Trade Route Discovery
Heavy with Chinese cargo, the ship that sank off Belitung in the early ninth century was an Arab dhow. The wreck gives scholars an unprecendented time capsule of enterprise on the Maritime Silk Route, for centuries the nexus of international trade. Catching seasonal monsoon winds, merchants and mariners linked the Middle East to China through India and ports of call in between.
Scale varies in this perspective. Distance from Khambhat to Kollam is 1,000 MI(1,609 km). Present-day place-names and boundaires shown.
Illustration by Fernando G. Baptista, NG Staff. Map by Virginia W. Mason and Lisa R. Ritter, NG Staff.

Ship Reconstruction consultants: Nick Burningham and Michael Flecker. Dhow image from Biblioteque Nationale de France.