade remains that of its volume. With almost no Jones 2019) make the point that coins were mint- surviving documentation from port sites (for an ed in only a few places and enjoyed vary varied pat- exception see Nūr al-Macārif 2003-2005 and terns of adoption and usage. Because of coinage’s Vallet 2010) and a still negligible number of value as raw metal, numismatic data is especially shipwrecks for the period before 1500 we struggle endangered in the Indian Ocean world, dependent to even estimate the volume of commodities and for its survival on strong archaeological and legis- numbers of ships circulating in any one circuit. It lative structures to protect and record finds. If not should come as no surprise perhaps that one peri- sold on and melted down locally without trace, od with at least some data is the Classical period many of the coins circulating in the art market of Indo-Roman trade. One of the few estimates of come with no provenance or archaeological con- the number of ships trading between the Red Sea text which substantially decreases their evidential and India, at any period before 1500, is that of the potential. The varied forms and functions of tools Roman geographer Strabo who, in the 1st century of exchange are nowhere better exemplified than BCE, observed that up to 120 ships a year sailed by Indian Ocean cowries which served extensively from the Red Sea port of Myos Hormoz (medieval both as a tool of exchange and for personal adorn- Quseir) to Muzi­ris in southern India, a site possi- ment across the area, and beyond into mainland bly somewhere near the modern town of Kodun- China (Yang 2004) and West Africa. In spite of gallur in Kerala. Given that Roman trade was also this, the first large-scale research project on cowry active from other Red Sea ports one can perhaps production, circulation and consumption in the In- double that to over 200 ships a year, but this re- dian Ocean world is only now nearing completion mains pure guesswork and obviously leaves out the (Anne Haour PI: Cowrie Shells: An Early Global possibly even busier trade between the Sassanian Commodity [Leverhulme Trust Major Research controlled Gulf and western India, and estimates Grant, RPG-2014-359, 2014-2019]). of Indian and South East Asian shipping running Surviving merchant accounts from the Cairo on these and other routes. Nevertheless, coupled Genizah, drawn up by Jewish merchants trading with data on ship tonnages we have at least some and running workshops in India, show that they estimate of the volume of annual trade along one used Middle Eastern accounting systems in their route in the western Indian Ocean. Roman mer- dealings with partners and colleagues back in the chant ships typically had a capacity of around 100 Middle East (for example accounts interspersed to 150 t although ships of up to 600 t are record- with a court document and a letter in Goitein/ ed and are known to have been used on the Red Friedman 2008, 258-262, 337-351). However, Sea route to India (De Romanis 2012). Even if workshop accounts involving Indian workmen use we take the lower median capacity of 100 t and local terms both for coins and weights (Goitein/ only 120 ships per annum, the volume of trade Friedman 2008, 635-643), a clear hint of the along the Myos Hormos-Malabar route would bi-cultural, or indeed multi-cultural, competen- have been in the region of 12,000 t a year, easily cies of many merchant communities in the Indi- double when the use of 600 t ships and other Red an Ocean. Material evidence for the metrological Sea ports is factored in. Ship data for the Indian cultures of the medieval Indian Ocean is, however, Ocean trade from medieval sources is mainly con- rare with one exception. Medieval shipwrecks from centrated on Chinese shipping where large junks East Asian waters have yielded a significant number able to carry 200 passengers and provisions for 50 of copper alloy weights and scale bars. These finds days are mentioned from as early as the 5th century have allowed some unusually focused metrological (Torck 2009, 126). Far less information is avail- Weight and Value • Vol. 2 • 2021 105 Weight&Value02.indb 105 19.02.21 11:46 Elizabeth Lambourn able for South Asian and Arab shipping although Undoubtedly the best studied productions of ce- shipwreck archaeology clearly indicates much ramic storage and transport jars are those of the Far smaller vessels. We still have only the very vaguest East and South East Asia. China stands out in the estimates of the cargo capacity of many medieval longue durée history of Afro-Eurasia both as a pio- types of ship. neer in ceramic technology and in the development Faced with these problems, one approach pio- of industrial-scale ceramic production. From the neered for the western Indian Ocean by archaeol- early Jin period, 4th-5th centuries CE, Chinese kilns ogists Derek Kennet (2004) and Seth Priest- were producing large ceramic vessels for household man (2013) has been the quantitative analysis storage and the transportation of bulk commod- of ceramic evidence as a proxy for the long-term ities. Such jars were used in China for household nature and volume of maritime trade. Of particu- storage and are found in tombs as part of funerary lar note is Priestman’s longue durée study of what assemblages (Wong 2017, 349). China was a ce- we might term the “pulse” of trade in the western ramic pioneer and its development of high-fired Indian Ocean over nearly a millennium, from 400 stonewares and performant glazes meant that these to 1275 CE. Even it cannot estimate volumes of containers were highly versatile in both domestic trade, this approach yields an important data set and commercial contexts. With their impermeable and represents a significant advance in our under- ceramic bodies such jars were not only excellent standing of trade patterns. A valuable complemen- containers for dry commodities but; especially ver- tary quantitative approach that I wish to explore satile for the containment of liquids they prevented in this chapter begins at the opposite end of the loss through evaporation as occurs with unglazed scale, namely in the micro study of containers and earthenwares, as well as contamination of the con- their capacities. On the whole in the premodern tents through external seepage. The latter would Indian Ocean, trade commodities are studied and prove particularly important during maritime discussed with scant attention to their packaging transport when seawater or bilge water within the and containment and, unlike the Mediterranean, hold can easily damage cargo. This ceramic tech- we have no survey of Indian Ocean containerisa- nology spread rapidly across mainland South East tion (Bevan 2014). Rather than mapping regional Asia seeding multiple traditions of storage jar pro- patterns of trade over the longue durée via ceramics, duction that continued into the 20th century and this approach focuses on developing a far more ho- became one of the most recognisable forms of trade listic understanding of the spectrum of containeri- container. Although East Asian storage vessels have sation in Indian Ocean trade and the capacities of long been neglected by ceramic specialists for their different technologies of containment. A broader coarse manufacture, this category of ceramic is now approach to containerisation is needed since, al- the object of serious attention, notably in a 2017 though ceramics may serve as proxies for measuring collection of workshop articles on storage jar tra- patterns of exchange over time, they do not neces- ditions in China, Thailand, Vietnam, and Cam- sarily index trade itself. Ceramics are a complex bodia published in the Bulletin de l’École française category of object, besides carrying cargo, glazed d’Extrême Orient (vol. 103, 2017) with an excellent and unglazed ceramics were traded as commodities introductory overview of the field by Bing Zhao in their own right while certain ceramic types such (2017) “The production of storage jars in China as storage vessels and tablewares also circulated in and Southeast Asia: A vibrant but little-known ar- the luggage of passengers and crew for use during tisanal practice”. As the use of the term “artisanal” sea journeys. Above all, there is nothing to suggest in the title hints, storage vessels such as these have that ceramic transport containers were the prima- generally received little attention in a field still ry form of containerisation of commodities in the driven by an art historical focus on high-end and medieval Indian Ocean world. In the following two Imperial ceramic wares. The publication of this set sections of my contribution I begin to sketch out of articles is an important milestone in European an agenda for further study of containerisation as a scholarship, bringing a wealth of Chinese-language tool of exchange. publications to a wider public. One of the earliest East Asian storage jar types Ceramic storage jars between cargo and to be seen in Indian Ocean trade originated in provisioning kilns across Guangdong province on China’s east- While we await a comprehensive survey of In- ern seaboard at the height of the Tang trade boom dian Ocean containerisation one important tech- with West Asia in the 9th century (Fig. 2) (Wong nology is that of ceramic storage and transport jars. 2017; Qin et al. 2017). Extensive finds of kiln Whilst it is unlikely they were ever the primary sites in Guangdong province leave no doubt as to method of containerisation, they have the advan- their manufacture in this area (Qin et al. 2017, tage of surviving exceptionally well in the archaeo- 362-363; Wong 2017) and Chinese archaeologists logical record compared to organic containers such are developing a more refined understanding of as textile sacks and bales, basketry and waterskins. vessel typologies and distinct kiln productions. Fig- However, the interpretation of such sherds is by no ure 3 shows a range of green glazed jars from kilns in means as simple as it first seems. Guangdong province recovered from the wreck of 106 Weight and Value • Vol. 2 • 2021 Weight&Value02.indb 106 19.02.21 11:46 Trade and containerisation. Perspectives from the medieval Indian Ocean world Guangdong storage jars Torpedo jars T Turquoise Glazed Alkaline Ware (TGW) jars ig r Hakata is R Eu p hr R. . Ya Bay es Baghdad at I nd us ng R. Basra tze Alexandria R. Siraf Changsha Cairo FUJIAN Quanzhou ONG GD Me AN ko n g GU Mecca Guangzhou R. Bay of Re Arabian Aihole Bengal dS Martaban . Sea R Sana’a ea Nile o m andel Ma Sharma la b a Aden Socotra C or Mantai Kodungallur r Barus t a s o Equator C Equator ili ah Shanga / Manda Sw N Kilwa Comoros MADAGASCAR © S.Ballard (2020) a ship that sank in Indonesian waters off the island discovered wreck of the 8th century from Thailand Fig. 2. Approximate dis- of Belitung around 826 AD, possibly on its return known as the Phanom Surin wreck (Guy 2017), tribution of main ceramic journey to the Middle East from China, and known as well as from multiple sites across the western storage jar types discussed in as the Belitung wreck (Fig. 1) (Krahl et al. 2010; Indian Ocean. These finds leave no doubt as to the the chapter based on current Qin et al. 2017, 364-367). Other Guangdong stor- rapid adoption of these jars for maritime storage data sets. age vessels were recovered from an earlier, recently and commercial transportation. The principal cargo tFig. 3. Range of green glazed Guangdong storage jars from the Belitung wreck, before 826 CE, now in the Museum of Asian Civilizations, Singapore (photograph courtesy of Choo Yut Shing, CC BY-NC-SA 2.0). Weight and Value • Vol. 2 • 2021 107 Weight&Value02.indb 107 19.02.21 11:46 Elizabeth Lambourn of the Belitung wreck consisted of close to 60,000 a patron in the Middle East (Belitung Wreck Chinese ceramics, the majority so-called Changsha 2004, 446-447, cat.-no. 160). Better understand- bowls, manufactured as their name suggests inland ings of hydration at sea, including sweet water pro- at kilns in Hunan, and destined for consumers in visioning, the technologies of its containerisation the Middle East (Krahl et al. 2010). But along- and the calculation of daily rations (Torck 2009; side these were a substantial number of storage jars. Lambourn 2018), will hopefully help us to dis- Although still not comprehensively published (Be- entangle the use of these jars in provisioning versus litung Wreck 2004; Krahl et al. 2010) four jar cargo transportation but we can already take from sizes can clearly be distinguished: a plus-size large this the fact that storage jars did more than contain jar measuring 98 cm high by 77 cm in diameter cargo and should be interpreted carefully within (Krahl et al. 2010, 235, no. 42); large jars ranging their archaeological contexts (if at all possible) be- from 78 to 75 cm in height and 50 to 45 cm in dia­ fore they are used as indexes of trade. meter (Krahl et al. 2010, 235, no. 43-45); a wide While the Belitung remains something of a range of medium-sized jars measuring between 35 mystery, the only find before the 10th century of a to 46 cm in height and between 32 and 50 cm in vessel carrying substantial numbers of storage jars diameter (Krahl et al. 2010, 235, no. 46-49) and and export ceramics, the large numbers of Chinese finally the smallest jar sizes of between 23 or 24 cm ceramics including large jars found around the In- high by 22 to 30 cm in diameter (Krahl et al. dian Ocean indicate that this cannot have been a 2010, 235, no. 50-54). Larger jars were excavated unique cargo assemblage. After the 10th century, still packed with the Changsha bowls they trans- wrecks with large ceramic cargoes are compara- ported, a well-documented Chinese practice, but tively commonplace finds across South East Asian traces of other commodities were also found in the waters to the extent that they have become a focus smaller jars including star anise and lead ingots. of commercial archaeological exploitation due to East Asian jars cannot, however, be read purely the value of the ceramics (Wade 2003, 16-33). The