First salt making in Europe: an overview from Neolithic times

  • Olivier Weller CNRS, UMR 8215 Trajectoires, Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne, Maison de l’Archéologie et de l’Ethnologie, 21 allée de l’Université, F-92023 Nanterre cedex, France
Keywords: salt production, Neolithic, Europe, archaeological evidence


This paper deals with the origin of salt production and discusses different approaches ranging from technology, ethnoarchaeology and paleoenvironmental studies to chemical analyses. Starting from the current research on the Neolithic exploitation of salt in Europe, we examine the types and nature of the salt resources (sea water, salt springs, soil or rock), the diversity of archaeological evidence of forms of salt working. We also scrutinize the types of production for these early forms of salt exploitation, with or without the use of crudely fired clay vessels (briquetage). Finally, we contextualise the socio-economic dimensions and highlight both the diversity of salt products and their characteristics, which go well beyond dietary roles.


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How to Cite
WellerO. (2015). First salt making in Europe: an overview from Neolithic times. Documenta Praehistorica, 42, 185–196.