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27 | 2016
The Sea Beyond all Borders: The Link between Southeast Asian Countries

La mer au-delà des frontières: le lien entre les pays d’Asie du Sud-Est
Edited by Nguyễn Quốc-Thanh
Couverture Moussons 27
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204 pages
ISBN 979-10-320-0066-3

The Sea is a fundamental link between most of Southeast Asian countries. Whether they are from the islands or from the mainland, they benefited from the outside influences and sometimes suffered from it. The outside influences impacted on the maritime cultures who in turn, shaped national history. Across time and space, how did communities lived and connected with the maritime element? How did maritime cultures develop? How important is the Sea for Asian people? For coastal populations, the answer may appear obvious. For centuries they inherited foreign cultures coming from migration currents and waterborne exchanges. Archeology is one of the keys to understand Asian maritime legacy. Crossed by 4 main influences, islanders integrated various elements which shaped and defined their own culture. It included elements from the Austronesian speaking people and their maritime skills, from the Cham and their “thalassocracy” organization, from the Chinese and from the Europeans. This unique heritage deserves to be adequately and thoroughly assessed. Beyond time and distances, the sea is the bond that links Asian people together.