as indexes of trade. Very early on in the study of the initial demand for Chinese wares beyond East Asia Belitung material archaeologist Michael Flecker and the enduring nature of this export trade can be (in Krahl et al. 2010, 101-109) suggested that explained by the technologically advanced nature besides their use for cargo, Guangdong jars would of Chinese ceramics, even “coarse” or “artisanal” have been used for storing food and drinking wa- wares such as these, compared to the ceramic prod- ter during the voyage. Certainly studies of the early ucts of South Asia, the Islamic lands and East Af- qFig. 4. Vat or liquid modern production of martaban jars in Burma in- rica, coupled with China’s ability to produce these dispenser, Guangdong dicates that the very largest were “stationary reser- on a massive scale. greenware, from the Be- voirs” mainly used for water storage, domestically Yet however much China shaped global ceramic litung wreck. Height 90 cm, and onboard ships, while smaller jars carried food- culture, East Asian storage jars were only ever part maximum diameter 62 stuffs (Borell 2014, 292). One example from the of a larger landscape of ceramic containerisation. cm. Museum of Asian Belitung wreck (Fig. 4) has an inbuilt spout at its Eastern Africa and South Asia had very different Civilizations, Singapore, base, an adaptation obviously designed for the dis- but no less vibrant ceramic cultures. They both pro- 2005.100906 (photograph pensation of a liquid, although it is unclear whether duced ceramics, as other crafts, at the local level – by Jacklee 2011, CC BY-SA this vessel was actually in use onboard the ship or until the advent of plastic and stainless steel most 3.0). was a bespoke commission being shipped back to Swahili and South Asian villages had a potter – with corresponding effects on the volume of production and ceramic distribution. Most importantly, how- ever, both were predominantly earthenware ce- ramic traditions (Sinopoli 1993; Cooper 2010; M’Mgobori 2015). Glaze technology was only introduced to South Asia comparatively late in the medieval period, and then principally in the north of the sub-continent as a result of interactions with the Central Islamic Lands. East African potters never adopted glaze technology, at least during the medieval period. Both South Asia and East Africa employed earthenware jars in the domestic context, it is naturally porous and extremely efficient at cool- ing water by evaporation, in the case of large water jars, for example, and of course for storing or trans- porting dry goods. However, there is no evidence at present for the large-scale use of either East African or South Asian earthenware jars for the commercial containerisation of export commodities travelling by sea during the medieval period, very likely be- cause of this problematical porosity. 108 Weight and Value • Vol. 2 • 2021 Weight&Value02.indb 108 19.02.21 11:46 Trade and containerisation. Perspectives from the medieval Indian Ocean world As a rule, in the medieval period, unglazed ce- 646-647, cat.-no. 294). Thanks to the pioneering ramics excavated at port sites overwhelmingly work of Roberta Tomber (2007) torpedo jars are belong to local or regional ceramic traditions, ev- now understood to be distinct from Mediterrane- idence that they did not circulate through inter- an amphorae of similar shape, and the product of national trade networks in large quantities and are Meso­potamian and southern Iranian kilns (Tomb- thus unlikely to have been used for the container- er 2007; Tomber et al. 2020; Connan et al. isation of bulk commodities. The exception that 2020). Torpedo jars are unglazed vessels but were proves the rule is the entrepot site of Sharma on adapted for the transportation of liquids by the ap- the Indian Ocean coast of the Arabian Peninsula plication of an internal coating of bitumen which where only a third of unglazed wares are of local effectively sealed their interiors. Torpedo jars were production (Rougeulle 2015, 157) with the produced over an extremely long timespan, from majority, the other two thirds, made up of Yeme- the 1st to 9th centuries CE, a clear indication of the ni, South Asian and East African unglazed wares. success of the jar type and its importance within the Small and medium sized jars that may have been trade patterns of the period. Yet, as Jacques Con- used for commercial containerisation are present in nan and his collaborators (2020, 14) note, “despite all three groups, however, the majority of earthen- the significant promise of torpedo jars as a source of ware forms at Sharma may be connected to cook- evidence for understanding Late Antique and Early pFig. 5. Intact torpedo jar ing and food consumption rather than commercial Islamic Indian Ocean trade, comparatively little is recovered from the Belitung transportation – part of the “tableware” assemblage still known about them”. Debate still rages about wreck, before 826 CE. that must have travelled onboard ships with pas- the commodities transported in torpedo jars, pos- Earthenware with bitumen sengers and crew – and we may wonder whether sibly bitumen itself. Nevertheless, partly as a result lining, height 113 cm, these jars were also used for domestic storage rath- of their treatment with bitumen, torpedo jars are southern Iraq (Belitung er than in trade (Rougeulle 2015, 157-236). currently believed to have been central to the wine Wreck 2004, 647). The exceptional proportion of imported unglazed trade between southern Iraq and Iran and elites in wares found at Sharma may relate to the nature of western and northern India during the 1st millenni- the site: an entrepot located on a barren and sparse- um CE (Tomber 2007, 982). They are however far ly inhabited part of the coast which may well have more widely distributed around the Indian Ocean, required those trading there to bring substantial as the Belitung find indicates, and fragments of provisions for the duration of the trading season. another six torpedo jars were recently recovered Analysis of residues from jars may help resolve from the Phanom Surin wreck found at the head of the issue of whether they transported commercial the Gulf of Thailand (Fig. 2) (Guy 2017). The jars goods or food provisions. In the meantime, Shar- recovered in Thailand show evidence of later local ma illustrates perfectly the way in which ceramics, reuse, perhaps for the transportation of water and while efficient proxies for exchange – in this case re- provisions since a grain of rice and organic fibres markably direct and intense connections between were found adhering to the bitumen lining of sev- Sharma, East Africa and South Asia between the eral fragments (Connan et al. 2020, 19). Even if late 10th and the late 12th centuries – may equate torpedo jars rank among the ceramics most clearly only indirectly with trade volume. associated with commercial containerisation, the Unglazed and glazed storage jars were also an Thai finds are a reminder that commercial trans- important ceramic category in the Central Islam- port vessels often had long and complex afterlives ic Lands and Arabian Peninsula. As in East Asia, once they entered the Indian Ocean area. however, such jars, while abundantly noted in Another jar type widely distributed around archaeological reports, have received little dedi- the Indian Ocean are turquoise glazed jars, of- cated study when compared to glazed tablewares, ten decorated with applied designs. Fig. 6 shows despite it being clear from what few surveys exist, the range of sizes and decorations seen in this that large jars were an important ceramic catego- ceramic type. Like torpedo jars, turquoise glaze ry both in the home and in certain areas of trade wares were produced in southern Iraq and manu­ (Shaddoud 2016). At present in the context factured over a substantial number of centuries of Late Antique to medieval Indian Ocean trade although the kiln sites have not been identified only two Islamic storage vessel types have received (Ho 1995; Glover 2002). As their appellation much attention: these are so-called torpedo-jars suggests and as well illustrated by Fig. 7, they are and another jar type belonging to the larger cat- characterised by a bright turquoise glaze produced egory of Turquoise Alkaline Glazed Wares (here- through the incorporation of copper oxides. As after TGW), also referred to in earlier literature as seen in the last example and in Fig. 6, many jars Sasanian-Islamic wares because of the long time- are also decorated with elaborate applied, incised span of their production and their continuity into and sometimes stamped decoration. However, as the Islamic period. Seth Priestman (2016, 3) has discussed in his Torpedo jars take their moniker from their dis- study of this ware, TGW jars are unlike torpedo tinctive torpedo-like shape and pointed bases. jars in that they belong within “a wide but distinc- Fig. 5 shows a jar 113 cm in height recovered from tive set of vessel forms covering small open bowls the Belitung wreck (Belitung Wreck 2004, to heavy basins, lidded vats, beakers and small Weight and Value • Vol. 2 • 2021 109 Weight&Value02.indb 109 19.02.21 11:46 Elizabeth Lambourn uFig. 6. Turquoise glazed ware (TGW) jar forms, heights between 40 and 80 cm, mid-8th-10th century, southern Iraq (Priestman 2016). dish-lamps”. Additionally, even if TGW “repre- TGW jars have been loosely discussed as com- sent one of the most extensively distributed Mid- mercial containers, however, much about their dle Eastern ceramic products within the Indian original function remains unclear. Priestman Ocean region” (Priestman 2016, 2), overseas (2016, 7, 24) noted the formal similarities between finds are overwhelmingly concentrated in the the smaller of these jars (Fig. 6a-e) and the con- mid-8th to 10th centuries, the trade boom of the temporary Guangdong jars just discussed (Fig. 3), Abbasid period (Fig. 2). Among the most wide- encouraging us to think of TGW jars in a com- ly distributed forms are medium to large sized mercial context, however, it is still far from clear jars, measuring between 40 and 80 cm in height what they were designed to contain and what they (Priestman 2016, 3). eventually served for. Larger jars are sometimes 110 Weight and Value • Vol. 2 • 2021 Weight&Value02.indb 110 19.02.21 11:46 Trade and containerisation. Perspectives from the medieval Indian Ocean world tFig. 7. Turquoise glaze storage jar with barbotine decoration of a bunch of grapes. Western Iran or Iraq, 8th century. Height 40 cm; diameter ca. 34 cm. The David Collection, Co- penhagen, inv.-no. 27/2003 (photograph courtesy of P. Klemp). mentioned in connection with the storage, or per- their original manufacture for use in domestic con- haps transportation, of date syrup, a staple food of texts, whether on land or at sea. In shipwreck as- the Gulf and Arabian Peninsula, although the evi- semblages too, although they are few, TGW sherds dence for this is scant (Chiumei 1995, 33). Some and intact vessels are relatively rare, for example large TGW jars such as the example illustrated in this comparatively plain double handled amphora Fig.  7 carry an applied decoration of bunches of recovered from the Belitung wreck (Fig. 8) which grapes, a clue perhaps that they were designed to was one of two TGW vessels recovered, and TGW carry or store wine since such motifs are frequently sherds recovered from the Phanom Surin wreck found on Sasanian silver wine cups and ewers. Yet (Guy 2017). These TGW vessels have usually been even if these assumptions are correct, much about interpreted, not as commercial storage jars, but as TGW jars argues against a commercial usage. The part of the eclectic assemblage of cooking pots, ta- bold turquoise glaze colour was unique in the In- blewares, gaming pieces and other personal items dian Ocean area and made even the plainest forms carried by passengers and crew onboard ship (Fig. 8 implicitly decorative. And while this glazing un- catalogued as cat.