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Evidence for medieval salt-making by burning Eel-grass (Zostera marina L.) in the Netherlands

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  01 April 2016

G.J. Borger
Affiliation:
Amsterdam Research Institute for Global Issues and Development Studies, Universiteit van Amsterdam, Nieuwe Prinsengracht 130, 1018 VZ Amsterdam, The Netherlands. Email:g.j.borger@uva.nl
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Abstract

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From the 8th/9th centuries onwards the former peat land area in the northwestern part of the Netherlands was drained and reclaimed. Drainage, peat digging and marine erosion of peat deposits created an extension of shallow marine habitats into which Zostera marina (Eel-grass) expanded. Modern publications do not note the use of Eel-grass as starting material for salt-making. Archaeological evidence, however, indicates salt-making activities by using Zostera in medieval times. We postulate that, after salt-containing peat had become difficult to obtain, Eel-grass was used for salt production.

Type
Research Article
Copyright
Copyright © Stichting Netherlands Journal of Geosciences 2005

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