Salt | White Gold in Early Europe


Anthony Harding


This Element provides a concise account of the archaeology of salt production in ancient Europe. It describes what salt is, where it is found, what it is used for, and its importance for human and animal health. The different periods of the past in which it was produced are described, from earliest times down to the medieval period. Attention is paid to the abundant literary sources that inform us about salt in the Greek and Roman world, as well as the likely locations of production in the Mediterranean and beyond. The economic and social importance of salt in human societies means that salt has served as a crucial aspect of trade and exchange over the centuries, and potentially as a means of individuals and societies achieving wealth and status.

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