An 800-Year-Old Shipwreck Helps Archaeologists Piece Together Asia’s Maritime Trade

Among the more than 7,500 fragments from the Java Sea shipwreck that reside in Chicago’s Field Museum are corroded lumps of iron, exported from China for use as weapons or agricultural tools in Southeast Asia; button-like weights used on merchants’ scales; barnacle encrusted chunks of aromatic resin and crumbling ivory; and thousands upon thousands of ceramic wares.

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