Saturday, September 28, 2013

Archaeologists have found in Guatemala salt production center of the ancient Maya. -VIDEO: The Salt Harvest Process at Maya Natural Sea Salt Facility in Guatemala.

A major center for the production of salt of the ancient Mayan civilization discovered by archaeologists in Guatemala...

Discovered center is located in the Salinas de los Nueve Cerros, where he was one of the cities of the Maya. His destination was the mining and processing of salt, which is then supplied to various parts of the State in the territory of the modern Maya of Guatemala and Mexico, according to VOR citing the Ministry of Culture of the Central American country.

At the site found numerous items of work associated with the production of salt, as well as the huge cauldrons in which finished products are stored. Archaeologists have concluded that salt production was carried out there in large quantities.

This is evidenced by the observed special platform measuring 200 by 100 meters and a depth of 13 meters, on which he performed the work. In the year of the Mayan could produce up to 24 thousand tons of salt, using salt water of some rivers.

A History of Salt Production

While some of the tools have changed over the more than 3,000 years of salt production at Nueve Cerros, the basic problems and methods have not. Since the salt is collected in a heavy brine, it is necessary to remove the water, either through boiling or solar evaporation. The salt naturally collects in a large plain (the "Playon," or Big Beach) west of the salt dome as the stream floods and recedes with the rains, and most production here likely involved scraping off its surface for easily-acquired salt. Ancient, historical, and modern salt producers boiled down the salt over an open fire as well. The ancient Maya used beaker-shaped jars to boil down the brine, pouring it into large, flat molds to make the salt cakes that were then exported. Before it was shipped out, the salt was stored in enormous vessels (with a diameter of just under 2 meters) that were buried throughout the city's "industrial zone." The historical (largely Spanish or ladino) salt producers used giant iron pots to boil down the salt; one such producer eventually riveted several of the iron pots to a platform that he constructed near one of the salt springs.

The problems involved in salt production were the same in ancient and modern times. Nueve Cerros is located at the edge of the Guatemalan highlands in one of the wettest parts of the Maya world--it rains periodically and unpredictably even during the driest months of the year, so salt production is never completely dependable. In addition, moving a soluble powder from the source to the market--often over 100 km and several days' voyage--has required different strategies over time. The ancient Maya likely took advantage of the Chixoy River to send salt further into the lowlands, while the Spaniards and Guatemalans until recently still used canoes and mules to bring salt to Coban and the Peten.

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