-no. 292 under “Various Ceram- doubtedly brought many advantages during mari- ics” in Belitung Wreck 2004, 642-643). time transport, the ornate decoration seen on many The distribution of TGW jars and other TGW jars only amplifies their decorative appeal. Raised vessel forms nevertheless indicates that they en- motifs especially would have been easily damaged joyed complex afterlives beyond Iraq. The finds of during commercial loading and transportation, and TGW from Japan studied by Seth Priestman of- pFig. 8. Double handled when jars were packed side by side in a ship’s hold. fer extremely clear archaeological contexts, one of TGW amphora. Iraq or Rather, I would suggest that the fact that TGW which may in fact reinforce my earlier suggestion Iran, 9th century. Height jars were manufactured alongside tablewares and of a domestic rather than a commercial context of 28.2 cm (Belitung domestic items such as lamps, points strongly to consumption. As Priestman (2016, 23) notes, the Wreck 2004, 643). Weight and Value • Vol. 2 • 2021 111 Weight&Value02.indb 111 19.02.21 11:46 Elizabeth Lambourn largest concentration of TGW jar fragments comes phorae studies (Bevan 2014). A recent paper has “from Japan’s main international port [Hakata] and been able to present a table of average capacities for specifically from the guesthouse at Kōrokan where over 250 different Roman amphora types (Vidal/ foreign diplomats, traders and other official visi- Corredor 2018). Nevertheless, as a recent paper tors were housed”. Perhaps then we can interpret by Moreno and collaborators (2018, 413) points these sherds as traces of the luggage and provisions out: of West Asian guests, rather than as containers of “the calculation of the capacities of ancient ce- commercial commodities per se. Alternatively, ramic vessels remains a relatively unexplored given that gift exchange formed an extremely im- area, owing to difficulties resulting from the ar- portant part of trade and diplomatic missions, it is chaeological record itself, including the small possible that these sherds represent the remains of number of complete vessels available. This has jars of wine, date syrup or other coveted products resulted in a general shortage of studies devoted brought directly from the Gulf area and destined to volume and weight, including the diachronic as gifts. Beyond such direct interfaces, however, it evolution of old metrological systems from data is highly likely that empty TGW jars were refilled obtained through the computational analysis of with other products, or indeed circulated empty archaeological containers”. as prized items in themselves. Priestman (2016, 24) notes a marked association between findspots For the moment we have capacity data for only of TGW jars and Buddhist sites in both Japan and one torpedo jar and none for TGW jars. In an in- China suggesting that they perhaps carried prod- novative first step for Indian Ocean containerisa- ucts (as yet unidentified) that were in demand tion Jacques Connan and his team (2020, 3) had within an East Asian Buddhist religious context. the capacity of a fragmentary torpedo jar from the This may be the case, however, temples were eco- Phanom Surin wreck estimated using 3D computer nomically and spiritually significant centres and modelling. The analysis yielded a total capacity of it may simply be that such sites were natural foci 193 l, that is the vessel’s capacity if filled to the rim. for the donation or gifting of exotica. Discussions Its effective capacity, i. e. its capacity when allowing of TGW jars have often overlooked the simple fact headroom at the top of the container during trans- that their stunning glaze colour was unique within portation or storage, was not estimated however the ceramic repertories of the Indian Ocean world. we might guess this at somewhere in the region of For their colour alone such jars must have been 180 l. To the best of my knowledge, no capacities prized and traded. Three large complete jars (see have been calculated or proposed for large TGW Fig. 6h) were discovered in Fujian among the fu- jars, although with the largest around 80 cm high nerary goods deposited in the tomb of Li Hua (d. it is probable that they also had capacities of well 930 CE), the wife of the ruler of the Min Kingdom, over one hundred l. Data is similarly lacking for where they probably served as everlasting lamps East Asian stoneware jars. Only one article from (Ho 1995, 25, fig. 7a-b), clear evidence not only of the Bulletin de l’École française d’Extrême-Orient their appropriation into Chinese funerary culture special issue reports the capacities of the vessels but their by now exotic status. discussed, container jars from the Maenom kilns, Thailand, with large jars holding “a liquid volume Volumetric capacities of about fifty litres and medium jars thirty-six litres, An important missing data set within the whole while small jars hold roughly twelve litres of liquid” question of ceramic containment within the Indian (Cort 2017, 276). Better data is available for later Ocean is that of the volumetric capacity of storage martaban jars, the very largest of which might con- jars and their tare, the empty weight of the vessel tain in the region of 420 l (Borell 2014). itself, which together yield information about the More consistent data on the volumetric capaci- total weight of a vessel when filled with a particu- ties of the jars just discussed would certainly prove lar commodity or foodstuff. In Mediterranean highly useful in bringing new data sets to the study archaeology it is increasingly standard practice to of volumes of trade. Before this, however, it may measure the capacity of storage or transport vessels; also help us to better ground our interpretation of polystyrene balls offer a simple, cheap and accurate the different functions of jars, domestic storage ver- way of measuring intact vessels, but increasingly sus commercial containerisation, and the technolo- computational models and software packages such gies of handling and transportation associated with as Rhinoceros® and AutoCad® are offering solu- them. At 180 l effective capacity the Phanom Surin tions for the rapid survey of large assemblages, or torpedo jar is much larger than the majority of for generating estimates of capacity for fragmen- Roman amphorae, the principal category of com- tary vessels. Israeli archaeologists, including Israel mercial storage jar for which we have extensive and Finkelstein have been particular pioneers in the accurate capacity measures (Vidal/Corredor application of computer techniques over the last 2018). The size of Roman amphorae is believed decade (for example Finkelstein et al. 2011) but to have been determined by manual handling con- the field is now evolving rapidly, leading a recent straints. Filled with water, or wine, or bitumen, a commentator to term this an “explosion” of am- torpedo jar such as this would have been well be- 112 Weight and Value • Vol. 2 • 2021 Weight&Value02.indb 112 19.02.21 11:46 Trade and containerisation. Perspectives from the medieval Indian Ocean world yond the lifting capacity of one man, and at the very transport – riverine or maritime – which is known upper limit of what two men might lift, and this to have been consistently cheaper than transport even before we add the empty weight of the jar, its by land, and which required considerably less load- tare, which was unfortunately not estimated. Since ing and off-loading during the course of a journey in this instance there seems little doubt that tor- than was the case for land transport by cart or pack pedo jars were commercial containers, the figures, animal. Medium sized to small ceramic jars would if proved accurate and consistent across known have offered all the technical advantages of ceram- examples, seem to point to an entirely distinct cul- ic containment with greater ease of portability. ture of containerisation in the Gulf and one which At least for East Asia, the success of storage jars poses pressing new questions about handling and in maritime trade suggests that their advantages lading methods, port infrastructures and labour or- far outweighed any disadvantages. Kilns in Fujian ganisation between the 2nd and 9th centuries. Unless province began producing storage jars during the torpedo jars were permanently installed within the Song and Yuan periods (Qin et al. 2017, 377) and, ship’s hull and filled in situ from smaller containers, as Chinese ceramic technologies spread across East lifting mechanisms must have been in regular use at Asia, similar vessels began to be produced across both ends of a ship’s route. the region, in Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia and If proven, and again I stress that for the moment Burma amongst others. As Wong (2017) points we only have one measurement of capacity for one out, Guangdong jars themselves continued to be surviving torpedo jar, such jars also appear to go produced and used in maritime trade into the 20th against the basic principles of commercial contain- century and the same is true of many other vessels erisation seen in the later Islamic world and East of this broad type. Asia. What little data we have for the Islamic world The regional ceramic traditions which presently comes from Ibrahim Shaddoud’s (2016, 208) seem most suited to respond rapidly to volumetric valuable study of jars through literary sources and approaches are precisely those of China and East it suggests that jars destined for the transportation Asia. Guangdong storage jars and the class as a of liquids such as wine, water or oil may have had whole present several important patterns that bode capacities around 32 l, thus well within the average well for metrological approaches: notably survival range of Roman amphorae and the later Thai jars in closely dated or datable contexts, and often in discussed by Louise Cort, and all within human large numbers. This is an important pre-requisite, handling parameters. By contrast, Shaddoud notes as Finkelstein et al. (2011, 250) discusses for that in the domestic context, the Islamic world pre- Medi­terranean sampling, any estimate of metro- ferred large immovable storage jars with some even logical standardisation based on surviving vessels permanently set into the ground or the building should ideally be based on “an assemblage that they served. The principle of super-sizing domestic represents a short, ‘closed’ event,” shipwrecks, they storage vessels is also confirmed in Borell’s (2014, suggest, are perfect “laboratories” for this, present- 292) analysis of later martaban jars where the very ing “a single day of loading cargo, a single port of largest, around 200 to 400 l in capacity, were “sta- origin, a single commodity or a single production tionary reservoirs” and used for water storage, both center”. As we have seen, a good range of dimen- on land and at sea. sions are available for Guangdong jars recovered Why, when, where and how torpedo jars took from the so-called Belitung wreck. on the sizes they did, and why they eventually dis- Like the “iconic” Roman amphorae of Mediter- appeared are questions that will require far more ranean trade, storage jars have become something research. What we can conclude already is that if of a cypher for the Indian Ocean maritime trade, cargoes continued to use ceramic containerisation, however, as the range of questions and problems then our research needs to focus on the altogeth- just discussed underlines, no production can be er more modest storage jar types. All ceramic jars read as a direct index of trade but must always be represent a delicate negotiation between technical understood within a far broader landscape of con- and material advantages and disadvantages. A crit- tainerisation and storage practice. ical concept in the discussion of transport in bulk is that of weight to capacity ratio, the ratio between Soft containerisation: Sacks and bales the weight of an empty container and its volumet- Ceramic assemblages from shipwrecks such as ric capacity. The lighter the carrier when empty the Phanom Surin wreck (Guy 2017) as well as the more weight was taken up by the commodity documentary evidence such as that provided by the or provision carried rather than by the container Cairo Genizah (Lambourn 2018) make the point itself. With ceramics the sheer weight of empty jars that ceramic containers were often secondary to a – technically known as their tare – seems likely to far broader range of ephemeral containers made produce a very poor weight to capacity ratio com- from textiles, vegetal fibres and leather. This is not pared to other technologies of containerisation. a new methodological observation as such, work Nevertheless, as the longterm success of amphorae on the quantification of the Roman economy has in the Mediterranean show (Bevan 2014), weight highlighted the void left in the archaeological re- to capacity ratio is much less of an issue in water cord by, for example, the comparatively ephemeral Weight and Value • Vol. 2 • 2021 113 Weight&Value02.indb 113 19.02.21 11:46 Elizabeth Lambourn wooden barrel and the consequent “disappearance” ered from the site’s rubbish tips were so small, and from view of important sectors of regional econo- multiply recycled, that their function was impossi- mies such as the trade in salted fish out of Brittany ble to identify conclusively. One fragment of goat (Wilson 2009, 234; on the Roman barrel see also hair may represent the sewn corner of a sack, an Bevan 2014). Yet it is a new observation for the important reminder that sacking was also used in Indian Ocean world where there are few dedicated the Roman world, particularly for grain and could studies of non-ceramic containerisation. While it be made from a wide variety of fibres (Wild 2002, is likely that waterskins, fibre sacks and baskets of 66). Wild (2002, 66) nevertheless does propose various sizes were widely used, with sacks especially two Indian candidates, two fragments of Z-spun important in South Asia for bulk traded dry goods, cotton which may represent the remains of Indian unlike ceramics, ephemeral containers such as these manufactured sacks or have been used for baling or only survive in exceptional conditions, either of ex- covering merchandise. treme waterlogging or extreme dryness. So far few Jute later became the signature sacking material land sites or shipwrecks in the Indian Ocean area of the sub-continent and its adoption by the me­ have been sufficiently waterlogged to preserve or- dieval period is suggested by the identification of ganic materials, although the Phanom Surin ship- jute fibres in some of the earliest papers manufac- wreck in Thailand has recently been carbon dated tured in western India around the 13th century. As thanks to the survival of amongst other materials papermaking relied on ready processed fibres such rattan matting and rope (Connan et al. 2020, 1, as rags, these fibres are believed to have been re- n. 1). The Red Sea and Arabian Peninsula, however, cycled from commercial sacking (Konishi 2013, offer both the necessary dryness to preserve organic 26, 43). Several textile fragments found at the materials, as well as having a well-established tradi- Red Sea port of Quseir al-Qadim in the Ayyubid tion of archaeology and have preserved fragments period waste tips (ruled 1171-1260) (Handley/ of textiles tentatively categorised as sacking mate- Regourd 2009, 143, 151) were identified as pos- rial. sible sacking material being woven of “coarsely wo- Much of the bulk trade in pepper and other ven bast fabric with a thick feel, making it rather spices out of India relied upon coarse sacks wo- inflexible but strong and hard wearing. This was the ven from bast fibres, the phloem or stem fibres of fabric typically used as sacking for bulky products” plants such as flax, jute, hemp, ramie and kenaf. At (Handley/Regourd 2009, 143). While some present there is no comprehensive history of the pieces are S-spun (Fig. 9) and thus likely of Mid- South Asian sack and its materials, although the dle Eastern manufacture, another