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Salt: Treasure of the Ancient World and Highly-Valued Currency of the Roman Empire

Sunday, October 9, 2016 17:02
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Exhibition showing salt production in Museo do Mar in Vigo, Spain. Source: Natalia Klimczak

Salt was one of the greatest treasures of the ancient world. Production facilities dedicated to the mineral provided work for many people, but now most of the sites are destroyed or hidden deeply under the ground and buildings of modern cities. However, there are still a few impressive sites which document the work of people who produced an ancient symbol of luxury.

Nowadays, most people cannot imagine their lives without salt. It is used in many different parts of daily life and is in everything from food to cosmetics. Moreover, the tradition of the use of the salt is very old. In ancient times a person who owned a salt production site was very wealthy.

100 AD Roman miniature salt dish.

100 AD Roman miniature salt dish. (Carl Guderian/CC BY NC SA 2.0)

The Oldest Known Salt Production Site

The oldest known salt production site is located in the city of Provadia, Bulgaria. It is also believed to be one of the oldest cities in Europe. The site, now called Solnitsata was settled about 4,500 years BC. The economy of the circa 350 population was based on the production of salt. Researchers believe that the small town supplied all the Balkans with their salt.

Section: – Reconstructing the story of humanity’s past


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