The historical, cultural, social and economic dynamisms of the Indian Ocean and its littoral fringes are a major part of world history. It is not only the cradle of the major earliest civilizations with the development of first writing but also to cradle of major religions.
The Indian Ocean has been one of the most important zones of commercial and cultural interaction since the beginning of the boat as means of transport. For the many people and ethnicities living around its shores, the Ocean provided not only livelihood, but also an invisible network of corridor from harbor to harbor channeling material, people, and ideas between Asia India, the Arabian Peninsula, the Near East, and Africa. The Indian Ocean’s diversity of peoples provided a rich source of folklore for the oral and written literatures.
Traditionally based on primarily economic interests between China, India, the Arabian Peninsula and East Africa since 1497 the travel by sea turned into colonial imperialism once Vasco da Gama had discovered the sea route to India and China.
Forming an essential part of the ´Early Modern Times´ the Indian Ocean water ways gave way to Dutch, British, and French empire builders in the modern era. And all the while, musical, architectural, and philosophical ideas continued to diffuse throughout the Indian Ocean world, creating countless variations on a shared cultural heritage.
Today the Indian Ocean with its fringes and such important upcoming nations like China, India and South-East Asia is a vivid ´Boiling Kettle´ which will play more and more a major part in World History.
Only few research centers have been dealing with the heritage phenomena of the Indian Ocean and it surrounding countries. One of them was the German Research Project Mohenjo-Daro as part of the Aachen Documentation Centre (ACDC), RWTH Aachen, which has been translocated to the Research Center Indian Ocean (RIO) at GUtech, Halban.
With the translocation a substantial research library has been brought to RIO, primarily dealing with the heritage of Afghanistan, Pakistan and India. In addition a substantial research photothek of more than 200.000 color slides and a substantial map collection on the largest Bronze Age city of the World, Mohenjo-Daro, today Pakistan, have been translocated to RIO. This collection makes RIO worldwide unique.
Besides basic research, RIO Heritage is also involved in different applied science programs:
For more than thirty years ACDC had been involved in different UNESCO projects. Besides conservation and heritage management projects in Kazakhstan and Kirgizstan, projects have been executed in Afghanistan (Ghazni, Bamiyan), Pakistan (Sindh, Mohenjo-Daro) and in Oman (Archaeological Park al Baleed). Presently a documentation project on historic clay architecture in Oman is executed. Through two years research in India (Archaeological Survey of India, New Delhi) the Center has built up important connections to different institutions and universities. The same accounts for Pakistan. Recently RIO has been an important motor in the founding of the new research center CIVIS at the Sindh University Jamshoro, Pakistan.
With the transfer of RIO at Gutech a huge potential is given to continue both, fundamental and applied research in the reach of the Indian Ocean.
Inventory of Cultural Property Sindh
The Inventory of Cultural Property in the Province of Sindh, 2015 is a 4 Volume Publication listing all historical sites in the province of Sindh, Pakistan.
Historic Settlements of Oman
The research project “Historic Settlements of Oman” is an ongoing project that aims to create an electronic database and record systematically the settlemental history of Oman.