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Ancient Mayans mass produced salt

05 April, 2005 by mandeep

The discovery of saltworks along what is now the southern coast of Belize shows ancient Mayans mass produced the seasoning. The underwater find ....


The discovery of saltworks along what is now the southern coast of Belize shows ancient Mayans mass produced the seasoning. The underwater find at Punta Ycacos Lagoon suggests Mayan societies distilled quantities of salt from seawater and transported it by river to cities in the interior. The researchers reported that the saltworks and the remains of a 1,300-year-old wooden canoe paddle in the issue of the proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

The new saltworks are in addition to four that were previously known to exist in the area. The study said that the discovery of the saltworks indicates that there was extensive production and distribution of goods and resorces outside the cities in the interior of the Yucata. Heather McKillop of the Department of Geography and Anthropology at Louisiana State University made the discovery while snorkeling in the lagoon. She said that the ceramic pots were used to boil water to extract the salt. The finds are dated to between 600 and 900 AD.

"Archaeological discovery of multiple saltworks on the Belizean coast represents surplus production of salt destined largely for the inland Peten Maya during their Late Classic peak, underscoring the importance of non-state-controlled workshop production in pre-industrial societies," she concluded.

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