Archaeological Evidence of Ancient Trade Research Paper


Archaeological evidence is important in the reconstruction of the social and economic aspects of the ancient cities. Through archeology, evidence of ancient trade in cities has been unearthed and studied to rebuild the practices of the ancient societies when it comes to trade. Trade in ancient societies was different in different regions. Sernicola and Philipson (2011), look at trade in ancient Aksum while Smith (1990), looks at ancient trade amongst the Aztecs. It is important to compare and contrast trade in the two different regions found on two different continents. 

Comparing and contrasting

Sernicola and Philipson study looks at the ancient trade amongst an African society with specific study on the short and mid distance trades in the Aksum area. The article studies the Aksum trading between the 1st millennium BC and the first Millennium AD. The archaeological survey traced routes around Aksum and unearthed evidence that showed routes used by merchants in and out of the city. In addition, the article reports on the cities use of river valleys as the main gateways into and out of the city for trading purposes. Aksum trade was also based on lithic artefact from the components collected by archeologists. The evidence also shows that Aksum traded with Mediterranean, North Africa, Saudi Arabia and even west India. Evidence of ivory and ebony at Adulis along river Takkezze shows the wide network of Aksum trading (Sernicola and Philipson 190-201).

Smith looks at the evidence of Long distance trade amongst the Aztec communities in the late Postclassical Era, which is about the pre-Columbian era in the American societies. The Aztec were some of the most organized societies in the Mesoamerican society. The study looks at trade in the Aztec and outside the Aztec empire and focusses on long distance. The study highlights the objects of trade and it portrays the importance of politics in control of trade. Aztec in the article is used to refer to the area and the people found in the Mexican basin during the Pre Columbian times. The items of trade in the Aztec community are shown to have been Luxurious goods, which were used for sociopolitical reasons (Smith 154-166).

While Sernicola and Philipson study the trade routes of ancient Aksum, Smith looks at the archaeological evidence of luxurious goods in and outside the Aztec empire. Another contrast of the two studies is in terms of the distance in which archeology studied the societies. Smith looks at Long distance trading while Sernicola and Phillipson study the short and Middle length routes taken by the traders in Aksum. The two studies show that the peak of trade in the two regions was nearly at the same archaeological period or time.

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