The study examines for the first time the available archaeological data on salt production and use in Later Prehistory in the Veneto region and exploits the close connection between salt use and livestock keeping on which Veneto historically relied as a crucial resource during protohistoric and Roman times. The region was one of the most significant areas of the central Mediterranean during Later Prehistory, as it provides evidence of rich central places and long-distance trading between the Mediterranean and Northern Europe. Despite the absence of salt mines, this area had access to abundant sal marinus from its extensive lagoons, which were natural environments for salt production and winter pastures, as supported by archaeological evidence from the Bronze Age, Roman times, and late antiquity. Topographic, ethnographic, and historical data demonstrate that the pastoral routes from the mountains grazed the coastal lagoon areas, creating connections between diverse ecosystems within the region and its surrounding areas. While pinpointing the exact movement of salt remains speculative, considering the available data, this preliminary study suggests that during the Bronze Age, sea salt from the coast was the primary source of salt especially in eastern Veneto, whereas rock salt from the Alps' significant mines was likely to arrive in the western Venetian mountains from the Iron Age onwards. Thus, at least two distinct circuits for salt production, trade, and distribution likely coexisted in the region from the Iron Age.

Salt and Pastoralism in the Protohistory of the Veneto

M. Migliavacca
2024-01-01

Abstract

The study examines for the first time the available archaeological data on salt production and use in Later Prehistory in the Veneto region and exploits the close connection between salt use and livestock keeping on which Veneto historically relied as a crucial resource during protohistoric and Roman times. The region was one of the most significant areas of the central Mediterranean during Later Prehistory, as it provides evidence of rich central places and long-distance trading between the Mediterranean and Northern Europe. Despite the absence of salt mines, this area had access to abundant sal marinus from its extensive lagoons, which were natural environments for salt production and winter pastures, as supported by archaeological evidence from the Bronze Age, Roman times, and late antiquity. Topographic, ethnographic, and historical data demonstrate that the pastoral routes from the mountains grazed the coastal lagoon areas, creating connections between diverse ecosystems within the region and its surrounding areas. While pinpointing the exact movement of salt remains speculative, considering the available data, this preliminary study suggests that during the Bronze Age, sea salt from the coast was the primary source of salt especially in eastern Veneto, whereas rock salt from the Alps' significant mines was likely to arrive in the western Venetian mountains from the Iron Age onwards. Thus, at least two distinct circuits for salt production, trade, and distribution likely coexisted in the region from the Iron Age.
2024
salt, pastoralism, Protohistoru, North-Eastern Italy
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11562/1126411
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