two fragments technology is likely to be almost as old as weaving. (Fig. 10-11) are particularly interesting as they are Like coarse ceramic storage jars within the history woven from Z-spun fibres, a technique common- of ceramics, sacks have been largely neglected in the ly associated with South Asian textile production. study of textile arts. While an exhaustive search of The simple ink writing on these examples, although Indian textual sources is much needed, the Tamil illegible in two out of the three examples, neverthe- sources of the 2nd century CE are much cited. One less encourages their identification as sacking or describes armed donkey caravans transporting Ma- baling since we know that merchants’ names and labari pepper to the port of Mamallapuram: sometimes delivery instructions were inked onto They travel of wide toll roads with their donkeys the outer wrappings of their consignments. Rare with lifted ears and backs with deep scars, that surviving letters from the world of Indian Ocean carry loads of pepper sacks, well balanced, resem- trade preserved in the Cairo Genizah (discussed in bling jackfruits with small segments that grow on more detail shortly) regularly mention, for exam- the low trunks of curved trees (Perumpānārru- ple, the practice of writing the name of the intend- patai, cited in De Romanis 2020, 123). ed recipient on the wrappings of different items whether commercial cargo or personal items. One The poetic image vividly evokes the bulging pep- particularly clear example comes from a letter writ- per sacks hanging either side of the pack animals. ten around 1137-1140 to accompany a shipment Another Tamil poem, the Purananuru, describes sent from Aden to the Malabar coast and which sacks of pepper piled up at the port of Muziris, the concludes with the detail that six of the packag- principal port of Malabar involved in the pepper es sent, one a canvas bag carrying copper, had the trade westwards to the Roman world. Donkeys names of recipient and sender written on them “I may have been used in the first example because of wrote on each ‘Abraham Yiju shipment of Joseph’” the need for light-footed animals to cross the high (Goitein/Friedman 2008, 562). mountain passes in the Ghats between Malabar The dominance of the South Asian sack is seen and India’s east coast ports. Other pack animals and in the very root of the term adopted around the human carriers were probably involved in Malabar western Indian Ocean. The earliest consistent use itself, however, sacks continued to be the principal of the term is in the correspondence of Jewish mer- form of packing. In her study of textile finds from chants in India during the 12th century, part of the the Roman period Red Sea port of Berenike, Felic- Cairo Genizah material. The Judaeo-Arabic term ity Wild made the point that the fragments recov- used in the letters is jūniya (pl. jawānī), a relatively 114 Weight and Value • Vol. 2 • 2021 Weight&Value02.indb 114 19.02.21 11:46 Trade and containerisation. Perspectives from the medieval Indian Ocean world tFig. 9. Fragment of coarsely woven S-spun bast fabric from the Ayyubid period layers (1171-1260) at Quseir al-Qadim, Red Sea, typically used for sack- ing (03T106). 19 cm x 25 cm with inked writing (unread) (with permission of F. Handley, University of Southampton). tFig. 10. Fragment of coarse Z-spun bast fabric with two brown warp stripes, possibly sacking material. Recovered from the Ayyubid period layers (1171-1260) at Quseir al-Qadim, Red Sea (03T189). Perhaps South Asian, 32 cm x 27 cm, inked but inscription un- read (with permission of F. Handley, University of Southampton). Weight and Value • Vol. 2 • 2021 115 Weight&Value02.indb 115 19.02.21 11:46 Elizabeth Lambourn Fig. 11. Torn fragment of coarse Z-spun cotton inked with the name Hasan b. cUmar, possible remains of a sack or bale wrapping. Perhaps South Asian, 11 cm x 18.5 cm, recovered from the Ayyubid period layers (1171-1260) at Quseir al-Qadim, Red Sea (03T040) (with permission of F. Handley, University of Southampton). uncommon term in Classical Arabic which is nev- 2003-2005, vol. 1, 512, 521). The importance of the ertheless widely found in Yemeni Arabic (Piamen- Indian “sack” as a container of commodities is seen ta 1990, 79) as well as in modern Gulf Arabic. It not only in the widespread adoption of this word in is now possible to recognise the term as an Indic the mercantile Arabic of the western Indian Ocean loanword into Arabic and Judaeo-Arabic, from in the medieval period but also in its later adoption Sanskrit gōnī, probably via one or several regional into English as “gunny.” The term was current in languages, although the period of transmission has the Colonial period (Yule/Burnell 1903, 403) not been established, designating a loosely woven and continues in use among transport professionals bag or sack. The term was well-established by the and in Indian English to designate a sack (Oxford 12th century and Goitein and Friedman point to English Dictionary 2000, “gunny, n.”). its occurrence in a set of published accounts from It goes without saying that sacking offered much Ifriqiya, present-day Tunisia, as early as 1045- better weight to capacity ratios than ceramic con- 1046, indicating that this loanword had already tainers making it perfect for dry goods. That said, disseminated with returning traders (Goitein the paucity of surviving physical evidence means 1973, 286). The term is also attested in the Yemen that we have no usable data on sack dimensions in the late 13th century customs documents from and capacities and are forced instead to rely on Aden published as the Nūr al-Macārif with refer- documentary sources alone to even approach ence to sacks of rice and wheat (Nūr al-Macārif the question. One of the most detailed set of 116 Weight and Value • Vol. 2 • 2021 Weight&Value02.indb 116 19.02.21 11:46 Trade and containerisation. Perspectives from the medieval Indian Ocean world documents for the study of Indian Ocean pack- more commonly mentioned in the documents in aging and metrologies is the corpus of so-called relation to transactions along the route from Egypt “India Book” documents from the Cairo Genizah. to Aden and in western India. Along this route This documentary source has been known to the they feature in connection with the transporta- scholarly world since the 1950s when S. D. Goitein tion of an extremely wide range of goods including first identified and began to publish documentary lac, textiles, pepper, storax, beads, coral and oth- materials from the so-called Cairo Genizah, some er items (Goitein/Friedman 2008). Lest this half a million manuscript and document fragments seem a straightforward geographical difference of recovered from the geniza or ritual depository of terminology between western and southern In- the Ben Ezra synagogue in Cairo, and perhaps dia, two sets of accounts written in Malabar also from other repositories too. Scholarly opinion now list bales, here termed faysh, as opposed to sacks, holds that several repositories likely contributed to of cardamom, iron and pepper purchased there this corpus although their places of origin in Cai- (Goitein/Friedman 2008, 642, 649). Jūniya ro, and perhaps Syria, have not been determined. and cidl are not, it seems, interchangeable terms Of these fragments perhaps as many as 30,000 are but correspond to two formally different technol- documentary material rather than fragments of ogies of containment, namely sacks that were, as religious texts or manuscripts, and within that a now, sewn containers made by folding and closing very small portion, somewhere in the region of 500 cloth, and bales made from unsewn lengths of cloth fragments – we are not certain as the cataloguing and ropes that enclosed and bound the goods they of the Genizah is ongoing – pertain to the business carried. However, it is noticeable that in the “In- dealings of Middle Eastern Jews in, and with, India, dia Book” documents the term jūniya is associated via the Red Sea. In 2008 the first volume of the “In- principally with exchanges between Malabar and dia Book” was published with Brill as India Traders Aden and involves a far narrower range of goods. of the Middle Ages: Documents from the Cairo Ge- This difference might reflect simply different vol- niza (‘India Book’) (Goitein/Friedman 2008). umes of trade between the two areas. The bales of The volume makes available in English translation lac and textiles leaving western India, or made up over 170 documents as varied as business letters via in Aden, may have been composed of individual calligraphy exercises to workshop chits. It is organ- sacks or bags, which are simply not mentioned ised in three books, each centred around one key because it was the large outer container, the bale, merchant figure. Thus, Book 1 gathers the docu- that mattered; whereas sacks are visible in Malabar ments relating to Joseph Lebdi; Book 2 focuses on because they were rarely made up into large bales. Madmun b. Hasan-Japheth, the son of the Jewish The other possibility, that sacks were more com- Head of Merchants in Aden and later his successor; monly used in Malabar than in western India or Book 3 focuses on the north African trader Abra- Aden, seems unlikely given the evidence for this ham Ben Yiju. Goitein called these men “India being an ancient and widely used technology. traders” however they self-refer as a group as tujjār Recordings of the size and weight of bales and (Arabic plural of tājir) a term commonly translated sacks in the “India Book” documents suggest that as merchants. Certainly these men were merchants it is very difficult to distinguish between the two as the workshop seeks to define them, trading in technologies of containment on size alone. As bulk commodities and holding warehouses in both Mordechai Akiva Friedman noted, while Goitein Aden and India. Hebrew editions of these docu- maintained that a bale was nominally 500 ratl or ments, published this time with the all-important around 500 lb (Goitein/Friedman 2008, 190, Judaeo-Arabic transcriptions of the documents, n. 23) the reality is very different. This statement appeared in between 2009 and 2013 (Goitein/ appears to be based on one letter written in Aden Friedman 2009; 2010a; 2010b; 2013). Since regarding bales of lac destined for Egypt: it records then Book 4, focusing on the “merchant scholar” two bales of lac containing 1000 ratl or lb between Halfon, has been published although only in a He- them, in other words, bales of 500 lb each, and lat- brew edition. Books 5, 6 and 7 of the “India Book” er refers to 60 bales of lac weighing 100 bahārs in await publication (Friedman 2013). total, with a bahār estimated at 300 ratl or lb, this The “India Book” documents are comparatively again produces bales of exactly 500 lb (Goitein/ rich in references to packaging materials and tex- Friedman 2008, 372, 374). Aden and the export tile containers, although by no means every com- trade to Egypt are exactly the place and route along modity or traded item is listed with its container. which one might expect to see a standardisation of Besides various types of bundle (faysh/barkhas) bale weights, particularly as this letter was penned and textile or leather bags, sacks (jūniyas) are men- by the son of Aden’s Head of Merchants, an indi- tioned several times in the bulk transport of trade vidual one would expect to be attuned to standardi- commodities out of northern Malabar, specifically sation. It is, however, the evidence of only one letter cardamom and iron. They also feature in a list of relating to one commodity, other correspondence luggage, in big and small sizes, transporting provi- shows a wide variation of bale weights: one of the sions of rice. Jūniyas are differentiated terminolog- sets of accounts written in Malabar mentions one ically from bales (cidl, pl. acdāl) which are in fact bale carrying 8 bahārs of pepper, this would have Weight and Value • Vol. 2 • 2021 117 Weight&Value02.indb 117 19.02.21 11:46 Elizabeth Lambourn been a bale weighing roughly 2,400 lb (Goitein/ from a court case held at the Rabbinical court in Friedman 2008, 649); while elsewhere we find a Fustat (Old Cairo) in the late 11th century provide reference to a bale weighing 380 manns or approx- unparalleled insights into the journey between Cai- imately 190 lb (Goitein/Friedman 2008, 187). ro and Aden and it is clear that packing, unpacking The very flexibility of bales, able to include all man- and repacking – with all the associated labour, ma- ner of smaller packages as seen in examples here, terials, time and costs involved – was a fundamen- would seem to discourage standardised weights tal part of inter-regional trade. One consignment except in very particular circumstances. comes into focus from its arrival at Qus, a port There is also comparably little evidence for on the Nile from where goods from Cairo were standardisation of sack weights. The term is used transferred out of the ships transporting them and less frequently but one of the most useful docu- readied for camel transport across Egypt’s Eastern ments details the processing of goods received in Desert to the Red Sea ports. The defendant, Joseph Aden, that is the formal weighing of sacks in the Lebdi, describes how at Qus he purchased canvas, Aden Custom’s House (the Furda) and subsequent ropes and packing materials for the transport by reception into local warehouses. camel of a consignment of storax, lichen, copper, The sack of cardamom, delivered by Yaqūt textiles and thyme. His account indicates that these al-Tanjī at the sale in the house (dār) [a ware- goods weighed in around 800 Laythi ratls (lb) in house and bourse in Aden], turned out to weigh total and were carried by two camels (Goitein/ one bahār and 222 pounds, price 48 [dinars]; Friedman 2008, 189). Each camel thus carried total 83 ½ dinars. The weight of the other sack around 400 lb, we assume in the form of two 200 lb was two bahārs less seven pounds, at a price of 45 bales loaded on either side of the animal. At the [dinars], total 89 dinars (Goitein/Friedman Red Sea port of Aydhab, the defendant notes that 2008, 343). he had to consolidate these four bales into two for the passage by ship to Aden, presumably two bales With the bahār of Genizah documents estimat- of 400 lb each. The sacking fragments retrieved ed to comprise 300 lb or ca. 136 kg, this passage from the slightly later Ayyubid layers at Quseir no describes sacks of cardamom weighing just under doubt represent the remains of exactly this type of two bahārs each, i. e. 522 lb and 593 lb respectively. operation, as Handley and Regourd indicate. Inter- While sacks as known from the early modern period estingly, the court notes record Lebdi stating that onwards have been calibrated for manual handling, the repacking in Aydhab returned the consignment these “sacks” would have been too heavy and, in this to the original two bales “as it had been before” case, simply too voluminous to have been moved (Goitein/Friedman 2008, 190). In other words, without lifting equipment and the aid of pack ani- bales for shipping, whether by river or by sea, were mals or carts. The currency of consignments of this packed to 400 lb, bales for camel transport were size is confirmed by later evidence from the port of half that. This bale weight is different from the Aden to the effect that large bales of spices were of- 500 lb bales of lac discussed in the later document ten too big to fit through the door of the customs but it is currently unclear whether this is a sign of building and had to be taken apart (Vallet 2010, an evolving standardisation of bale weights, or sim- 183). Madmun’s jūniyas – each sack is discussed in ply represents an allowable variation. the single – were thus more likely composites of Ultimately, the texts may be best explained several sacks and ultimately not far removed from through the prism of of regional handling and bales. Even heavier sacks are listed in a set of accounts transportation technologies – whether human or from the Malabar coast referring to the purchase of animal. The Arabic bahār is held to derive from San- “six bahārs smooth iron in two jūniyas” (Goitein/ skrit bhara, “burden, load, weight,” the same root Friedman 2008, 636). Each sack here would thus loanword of Persian bār, “package” or “bale,” but have weighed three bahārs or around 900 lb. loads varied considerably according to the carrying The evidence at present suggests little standard- system and the distance covered. Human porterage isation of bale or sack weights in western Indian appears to have been exceptionally important in Ocean trade, the exception being perhaps between Malabar where road systems were hard to maintain. Aden and Cairo. While standardisation such as Some of the best data was collated by Jean Deloche this would have been beneficial to trade, it was by in his two volume Transport and Communications no means essential. In practice these forms of con- in India prior to Steam Locomotion. Taking into tainment were not only light but highly adaptable, account both local lifting traditions and technolo- in a way that hard ceramic containers can never gies as well as environmental factors, Deloche sug- be, and they may have been so successful in trade gests that in south India the average loads carried precisely because of this. Taxes were often taken in on the head over long distances were in the region kind along the route and here again, easily acces- of 25 to 33 kg, the higher amount having been re- sible forms of containment, would have facilitated corded among coolies working in the Mangalore this process. No “India Book” document gives us area. However, over shorter distances and among a complete packing history of one commodity’s professional porters the weight might double or journey between India and Egypt, however, papers even triple; Colonial period labour reports for 118 Weight and Value • Vol. 2 • 2021 Weight&Value02.indb 118 19.02.21 11:46 Trade and containerisation. Perspectives from the medieval Indian Ocean world Bombay docks stipulate a maximum allowed load eral technologies of containment with which jars of just over 101 kg, while rice was packed in 1½ co-existed and the more ‘fuzzy’ estimates of volume hundredweight (cwt) bags, equivalent to 76 kg and capacity that they generate. Cargoes were com- (Deloche 1993-1994). Work on camel loads in posed of both types of container and only a consid- northern India, by contrast, suggests that, depend- eration of both will allow a better understanding, ing on the animal and the difficulty of the route, not only of economic history and the balance of camels were loaded between 148 and 247 kg. In the trade flows, but of transportation logistics. A diver- Roman Mediterranean a sack was one artaba calcu- sity of approaches to a diversity of source materi- lated as equivalent to around 30.2 kg. A camel load als can only aid wider engagement with historical was twice three artaba, 90 kg on each side or 180 kg metrology and the important insights it generates. in total (Wild 2002, 6). As Andrew Bevan (2014, 387) concludes in his While we may not be able to recover intact sacks pioneering study of Mediterranean containerisa- or bales in the same way as ceramic containers, tion, we need “a more strongly comparative and a multi-pronged approach as practiced by Jean evolutionary assessment of transport containers, as Deloche, amongst others, that is combining ethno- carefully designed, mass-produced, widely dissemi- graphic observation, understandings of human and nated, and highly iconic objects”. animal physiology, ergonomics, and contemporary This data may in turn contribute to a better un- and historical material culture, can offer some hard derstanding of historical metrologies in the Indian data on ephemeral containerisation. A basket for Ocean area. Metrology and material culture have carrying on the head can be no wider than human been enriching each other in the Mediterranean, arms can stretch to hold it and no deeper than the and Mesopotamian, worlds for well-over a century length of the average forearm. A camel can only be even if, as Moreno et al. (2018, 412) notes, “ap- loaded up to a certain weight. Waterskins represent proximations of ancient weights and measures have a particularly fascinating negotiation between the thus far mainly been approached from the theo- size of the skin available, dependent on the species retical analysis of classical literary sources […] and and age of the animal providing the leather, and the not from experimentation, direct or digital”. The carrying capacity of the human or animal destined Indian Ocean is only just catching up with some of to transport or use it once the skin was filled. As the critical measures – of capacity, amongst others these examples show, the figures are highly varia- – long since standardised in the Mediterranean but ble but nevertheless stay within clearly discerni- it should be clear from this discussion that storage ble boundaries. At 180 kg the Roman camel load jars from the Indian Ocean area offer important sits within the 148 and 247 kg Indian loading of data to be tested against the larger body of abstract camels recorded by Jean Deloche. Similarly, at 25 textual data that forms the mainstay of the field (for to 33 kg, Deloche’s average south Indian load for China, see for example Cao et al. 2012). human porterage correspond broadly to average It is important to underline that it is not that Roman amphora capacities and to the average ca- historians of material culture or archaeologists pacities identified by Ibrahim Shaddoud for com- working on the Indian Ocean do not measure mercial containers in the Islamic world. Anatomy things, or are fundamentally disinterested in meas- and physiology, and a primitive form of ergonom- urement, simply that capacity measures have yet ics, shape many forms of containerisation and place to enter standard practice and training. Recording clear constraints on human handling and porterage, measures of length is a standard part of museum as on the lading of particular animals. The history accessioning and cataloguing procedure, of archae- of Indian Ocean trade needs to be more innovative ological recording and of art historical description. in its approaches to the ephemeral or non-standard Measuring in this way forms an important part of containers at its heart – whether as physical traces the documentation of the object under study and or, as I focus on here, through textual sources and serves in part to counter the limitations inherent ethnographic material – and the “rule-of-thumb in the academic study of objects – namely that only measures” they present us with. a very limited number of people will ever have di- rect contact with the object itself. Through scale drawings, photographs and written descriptions Conclusions – including linear measurements, key aspects of the from capacities to historical metrologies? material object are communicated to readers. What we have forgotten perhaps, is that this produces a Ceramic storage and transport jars provide reas- visual simulacrum of an absent object, but neglects suringly concrete evidence for trade, they are how- the haptic aspects of an objects materiality, notably ever, as this discussion has shown, far from perfect its heft, and in the case of containers, their heft both indexes and were only ever part of a broader land- empty (the tare) and full. By forgetting to measure scape of containerisation and storage practice. Even capacities and tares we also bypass important emic as computer programs offer opportunities for ever aspects of an object’s manufacture and circula- more precise calculations of jar capacity, scholars tion, namely the historical units of measurement need to continue to investigate the more ephem- active at the time of its manufacture and use. It is Weight and Value • Vol. 2 • 2021 119 Weight&Value02.indb 119 19.02.21 11:46 Elizabeth Lambourn easy to miss this potential, the objects historians New Zealand 2004). Available online, https:// of material culture and archaeologists study rarely www.iseas.edu.sg/centres/nalanda-sriwijaya-centre/ confront us directly with the units of measurement research-tools/compilations/the-belitung-wreck- that might have shaped them. Surviving objects are sunken-treasures-from-tang-china/ (accessed rarely accompanied by any form of original textual 13.08.2020). documentation, let alone one including their meas- Bevan 2014 urements in historic systems, and objects described Bevan, A., Mediterranean containerization. Current in texts are more likely to described adjectivally, Anthropology 55, 4, 2014, 387-418. as simply “big,” “small” and so on, than to include Biedermann/Strathern 2017 precise measurements. It is perhaps not so surpris- Biedermann, Z., Strathern, A. 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The Routledge Worlds (London 2018). elambourn@dmu.ac.uk Yang 2004 Yang, B., Horses, silver, and cowries: Yunnan in glob- al perspective. Journal of World History 15, 3, 2004, 281-322. Yule/Burnell 1903 Yule, H., Burnell, A. C. (eds.), Hobson-Jobson: A Glossary of Colloquial Anglo-Indian Words and Phrases, and of Kindred Terms, Etymological, His- torical, Geographical and Discursive (London 1903). 126 Weight and Value • Vol. 2 • 2021 Weight&Value02.indb 126 19.02.21 11:46 The movement of commodities in Bronze Age Europe by Anthony Harding Bronze Age, transport, trade, Cypriot hook-tang weapons, salt The evidence for wide-ranging connections in Bronze Age Europe is extensive, showing that widely separated areas of the continent were connected by networks of travel and trade. The article discusses the technology of travel in the Bronze Age, both overland and by water, paying particular attention to the evidence for boats that might have sailed around the Mediterranean, and beyond to Atlantic shores. Two case-studies are pre- sented: the well-known hook-tang weapons of Cypriot type, whose distribution and numbers strongly suggest a genuine ancient movement; and salt, a very important commodity which, in spite of its invisibility in the archaeological record, must have been the subject of extensive movement from salt-rich to salt-poor areas. This applies especially to Romania, where recent experimental work has shown how large quantities can be obtained rather quickly using the so-called trough technique, in which fresh water is allowed to drip onto rock salt. Salt produced in these quantities was clearly a trade item, and can be regarded as having been commoditized. Der Umlauf von Standardwaren während der Bronzezeit in Europa Bronzezeit, Transport, Handel, „zypriotische Speerspitzen“, Salz Die Hinweise für weitreichende Verbindungen im Europa der Bronzezeit sind umfangreich und zeigen, dass weit voneinander getrennte Gebiete des Kontinents durch Reise- und Handelsnetze miteinander verbunden waren. In dem Beitrag wird die Technologie des Reisens in der Bronzezeit diskutiert, sowohl was den Transport über Land als auch über Wasser betrifft, wobei besonderes Augenmerk auf die Hinweise zu Booten gelegt wird, die um das Mittelmeer herum und darüber hinaus bis zur Atlantikküste gesegelt sein könnten. Es werden zwei Fallstudien vorgestellt: eine zu den bekannten sogenannten zyprischen Speerspitzen („Cypriot hook-tang weapons“), deren Verbreitung und Anzahl stark auf eine echte Mobilität während dieser Zeit hindeuten, und eine weitere zu Salz, das eine sehr wichtige Ware darstellte. Trotz der Unsichtbarkeit von Salz in den archäologischen Quellen muss es in umfangreichem Maße von salzreichen zu salzarmen Gebieten transpor­ tiert worden sein. Dies gilt insbesondere für Rumänien, wo experimentelle Arbeiten jüngst gezeigt haben, wie mit der sogenannten Trogtechnik, bei der Süßwasser auf Steinsalz tropft, relativ schnell große Mengen Salz gewonnen werden können. Das in großem Stil produzierte Salz war eindeutig ein Handelsartikel und wurde während dieser Epoche zu einem Standardprodukt („commodity“). Weight and Value • Vol. 2 • 2021 127 Weight&Value02.indb 127 19.02.21 11:46 Anthony