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Ancient Maya Used Salt Cakes as Money

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This is another example of ancient cultures valuing salt in commerce and possibly a store of value:

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The first documented record of salt as an ancient Maya commodity at a marketplace is depicted in a mural painted more than 2,500 years ago at Calakmul, a UNESCO World Heritage site in the Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico. Image credit: Rogelio Valencia, Proyecto Arqueológico Calakmul.

 

Quote

The first documented record of salt as an ancient Maya commodity at a marketplace is depicted in a mural painted more than 2,500 years ago at Calakmul in Mexico.

In the mural that portrays daily life, a salt vendor shows what appears to be a salt cake wrapped in leaves to another person, who holds a large spoon over a basket, presumably of loose, granular salt.

This is the earliest known record of salt being sold at a marketplace in the Maya region.

“Salt cakes could have been easily transported in canoes along the coast and up rivers in southern Belize,” said Professor McKillop, an archaeologist in the Department of Geography and Anthropology Louisiana State University.

http://www.sci-news.com/archaeology/maya-salt-money-09479.html

 

Summary: It is easy to forget today about the importance of salt in ancient times, from preserving food to seasoning. By being able to preserve the food, it removed the dependence on local availability and allowed food transport over long distances.

 

Where is Calakmul on map of Mexico

 

 

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