Scientists Find Underwater Salt Kitchens Showing How the Mayans Worked 1,300 Years Ago

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Scientists have found underwater salt pans showing how the Maya worked for 1300 years back

In the salt kitchens, people boiled brine over a fire to evaporate the water and get usable salt.

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Salt is a staple of almost everyone's dinner table. It is a food without which we cannot imagine most dishes today, writes The Charlotte Observer.

However, according to recent finds from Belize, unlike most modern households, the ancient Maya produced salt in the kitchen in their homes .

Archaeologists have mapped one of the largest ancient Maya salt pans, a site called Taab Nuk Na, flooded off the coast of Paynes Creek National Park in southern Belize.

Scientists have found underwater salt pans showing how the Maya worked 1300 years ago

Scientists have found underwater salt pans showing how the Maya worked 1300 years ago

Researchers examined the flooded area and marked the finds, which included wooden poles, pottery fragments and more, with flags. A sea of ​​more than 600 flags revealed 10 dwellings, three salt pans and a glimpse into ancient Maya life.

Wooden poles, remains of pole and straw structures, were rare finds, according to experts.“Because wood typically rots in the tropical Mayan climate, wooden buildings provide a rare kind of architecture that once dominated most ancient Maya communities,” said E. Corey Sills, one of the study's authors at Louisiana State University.

The oldest buildings date back to 300 AD, while most of the buildings and all salt pans date back to around 700.

Scientists have found underwater salt pans showing how the Maya worked 1300 years ago

Scientists have found underwater salt pans showing how the Maya worked 1300 years ago

In salt kitchens, people boiled salted brine over a fire to evaporate the water and make usable salt. According to the researchers, these kitchens were found close to homes, indicating that salt production took place from home, likely by family groups.

Home salt kitchens produced salt for their families and used the surplus for local or regional markets. Ten salt pans produced about 3,400 kg of salt every week, enough to feed 24,000 people.

“The Maya needed salt, which was scarce on land, and most of it came from salt works along the coast”, experts concluded.