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Durham University

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Publication details

Skeates, R. (2009). Trade and interaction. In The Oxford Handbook of Archaeology. Gosden, C., Cunliffe, B. & Joyce, R.A. Oxford: Oxford University Press. 555-578.

Author(s) from Durham


This article focuses on the relevance of trade and interaction in archaeology. It evaluates the definitions of these terms, provides a critical synthesis of the diverse ways in which successive generations of archaeologists have approached and interpreted these topics, and considers some of the ways in which people in the past may have communicated with each other, through trade and interaction. It explains that trade and interaction are commonly associated with two sets of interpretations: the first, of certain durable objects found on archaeological sites, as imported and exported commodities; the second, of past people, as traders and travellers engaged in long-distance networks of contact, supply, and redistribution.