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SaltWhite Gold of the Ancient Maya$
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Heather McKillop

Print publication date: 2002

Print ISBN-13: 9780813025117

Published to Florida Scholarship Online: September 2011

DOI: 10.5744/florida/9780813025117.001.0001

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Salt Production, Trade, and Late Classic Maya Society

Salt Production, Trade, and Late Classic Maya Society

(p.175) 6 Salt Production, Trade, and Late Classic Maya Society

Heather Mckillop

University Press of Florida

This chapter discusses the salt production and salt trade in Late Classic Mayan Society. Salt production in the Punta Ycacos Lagoon during the Late Classic period used to supply the coastal towns of the Port Honduras region and the inland Maya cities of southern Belize and the Pasion region in Guatemala. Although the produced salt of the coastal region of the southern Maya lowlands was used for trading, there is no evidence that there existed a trade of goods between the Port of Honduras and the northern coast of the Yucatan during the Late Classic period. Instead, an extensive coastal-inland trade between the highlands of Guatemala and the southern Maya lowlands did occur wherein the salt was the primary traded good. However in the rise of cultural changes brought about by the fall of Mayan civilization and by the abandonment of inland cities together with the increase in the sea level pushed the Punta Ycacos salt production into oblivion. The discovery of these salt production sites provides a glimpse of the existence of specialized, non-domestic production and the existence of economically friendly trade within complex societies wherein the long-trade was limited to highly valuable items while inland trade was punctuated by the delivery and exchange of everyday goods essential for daily human existence.

Keywords:   salt production, salt trade, Classic Mayan Society, Punta Ycacos Lagoon, coastal towns, Port Honduras, inland Maya cities, Belize

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