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Artifacts From Maya Saltworks in Belize Analyzed

Monday, November 22, 2021

Maya ArtifactBATON ROUGE, LOUISIANA—According to a statement released by Louisiana State University (LSU), archaeologists Heather McKillop of LSU, Cory Sills of the University of Texas–Tyler, and their colleagues radiocarbon dated samples of wood posts collected at the now underwater site of Ek Way Nal off the coast of Belize. McKillop thought all of the posts would date to the same time period, since they were all visible on the seafloor. But the researchers found that building at the site began during the Late Classic period and continued into the Terminal Classic period, when inland city states were abandoned by about A.D. 900. Analysis of artifacts further suggests that there had been at least ten kitchens made of poles and thatch where brine was boiled in clay pots; an outdoor area where fish were salted and dried; and at least one permanent residence. The Maya who lived at the saltworks, McKillop explained, produced a surplus of salt for use inland, and owned nonlocal goods, indicating that they participated in the regional economy. For more on findings from the site, go to "World Roundup: Belize."

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