How to Use this Site

How to Use This Website

This online resource enables users to explore primary source historical evidence about interactions among people in the lands around the Indian Ocean throughout history. From earliest pre-historic times to the present, people have traveled around and on the Indian Ocean, traded, explored, and made use of its rich resources. In buried sites, shipwrecks, monuments, museum objects, documents and books, there is a huge and growing record of these interactions and exchanges. This site aims to provide students, teachers, and general audiences with a sampling of these primary sources.

The core of the resource is a series of MAPS representing seven time periods, or eras, in world history, from 90,000 years ago to the present day. On each of these era maps, pictographic icons representing geographic features, places, trade goods, documents, technologies, travelers, and objects are placed in relevant locations. Placing the cursor over an icon brings up a label identifying what the icon represents. Clicking on the icon opens a text box explaining the label and why it is significant in this period. Within the text box are images that can be opened next to the box. The icons represent primary sources by which historians know what happened in the Indian Ocean region over time. The icons reveal primary sources such as: accounts written by travelers; political and economic documents - inscriptions, decrees of rulers, treaties, charts, and maps; objects found in archaeological investigations and known commodities; scientific investigations of found objects and sites; and geographic information.

The map key in the lower left corner of the map is also a learning resource. Clicking on each icon in the map key brings up a textbox with a guide for investigating a specific type of historical or geographic resource. These skills lessons help users to think about the questions historians ask about objects and documents as they 'read' or interpret them as historical evidence. At the top of the maps are tabs that allow the user to switch between eras. Below the tab bar is a timeline with markers representing important world events during each era, identified by moving the cursor over each blue dot. A 'search' toolbar, located on the maps, allows the user to enter keywords that are found in the text boxes. Users can find a trade good such as 'sugar', for example, in more than one map, and so trace the origin and roles of this item through time.

Users can just browse through the maps and explore the icons. The LEARNING TOOLS and LESSON PLANS tabs on the toolbar have menus with introductions for students and teachers. Students can systematically explore each map, and take notes on the graphic organizers that can be downloaded and printed, or filled out in a word processor. For teachers, a Model Lesson Plan provides information on how to integrate the resource into their classrooms and help students to get the most out of it. A list of further readings includes books, articles and online resources for students and general readers. The Credits tab on the toolbar includes all image credits, and a complete bibliography of sources consulted in writing the texts and gathering the images.

Lesson Plan Generator

Detailed instructions on using the Lesson Plan Generator can be found here.


Does the legend get in the way? What about those image and text popups? Now you can click and drag them to a convenient place for optimal map viewing.


Find your entries faster and more efficiently with our new search engine. Each query delivers results for every era that are catalogued by era. Now you can follow your favorite topics through the ages. Search engine recognizes the following indicators for more advanced searching: and , +, -, not, and or.

Just click on the result you want and you are transported to the entry. The search results box will cover some of the map but don't forget you can move it out of the way without closing it.

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This site is sponsored by: Sultan Qaboos Cultural Center 1100 16th Street NW.
Washington, DC 20036

For more information about SQCC, please visit our website