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Prehispanic Saltmaking in Belize: New Evidence

  • J. Jefferson MacKinnon (a1) and Susan M. Kepecs (a2)

Abstract

The discovery of a number of prehispanic saltmaking sites on the southern coast of Belize by the Point Placencia Archaeological Project suggests a concern with local saltmaking during the Late Classic and perhaps later periods. Previously, only one small source was thought to have produced salt in prehispanic Belize, and it was believed that most of this mineral was imported from the northern coast of Yucatan. This paper describes the sites located by our survey and offers an interpretation of the local saltmaking process. It is suggested that Placencia salt was inferior in quality to that from Yucatan, and that it might have been consumed by commoners, while elites were able to obtain pure Yucatecan salt.

Résumé

En la costa del sur de Belice, el descubrimiento por el Proyecto Arqueológico de Punta Placencia de un numero de sitios que en tiempos prehispánicos producían sal, sugiere un interés en la producción de sal en el período clasico tardío y, talvez, en períodos siguientes. Previamente se suponía queen el Belice prehispánico, una producción reducida de sal se realizaba solamente en un sitio, y que la mayoría de este mineral se importaba de la costa del norte de Yucatán. El presente ensayo describe los sitios localizados por nuestro equipo y ofrece una interpretación del procedimiento local para producir la sal. Se supone que la sal de Placencia era de una calidad inferior, y que su consumo por la gente común contrastaba con el uso de la sal de alta calidad de Yucatán por las personas de elevada casta.

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References

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Prehispanic Saltmaking in Belize: New Evidence

  • J. Jefferson MacKinnon (a1) and Susan M. Kepecs (a2)

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