Megalithic manufacturing in Britain

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Re: Megalithic manufacturing in Britain

Postby Boreades » 10:03 am

hvered wrote: The apparent link between salt trade and 'wich' places may have acquired 'Viking' connotations, Baltic dwellers needing salt more than most people, but -wick/-vik etc are more widespread than just 'salt places'.

Can anyone remember why Baltic dwellers needed more salt than others? Was it for preserving food?

Bournemouth Uni recently published a learned article on Iron Age and Roman salt-production in southern Britain (focusing on Somerset, Dorset and Kent). ... hos.619472

They say things like :

It is also probable that the emergence of uniform salt-production sites in Somerset in the later Roman period, reflects that this area had become predominant for the supply of salt to major ‘consumer sites such as legionary fortresses and the larger towns.

But don't seem to say why Somerset was chosen in preference to any other coastal area. Perhaps it was suitable power sources? Somerset and Kent had coal, Dorset had shale oil.
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Re: Megalithic manufacturing in Britain

Postby hvered » 10:26 am

Boreades wrote: Can anyone remember why Baltic dwellers needed more salt than others? Was it for preserving food?

The Baltic Sea is low in salt. More like a lake or river than a sea.

It'd be ifficult to gauge whether salt production increased in the Roman period, in Somerset or anywhere else, due to changes and development of coastal areas.
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Re: Megalithic manufacturing in Britain

Postby Mick Harper » 11:32 am

The Baltic is not only low in salt (2 parts as against 35 parts per thousand for the ocean) but is also a bit parky for natural evaporative processes. Hence, the theory goes, why the Old Saxons with the salt mines in Saxony are also the New Saxons (of Anglo-Saxon fame) of the Baltic, with the Elbe in between to get it there.

We have been assuming that the Megalithc Brits used (indeed created) the salt marsh evaporation basins that are now called Poole, Portsmouth and various other massive (and unique) shallow harbours. However, there has never been a satisfactory explanation for the Somerset Levels so we can now provisionally assume that they too were artificial salt marshes.

All this effort to produce salt (we haven't even got on to the Biscay Bay production centres) suggests that salt was used on a much more massive scale than would be required for domestic use, even adding in for big time trade in salted foodstuffs. Given that we have already made a fairly major link between Megalithics and chalk (which is calcium without the chloride -- please check my chemistry, someone, I got grade H in my mocks and was told to do German instead, and got grade H in my actual German O-level) there may be something we've missed.
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