Harding Land travel The simplest form of travel is on foot – shanks’s pony, in the old Scottish formulation. Walking requires minimal technology, other than a rea- sonably clear path and footgear strong enough to avoid damage to the feet (though Bronze Age people were undoubtedly much more accustomed to rough-shod or barefoot walking than we are). Paths and roads do not survive from this period, other than as wooden trackways across wet or boggy ground, or as short stretches of cobbles. Attempts at reconstructing routeways, as was attempted by Ernst Sprockhoff (1930, 145 Fig. 1. Generalised It has become a truism that Bronze Age Europe pl. 45), typically depend on the distribution of timechart of Bronze Age was a highly interconnected world, with travellers bronze finds along river valleys; a recent discus- periods in the areas dis- moving over long distances, from one end of the sion centres on wooden trackways in north-west cussed in this article. continent to the other. As well as these travelling Germany as routes (Burmeister 2018). In people, it has long been known that raw materials truth, it is impossible to do more than speculate and finished goods must have been moved about, about how and where people went on foot, oth- since there are limited sources of metal ores and er than to assume that only the most inaccessible other resources such as amber. This much is obvi- topography and vegetation were beyond physical ous. But achieving an understanding of how such limits (which of course are not the same as cultur- movement took place in the prehistoric world of al limits). Bronze Age Europe is another matter altogether. In In such circumstances, the technology of car- this contribution I shall consider some of the tech- rying goods may be very simple.1 Many types of nical challenges that faced trade and exchange in carrying equipment, ranging from simple woven the Bronze Age, and look at a couple of case studies squares to more elaborate backpacks, are known of different kinds that relate to our understanding ethnographically (Fenton et al. 1973); Ötzi the of travel and trade in the period. The timeframe Iceman, as much as 2000 years before, had a wood- and geographical space considered here are both en backpack (Egg 1992; Spindler 1994, 91-93; broad; Fig. 1 provides a concise diagram of the cen- Spindler et al. 1995; Egg/Spindler 2009),2 turies in question. while a well-preserved leather backpack was found in the Bronze Age part of the Hallstatt salt mine (Kern et al. 2009). One may presume that such The technology of travel and trade items were commonplace in prehistory. For a com- modity such as amber, a simple backpack would Travel and trade over land or water require var- be all that is needed, since it is light and most ious means of facilitating such activities (general known pieces are quite small. For other materi- discussion: Boroffka 2018; Nessel et al. 2018; als, such as metals (in whatever form), containers Nessel/Uhnér 2018). It is hard for us in the 3rd must have been larger and the method of trans- millennium AD to comprehend what this must port correspondingly better suited to heavy loads. have meant to people in the 2nd millennium BC (or Pack animals are the most obvious solution, but for any period prior to the construction of a systematic this suitable paths or tracks are needed. The same road network, which in Europe usually means the would be true for sledges and slide-cars, simple but Roman period). While there was plenty of defor- effective means of carrying loads across relatively ested land in the Bronze Age, and routes across the even ground. It is surely telling that sledge runners continent probably followed river valleys and areas have been found in a few graves (Harding 2000, such as chalk hills with light soils, there were no 101, 120-121 with references). long-distance paved roads and rivers were untamed The next step was to use wheeled vehicles, – no weirs, probably no stone bridges (the only evi­ which first came into use in Europe in the Cop- dence we have is of wooden pile constructions), per Age (Piggott 1983). The first wheels were numerous shallows and rapids which would have solid, usually tripartite, and very heavy (van der made continuous navigation difficult, and mean- Waals 1964). The carts to which they belonged dering river courses which will have greatly extend- must have been extremely heavy and cumber- ed the notional distances to be covered. Sea travel some; it is impossible to imagine that they were has always been uncertain, even in modern times; 1 “Man’s oldest beast of burden was woman” (Cole 1954, obviously more so in ancient ones. Yet in spite of 705), a sentiment that would hardly be permissible today. these multifold difficulties, it is clear that they were To be fair, this statement was made by a female scholar and overcome and both people and goods travelled over followed by the rider “on the more or less justifiable plea that long and short distances. the male had to be unencumbered, to protect his family”. 2 Though other explanations have been advanced for the struc- ture found: Teržan 1994. 128 Weight and Value • Vol. 2 • 2021 Weight&Value02.indb 128 19.02.21 11:46 The movement of commodities in Bronze Age Europe used for transporting heavy goods across long dis- 1995-1996; Mowat 1996), which would be suit- tances. The clay model wagons found in central able for river transport and perhaps sea travel on Europe and belonging to the Copper and Early a calm day near the shore. It is hard to imagine Bronze Age indicate what such vehicles must such boats being used for travel in the Atlantic have looked like (Bóna 1960; Boroffka 2004). or the North Sea. In northern Europe, there is a Only with the invention and development of the rich corpus of depictions in Scandinavia (Kaul spoked wheel (or variants such as the cross-bar 1998; Goldhahn/Ling 2013) but no finds of wheel) would vehicles have become light enough boats in corpore. There has been much speculation for anything other than short journeys; and even about the nature of these boats; clearly some of then some kind of prepared ground in the form of them were of considerable size, with up to a score solid surface would have been necessary. Isolated of paddlers. Given the nature of the coastline and finds of full-size cross-bar wheels in wood have lake landscapes of Sweden and Norway, they must been made, as at Mercurago in Italy (Crouwel have been used extensively for near-shore sailing, 2012, 82 pl. 84-85). Model spoked wheels occur but it remains uncertain how far they might ven- on various sites in central Europe and are seen in ture onto the open sea. rock art and other media (Pare 2004), but it is Much the same may be said for the sewn plank unclear what their function was; no model vehi- boats of England and Wales (McGrail 1987; cle with such miniature wheels has been found, Wright 1990). Some observers have doubted with the exception of the “cult wagon” from whether such boats could have crossed the English Dupljaja in Serbia (Garašanin 1951; Boš­ Channel, let alone the North Sea or the Bay of Bis- ković 1959; Pare 1989). By the Late Bronze cay; the finding of a large example on the seashore Age, how­ever, a number of vehicles with elaborate at Dover (Clark 2004) seems to put it beyond spoked wheels are present, and while the surviving doubt that they were used for crossing at least the examples in bronze probably had a special func- 35 km from Dover to Cap Gris-Nez, arguably the tion (e. g. the “cult wagon” from Acholshausen, longer distances from more westerly harbours such Ldkr. Würzburg), it must surely be the case that as Portsmouth, Christchurch, Poole, Plymouth or more mundane vehicles in wood were widespread. Falmouth to the French coast: a cleat from a plank It is surely these that would have been used for boat comes from Testwood Lakes on the river Test longer distance transport. behind Southampton (Fitzpatrick et al. 1996), Solid wheels with lunate openings of the Late while Mount Batten, overlooking Plymouth har- Bronze Age found at Must Farm and Flag Fen, Cam- bour, is suspected of having been a landing place bridgeshire, dendro-dated to 1300 BC (https:// for cross-channel trade (Cunliffe 1988). Given www.cam.ac.uk/research/news/most-complete- the finding of presumptive cargoes of Bronze Age bronze-age-wheel-to-date-found-at-must-farm- bronzes off the south coast of England (Needham near-peterborough, accessed 04.12.2019), indicate et al. 2013), it is quite clear that cross-channel trade that the technology was spreading widely across the was regular and perhaps frequent. continent by the Late Bronze Age. Taken all in all, The upshot of this is that it remains uncertain by it seems most likely that cross-continent transport what route or routes, commodities or individual was either riverine or else by means of pack animals artefacts might have travelled from the Mediterra- rather than by wheeled vehicles; even light vehicles nean to northern Europe. Either boats must have with spoked wheels would only have been suitable sailed round Iberia and France, or the routes went for travel across partially prepared terrain that was through the centre of the continent. As far as cen- reasonably dry. tral Europe is concerned, it is likely that travellers followed predominantly riverine routes (Danube, Water transport Rhône), or the sea route to the Caput Adriae, and In Egypt, the East Mediterranean and the thence overland across the Alps over one of the Al- Aegean, numerous depictions (and in Egypt actual pine passes (e. g. the Brenner to the Inn valley), or vessels) indicate what boats were like (Gray 1974; from Monfalcone up the Isonzo/Soča, then east- Wachsmann 1998; Ward 2000; 2004); surviv- wards along the Vipava valley to Postojna, from ing examples, such as that from Uluburun, suggest where it is a fairly easy route across the hills to the boats up to 25 m in length, rowed and/or sailed.3 Sava. Access to the eastern side of the Adriatic is Such vessels sailed the length and breadth of the harder; from coastal Albania one may reach a cer- Mediterranean, probably into the Black Sea and tain amount of low-lying land, but beyond that very likely round the Iberian peninsula (though towering mountains make inland penetration diffi- there are no physical remains to prove this). In cult – as is the situation in western Greece, Monte- Europe generally, the standard vessel in prehisto- negro, and coastal Croatia. Access to inland south- ry was the log canoe (McGrail 1978; Arnold east Europe is easier from the Vardar-Axios-Morava or Strymon-Struma-Djerman valleys, or from the 3 The Uluburun vessel is often called a ship, but a retired mer- Black Sea rivers. It is with topographical back- chant navy captain of my acquaintance insists that a “ship” ground that we may consider the movement of must have lifeboats; otherwise it is a “boat”. It is estimated to goods in Bronze Age Europe. have been 15-16 m long (Pulak 2005). Weight and Value • Vol. 2 • 2021 129 Weight&Value02.indb 129 19.02.21 11:46 Anthony Harding Commodities and transport come from its stated findspot. New finds have con- There is clearly a big difference in the size and tinued to come to attention, however, for instance weight of the commodities that were moved that allegedly from Torrington in north Devon around Bronze Age Europe. While beads of am- (Branigan 1983) (Fig. 2 right) and a “hoard” of ber or glass could have been transported in bulk five more found in the East Devon town of Sid- by human carriers, metal, especially in ingot form, mouth (Pearce 1983, 551 pl. 117); another came was heavy and would have required vessels, vehicles from the island of Bute near Glasgow in western or animals. Thus our approach to the technology Scotland (Brandherm 2000, 54 fig. 4c, 64 no. of interconnection must bear in mind the costs (in 24) (Fig. 2 centre). These pieces join the one from skill and labour) of producing the requisite tools Egton Moor in North Yorkshire, also without con- for the task. Isolated objects like the Dohnsen cup text (Fig. 2 left).5 My own position has moved from (Sprockhoff 1961; Matthäus 1977-1978) doubt (Harding 1984, 171-172) to a belief that or the Balkåkra drum (Knape/Nordström the appearance of so many such items appearing in 1994), while interesting as part of a bigger picture different parts of Europe must be more than coin- of north-south contacts in the Bronze Age, tell us cidence. What then can they tell us about contact rather little about the regular movement of com- and transport across the continent? modities. While the former has often been kept out First one must consider the possibility that these of the discussion because of its lack of good find weapons were actually used by warriors and taken context, the latter is fully documented and can only with them to distant lands. One might find such realistically be understood as some kind of pres- an explanation more believable if they ever ap- tige gift or high value acquisition during a foreign peared in graves or merely in find contexts that in- journey. It has little or nothing to tell us about any dicated genuine association with the local Bronze more routine exchange mechanism. Other objects, Age; the only possible such example is that from while probably not part of a routine exchange, are Dricourt, Ardennes (Gerloff 1975, 256 no. 13; not uni­kates, and have a different story to tell. Such Gallay 1988, 169-170, no. 1627, Taf. 54), found is the case with a well-known class of objects: the in a tumulus (but not certainly in a grave). Other- hook-tang weapons of Cypriot type. I shall consid- wise this is not the case. There are a few instanc- er these briefly, before moving on to a quite differ- es of Aegean weapons in graves north of Greece ent material: salt. (Kilian-Dirlmeier 1993; Harding 1995, 20- 23), and weapons that appear to imitate Cypriot forms in Sardinia (Lo Schiavo 1980), but that is Cypriot spearheads hardly sufficient to act as validation for these piec- es as warrior equipment carried on campaigns. We A class of material which has long been enigmat- may reject this possibility. ic is that of the so-called Cypriot daggers or spear- That leaves other motives and means for the heads (more correctly, hook-tang weapons, German appearance of the bronzes across Europe. While Griffangelklingen) (Reinecke 1933; Catling realistically there is too little material, and with 1964, 56-59 fig. 1-2, 111-112 fig. 12, 118 fig. 13; too poor a find record, for anything to be said Gerloff 1975; Gallay 1988, 167-171; most re- with certainty, one may speculate that the form cently systematic discussion of all finds, with refer- possessed a particular authority in the eyes of its ences, in Brandherm 2000; 2017).4 These items, makers and users – and more especially of those which in Cyprus come in several forms and have a in far-off lands who saw them – so that they be- rather long life, have been considered by some to came sought-after items of special interest and be collectors’ items, of no value as a guide to an un- value. Some became part of collections (hoards), derstanding of cross-continent interactions (Wat- though never with local bronzes; the hoard from kins 1976); by others, as true indicators of contact Plouguerneau, Fini­stère, for instance, also con- between the East Mediterranean and the continent tains two flat axes and two flesh-hooks which are of Europe more widely (Gerloff 1975, 149-152, not local in form and are probably also Cypriot. 