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Neolithic Salt Factory Found in England

Thursday, April 1, 2021

England Saltern PotteryNORTH YORKSHIRE, ENGLAND—The Guardian reports that an industrial-scale salt production site dated to 3800 B.C. has been uncovered on a coastal hilltop in northern England by archaeologist Steve Sherlock and a team of volunteers. The site includes a trench containing three hearths, pottery, stone tools, and a storage pit. Salt deposits were detected on some of the pottery, which is thought to have been made by people who migrated from northern France around 4000 B.C. A cairn, a mortuary structure, a dwelling, and pottery bearing traces of dairy products have also been unearthed in the area. Salt, Sherlock explained, would have allowed the early farmers to preserve food for winter use as they became dependent upon growing crops and keeping animals. The discovery is the first evidence of Neolithic salt-making to be found in Britain, he added, perhaps because rising sea levels and coastal erosion have erased other examples. Read the original scholarly article about this research in Antiquity. To read about large gatherings in southwest England more than 4,000 years ago, go to "Neolithic Henge Feasts," one of ARCHAEOLOGY's Top 10 Discoveries of 2019.

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