U.S. scientists reveal in a recent study how the ancient Maya produced, stored and marketed salt, at the height of their civilization more than a thousand years ago, published Tuesday the magazine Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
New analyses of stone tools found among the remains of an old mineral factory show that the Maya not only produced salt in large quantities, but also salted fish and meat to meet food needs and produced a raw material which could be stored.
We found practically no fish or other animal bones during our work on the seabed, so we were surprised that microscopic marks on stone tools showed their use for cutting fish or meat, said Heather McKillop, of Louisiana State University in the United States.
The McKillop study site is a four-square-kilometer area surrounded by a mangrove forest which had been buried under a saltwater lagoon due to rising sea levels.
However, the mangrove peat preserves the wood, which normally decomposes in the Central American rainforest.
These discoveries underpin the model of regional salt production and distribution to meet the biological needs of the classical Mayans, McKillop said. (Taken from Prensa Latina) (Photo: Internet)