255-257; and now Brandherm 2017). Other Others found their way into the ground (or water authors decline to commit themselves (Gallay in the case of the piece from the river Zihl in Swi- 1988). The largest number of finds by far come terland) as single objects. None has ever appeared from France, almost entirely without context and 5 A note (undated) with this object was seen in Whitby Mu- in several cases without a known findspot; though seum in 1976, stating that an “identical dagger” had been this may be considered suspicious, the sheer num- found in the Bradford area “the previous year”, and was now ber, with its predominantly Atlantic and riverine in “Bradford Museum”. Dr Gearóid Mac a’ Ghobhainn, Col- distribution, is telling. Only the group allegedly lections Manager of Bradford Museums and Galleries, has kindly checked and states that there is no record of such a from Csorvás in eastern Hungary, known to ema- find in their collections (email, 17 December 2019). I am nate from the antiquities trade, is truly unlikely to grateful to Mr Terry Manby for the suggestion that the “identical dagger” was in fact a tanged knife from Baildon 4 Catling (1964) refers to the Early and Middle Bronze Age Moor; and for the observation that the patina on the Egton weapons as daggers or “rat-tail weapons”, but to the Late Moor weapon is atypical for bronzes from the North York- Bronze Age pieces as spearheads. shire Moors. 130 Weight and Value • Vol. 2 • 2021 Weight&Value02.indb 130 19.02.21 11:46 The movement of commodities in Bronze Age Europe tFig. 2. Hook-tang weap- ons (“Cypriot spearheads”) from Britain (not to scale). Left: Egton Moor, North Yorkshire (Whitby Muse- um; photo courtesy of R. Pickles), length 37.3 cm; centre: Rubha a’ Bhodaich, Bute, Argyll (Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum, Glasgow; photo courtesy of Dr D. Brandherm), length 26.2 cm; right: Torrington, Devon (Royal Albert Me- morial Museum, Exeter; photo by RAMM, by per- mission), length 38.5 cm. in any of the thousands of “normal” Bronze Age the weapons, two from France, the one from Hun- hoards from across Europe – which in itself is a re- gary, and the supposed hoard from Sidmouth, markable fact. Clearly whatever their significance Devon (with no context or known history, and and function in Europe, it was different from the not available for study).6 Whether there is a sig- usual way of treating bronze. nificance in the finding as groups is unclear, but it The finds from Britain and France would sug- seems possible. This would add to the likelihood gest a maritime movement (Fig. 3); the main that they had a special meaning in areas outside exception is the hoard of pieces allegedly from their place of origin. This idea is supported by Csorvás, Hungary. These have a very uncertain Brandherm (2017, 60). history, having been bought from an antiquities dealer, but there is no other reason to suppose 6 The pieces were seen by Prof. Susan Pearce in a shed in Sid- that they are a modern import into central Europe mouth, Devon, in the 1970s but there is no further infor- from the Mediterranean (pace Reinecke and Wat- mation available and their present whereabouts is unknown. kins). There are in fact four potential hoards of They are not in the local museum in Sidmouth, nor are they in the Royal Albert Memorial Museum in Exeter. Weight and Value • Vol. 2 • 2021 131 Weight&Value02.indb 131 19.02.21 11:46 Anthony Harding Fig. 3. Distribution of A mainly maritime route (or riverine in the case Cypriot material spread widely around the north- Cypriot hook-tang weapons of Hungary) would complement other evidence ern shores of the Mediterranean in the Bronze Age, in Europe (Cyprus not for far-reaching connections by sea from the not only in Greece (Catling 1964) but also in the shown), after Gallay and Mediterranean to north-west Europe, for instance central Mediterranean (Lo Schiavo et al. 1985) Brandherm. The larger the Sicilian items in metalwork from the Nether­ and potentially further. This is in addition to the points indicate multiple lands and southern England: the Sicilian razor movement of Cypriot copper to Greece and oth- finds (hoards). Note that in the Ommerschans hoard, the special object in er areas. Material on the Uluburun boat included the find from Csorvás, Hun- the finds from the sea off Salcombe (Butler/ much from Cyprus, quite apart from its copper in- gary, came from the antiq- Bakker 1961; Needham/Giardino 2008). gots; Cyprus was clearly one of its recent, perhaps uities trade and the alleged Brandherm’s (2000, 58 Abb. 7) full discussion its most recent, port of call. findspot is unreliable. and map show how a significant number of finds, Whatever the truth of the matter, it seems time including those he has identified in Spain, are to re-integrate the hook-tang weapons into the close to coasts. Such a scenario would suggest that picture of trans-continent movement in the 2nd seagoing vessels plied the waters not only right millennium BC, joining that for the movement across the Mediterranean (as is clear from the dis- of metals (copper, gold, tin) (Ling et al. 2013; tribution of Mycenaean pottery), but also round- 2014; Borg/Pernicka 2017) and glassy materi- ed the southern cape of Spain and proceeded als (Varberg et al. 2015; 2016). How they might northwards round the coasts of Portugal, north- have moved is less of a problem than with met- ern Spain and France. Such a picture has long als. While they are not small and light like beads, been suggested, but there are too many “missing neither are they bulky and heavy. It seems unlikely links” for certainty. that they were items of regular weight that could 132 Weight and Value • Vol. 2 • 2021 Weight&Value02.indb 132 19.02.21 11:46 The movement of commodities in Bronze Age Europe tFig. 4. The hollows creat- ed in the surface of rock salt by allowing fresh water to drip from a wooden trough (photo by D. Buzea). have had a defined value in an exchange mech- tery or bone; but because salt is so soluble this has anism, as has been suggested for a range of oth- so far proved impossible.7 As a consequence one is er bronze types, notably sickles (Sommerfeld forced to use purely archaeological methods, based 1994); it is much more likely that their value was on site distribution, in order to suggest how indi- social rather than economic. vidual cultures or communities obtained their salt. Salt is a material which could well have been weighed and transported in fixed amounts, even Salt though we do not know how it was packaged. Clay vessels of specified volume might have been all that Much has been written about salt in recent years was necessary for the purpose; it is possible that (review in Harding 2013), with many new sites such vessels are already present in the archaeologi­ and finds being discovered and excavated. Unfor- cal record but not identified as such. tunately, however, no progress has been made with Experiments by D. Buzea (2013; 2018) in Ro- the most crucial and important aspect of salt ar- mania have shed much light on these matters. At the chaeology: its movement as a trade item. It is well site of Băile Figa near Beclean, in northern Transyl- known that salt is important for human and animal vania, a series of wooden troughs have been found, health and has a wide range of other uses, notably similar to others found in previous decades at other for the preservation of foodstuffs. Add to this the sites. Although the exact function of these troughs fact that some parts of the world are rich in salt is not known for sure, one method for which they sources and others have none, and the stage is set can be used is to drip fresh water onto a rock salt for a dynamic picture of trade and exchange, poten- surface. Over a period of a few hours this creates tially over considerable distances. hollows in the rock (Fig. 4), after which the salt Salt may be mined, as at Hallstatt, produced crystals can be easily broken into small pieces and by evaporation in coarse ceramic containers (bri- collected up. Buzea (2018, 44) and his colleagues quetage), or extracted on the surface by quarry- were able to collect up 50 kg in 30 minutes by this ing or open-casting, using picks, hammers or the method, using a variety of simple stone pounders, so-called “trough technique”. Whichever way was and placing the rock in a simple wooden bucket favoured or possible, the end product was crystal- (Fig. 5-6). This is a very considerable quantity, far line salt in small or large lumps, wet or dry. In order in excess of what contemporary working using bri- for it to be moved to the consumer, it must have quetage can have been capable of; in addition, by been packed into containers or pressed into blocks far the most time-consuming and laborious part that could be held in place by cords or ropes, to be of the work was obtaining and cutting the timber transported by boat or on the backs of pack ani- mals. Nothing of this survives. Ideally one would 7 Through the kindness of Drs Jens Andersen (Camborne wish to use chemical or isotopic characterisation School of Mines) and Zachary Sharp (Albuquerque) I have techniques to identify salt from particular sources, been able to test some of the possibilities, using ICP-MS, and to follow that salt present as residues on pot- EPMA (electron microprobe), and chlorine isotope analy- sis, but the results have not justified further work. Weight and Value • Vol. 2 • 2021 133 Weight&Value02.indb 133 19.02.21 11:46 Anthony Harding uFig. 5. Collecting lumps of rock salt from the area where hollows had been cre- ated (photo by D. Buzea). for the task, not the process of producing the salt. north-western coasts of Europe might be consid- Once the trough was made (and these would have ered too cold and damp for such a technology to be been likely to have had a long life, only requiring appropriate, this was not in fact the case: Atlantic new troughs at infrequent intervals), it was main- and North Sea shores contain abundant evidence ly channelled pieces that were needed to bring the for this technique having been used in later prehis- fresh water onto location, but after that no great ef- toric and Roman times. Even Ireland, which other- fort was needed until the salt was collected. wise has only one major salt source, on the Antrim Baskets or buckets such as those shown would coast, has been shown to have boiled seawater in have been easily made, and would have served not medieval and modern times.8 only for storage but also for transportation. A buck- In the context of the salt of Transylvania, the et of this sort made of conifer wood weighs some most obvious salt-less area is Hungary. Present-­ 700 g; filled with rock salt it weighs 5.0-5.5 kg. For day Hungary has no salt sources (in contrast to transporting the rock over any distance a bag or sack imperial Hungary, which encompassed parts of is needed; in this reconstruction a sack was made most of the surrounding countries, rich in salt). of modern materials and was capable of carrying This is obviously important given the numerous 20-25 kg slung over the shoulder. Two such sacks large tell sites present above all on the Great Hun- could have carried the 50 kg mentioned above. garian Plain, but also to the west of the Danube, Such weights are far in excess of anything that has for instance at Százhalombatta or the Benta val- so far been identified in studies of weights and mea- ley, (Vicze et al. 2005; Earle/Kolb 2010). But sures in Bronze Age Europe, where “heavy weights” both to the west (the Alps) and to the east (Tran- are those up to 200 g (Rahmstorf 2010; 2019; sylvania and Moldavia, in present-day Romania) Ialongo 2018; Ialongo/Rahmstorf 2019; there are rich deposits, available for mining or for a heavier quantum at 433 g is regarded as more exploitation in brine form. A lucky find of crystal- problematical). One might presume that a bucket line salt from a Late Bronze Age site at Lébény in of this size and shape itself served as a measure of mined material, in this case salt, but conceivably 8 Medieval records indicate that salt was an important com- also for ores (especially copper). In the absence of modity, obtained from salt pans around the coasts (Anon, further archaeological information, these matters Salt in Ancient Ireland 2013, http://atriptoireland. com/2013/10/16/salt-in-ancient-ireland/, accessed 09.12. remain speculative. 2019). Apart from the fact that this shows how sea salt can be obtained even in cool moist climates like that of Ireland, The Bronze Age salt trade it indicates that salt was moved about, though not in what One of the most important aspects of ancient form or in what containers. In recent years interest in salt archaeology has increased in Ireland, with a National Survey salt, however, is that it must have served as a ma- producing a portfolio “The Archaeology of Salt Production jor trade item, since not everywhere has its own in Ireland” (https://saltarch.wordpress.com/the-national- sources. This applies particularly to inland areas; survey/). This has confirmed that coastal salt production coastal areas could have exploited seawater, using was a regular practice in modern and probably early modern the briquetage technique. Although northern and times, with a presumption that the procedures could have gone far back in time. 134 Weight and Value • Vol. 2 • 2021 Weight&Value02.indb 134 19.02.21 11:47 The movement of commodities in Bronze Age Europe tFig. 6. Tools used in breaking up the rock salt, and wooden buckets full of salt pieces (photo by D. Buzea). western Hungary (Németh 2011; 2013) would solar evaporation was possible). But in much of suggest an Alpine origin, since the findspot lies the interior of the country there is little or no salt, some 350 km from Hallstatt (to the Transylva- which means that it had to be moved to satisfy the nian sources twice as far). But the great tells sites biological needs of those who lived there. As in east of the Danube would rather look eastwards Britain, the presence of coarse ceramics far from to the sources of Transylvania, just as sites in in- the coast presumably indicates that salt was moved land Ukraine and south Russia might have looked around in specific clay containers. westwards to those of Moldavia. Since at present it is impossible to use characterisation techniques Salt as a commodity to identify which source supplied which site or Like other materials obtained from the ground, sites, it is necessary to rely on historical and ar- or the environment, salt has no intrinsic value until chaeological evidence, and make assumptions it is recognised and exploited as a useful material. about the movement. A lump of rock salt might just as well be a pebble There is an extensive record of the medieval on the beach until its useful properties for humans and early modern movement of goods around the (and by extension animals) are brought into play. Carpatho-Danubian zone, including the move- The process of turning a material into a commodity ment of salt (esp. Marc 2006; the evidence sum- is both economic and social, since value can only marised in Harding/Kavruk 2013, 212-217). be created within a social framework. In practice, it All the major rivers were used, with rafting often appears that salt was sought after from at least the being the favoured method. The main pressure Mesolithic, probably much earlier, as its properties points were the gorges through the Carpathian came to be understood. massif, especially between Transylvania and Mol- Apart from assigning value to salt, there is a davia; but since both provinces are rich in salt, question of scale. Communities utilising a local salt trade in salt through these points was probably spring or rock outcrop for purely domestic purpos- not necessary anyway. Salt was mostly transport- es have not commoditized it; it is a resource which ed in block form, or as smaller pieces or lumps; is used for home consumption, but not an object there are no certain indications of the transport of value recognised beyond the local milieu. Such of brine. In any case, it would be much easier to was the situation in much early production, where evaporate brine into crystalline form and pack it output must have been very small (for instance into parcels than to attempt the movement of salt with the first briquetage as found in southern Po- in liquid form. land or in Romanian Moldavia). Producing salt by In France, too, while there are a number of evaporation using briquetage is a lengthy process, prolific salt deposits, especially in the east of the and in Neolithic and Bronze Age contexts, the vol- country, there are large parts without either rock umes seem to have been small (to judge from the salt or brine sources. Near Atlantic and Channel size and scale of sites and the surviving briquetage). coasts, there is abundant evidence for production It seems likely that this salt was for local, domestic, by evapo­ration using briquetage (or lagoons where consumption. Weight and Value • Vol. 2 • 2021 135 Weight&Value02.indb 135 19.02.21 11:47 Anthony Harding Things changed when the volumes produced were Bóna 1960 significantly higher, so that the product could be Bóna, I., Clay models of Bronze Age wagons and passed on to other communities, near or far. Such wheels in the middle Danube Basin. Acta Archaeo- was the situation in Romania with the invention of logica Academiae Scientiarum Hungaricae 12, 1960, the so-called trough technique, which as described 83-111. above enabled much greater quantities to be pro- Borg/Pernicka 2017 duced. The same situation applies to the massive Borg, G., Pernicka, E., Goldene Zeiten? – Europä­ briquetage-based operations in Lorraine in the Iron ische Goldvorkommen und ihr Bezug zur Himmels­ Age (Olivier 2012; 2015). Estimating quantities is scheibe von Nebra. Jahresschrift für Mitteldeutsche probably impossible, but the volume of briquetage Vorgeschichte 96, 2017, 111-138. speaks for itself. In these cases, the salt can only have Boroffka 2004 been intended for exchange beyond the local area, in Boroffka, N., Bronzezeitliche Wagenmodelle other words it had become a trade good. These were im Karpatenbecken. In: M. Fansa/S. Burmeister contexts where one can truly describe salt as a com- (eds.), Rad und Wagen. Der Ursprung einer Inno­ modity, one that had value (however expressed), and vation. Wagen im Vorderen Orient und Europa exchanged according to the system of values in use at (Ausstellungs­ katalog). Archäologische Mitteilun- the time. In this context, one may wonder whether gen aus Nordwestdeutschland, Beiheft 40 (Mainz the volumes of salt might have followed weight sys- 2004) 347-354. tems as present in much of Europe (Rahmstorf Boroffka 2018 2010; 2016). As discussed above, this is beyond our Boroffka, N., Bronzezeitlicher Transport. Akteure, present ability to tell since most of the identified Mittel und Wege – eine Einführung in das Thema. weight quanta are relatively small. In: Nessel et al. 2018, 9-29. Bošković 1959 Bošković, D., Quelques observations sur le char Conclusion cultuel de Dupljaja. Archaeologia Jugoslavica 3, 1959, 41-45. The two case studies presented here are quite dif- Brandherm 2000 ferent in nature: one concerns rare objects that must Brandherm, D., Zyprische Griffangelklingen aus have passed along networks of exchange involving West- und Mitteleuropa? Zur Problematik einer person to person contact, and ending up in distant Quellengruppe der frühen und mittleren Bronzezeit. lands as prestige objects. The other concerns an ev- Freiburger Institut für Palaeowissenschaftliche Studi- eryday commodity which was an essential item of en, Kleine Schriftenreihe 4 (Freiburg 2000). dietary consumption and needed also for domestic Brandherm 2017 and industrial processes; it must have been moved in Brandherm, D., Zyprische Griffangelklingen & rather large quantities over well-­established routes. Co. aus West- und Mitteleuropa? Noch einmal zur One became a commodity; the other was a (relative) Pro­blematik einer Quellengruppe der frühen und rarity. One is likely to have been moved by individual mittleren Bronzezeit. In: D. Brandherm (ed.), Me- travellers, the other by caravans of pack animals or mento dierum antiquorum... Festschrift für Majolie watercraft. The two materials are so different that no Lenerz-de Wilde zum 70. Geburtstag. Archaeologia unified story can be told about them. Yet both have Atlantica 1 (Hagen/Westf. 2017) 45-70. a contribution to make to the overall picture of trade Branigan 1983 and travel in Europe in the Bronze Age. Branigan, K., A Cypriot hook-tang weapon from Devon. Devon Archaeological Society Proceedings 41, 1983, 125-128. Acknowledgements Burmeister 2018 Burmeister, S., Die drei großen W: Waren – I am very grateful to Dan Lucian Buzea, Museum Wagen – Wege. Überlegungen zum Überlandverkehr of the Eastern Carpathians, Sfântu Gheorghe, Ro- in prähistorischer Zeit, mit besonderem Blick auf mania, for supplying the photos of his salt experi- Nordwestdeutschland. In: Nessel et al. 2018, 119- ments at Băile Figa, and allowing me to use them. 138. Available online, http://dx.doi.org/10.15496/ I thank Roger Pickles, Tom Cadbury and Dirk publikation-26722 (accessed 16.09.2020). Brandherm for the photographs of the Cypriot Butler/Bakker 1961 weapons in Fig. 2. Butler, J. J., Bakker, J. 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Journal of Archaeo- logical Science 54, 2015, 168-181. a.f.harding@exeter.ac.uk Weight and Value • Vol. 2 • 2021 139 Weight&Value02.indb 139 19.02.21 11:47 140 Weight and Value • Vol. 2 • 2021 Weight&Value02.indb 140 19.02.21 11:47 Marcus Laelius Cosmus Italian merchants and Roman trade at Berenike under the Julio-Claudian emperors by Rodney Ast Berenike, Temple of Isis, Red Sea trade, Roman merchants, Puteoli, aromatics The article examines the role of Italian merchants and their local representatives in maritime trade between the Mediterranean and South Arabia, East Africa, and India in the early to mid 1st century AD. The analysis is based on previously unpublished epigraphic evidence from the Temple of Isis at the Red Sea port of Bereni- ke. These finds show that a Roman merchant probably from Puteoli named Marcus Laelius Cosmus was a prominent trader with operations in the Red Sea and Indian Ocean regions. Not only was he financing trade, he also did much to adorn the port of Berenike. Not least, he was responsible for (re)building the port’s central Isis Temple during the reign of the emperor Tiberius (AD 14-37). He, or someone within his social or familial network, might also have been the origin for the association of a man called Cosmus with the perfumer by that name who appears as a stock figure in the epigrams of the Roman poet Martial (ca. AD 38-104). The central role of Berenike in the importation of aromatics used in perfumes makes this association plausible, although it remains unproven. Marcus Laelius Cosmus. Italische Händler und römischer Handel in Berenike unter den julisch-claudischen Kaisern Berenike, Isis-Tempel, Handel im Roten Meer, römische Händler, Puteoli, Aromastoffe Der Artikel untersucht die Rolle der italischen Kaufleute und ihrer lokalen Repräsentanten im Seehandel zwischen dem Mittelmeer und Südarabien, Ostafrika und Indien vom Beginn bis zur Mitte des ersten Jahr- hunderts n. Chr. Die Analyse basiert auf bisher unveröffentlichten epigraphischen Zeugnissen aus dem Isis- Tempel im Hafen von Berenike am Roten Meer. Diese Funde zeigen, dass ein wahrscheinlich aus Puteoli stammender römischer Kaufmann namens Marcus Laelius Cosmus ein prominenter Händler war, der im Roten Meer und im Indischen Ozeans tätig war. Er finanzierte nicht nur Handelsaktivitäten, er setzte sich auch für die Verschönerung des Hafens von Berenike ein. Nicht zuletzt war er während der Herrschaft des Kaisers Tiberius (14-37 n. Chr.) für den (Wiederauf-)Bau des zentralen Isis-Tempels des Hafens verant- wortlich. Er oder jemand innerhalb seines sozialen oder familiären Netzwerks könnte auch der Ursprung für die Verbindung eines Mannes namens Cosmus mit dem Parfümeur dieses Namens gewesen sein, der in den Epigrammen des römischen Dichters Martial (ca. 38-104 n. Chr.) als stehende Rolle auftaucht. Die zentrale Bedeutung von Berenike bei der Einfuhr von Aromastoffen, die für Parfüms verwendet wurden, macht diese Assoziation glaubhaft, auch wenn sie unbewiesen bleiben muss. Weight and Value • Vol. 2 • 2021 141 Weight&Value02.indb 141 19.02.21 11:47 Rodney Ast Introduction ivory, and gold from East Africa. It was used until the second half of the 2nd century BC, when Berenike was one of the two major ports on elephant hunting declined (De Romanis 2020, Egypt’s Red Sea coast in the Ptolemaic and Ro- 47), and was revived again about a century later, man periods (roughly 275 BC to the 6th century under Augustus, partly because of the Indian AD). The other, Myos Hormos (modern Quseir), pepper trade (Sidebotham et al. 2019, 7-8 was located about 300 km north of Berenike. Both with bibliography; De Romanis 2020, 48-49). served those involved in overseas trade between the Over the next two centuries, it became a hub not Mediterranean and South Arabia, East Africa, and only for this trade, but also for that in aromatics, India. The Red Sea was difficult to navigate. Power- precious and semi-precious stones, resins, and ful headwinds, unseen reefs, and unexpected shoals other luxury, medicinal, and prosaic goods. We often hampered ships on their return from the East. know about Berenike’s role in Red Sea maritime As a result, it was easier to land at the more souther- trade from archeological evidence and ancient ly port of Berenike than at Myos Hormos. Landing writings. Among the latter is the Natural History at Berenike, however, meant that goods needed to of Pliny the Elder (AD 23/24-79) and the be transported over a longer land route in order to anonymous mid 1st-century treatise on Red Sea get to the Nile valley, which connected the Red Sea sailing called the Periplus Maris Erythraei (for with the Mediterranean, and using large caravans the date, see Casson 1989, 6-7).1 Much of the over long distances was costly and risky in its own surviving archeological evidence dates to the first right. These different logistical challenges caused two centuries AD. It consists of a range of organic the two ports to be used for different purposes. and inorganic objects, such as Indian peppercorn Myos Hormos was probably frequented by small- and other botanical products, imported beads er craft with lighter loads that could better handle and pearls, and textiles (Sidebotham 2011, esp. the unpredictable waters (De Romanis 2020, 47, 221-258). Gr