Salt production started in ancient China

August 23, 2005

A Harvard University study reports large-scale salt production occurred in inland China more than 2,000 years ago, the earliest date yet uncovered.

Salt is an important mineral for both nutrition and food preservation, and scientists believe salt production and trade are critical in the development of complex societies.

Harvard researcher Rowan Flad and colleagues said they found multiple lines of evidence of large-scale salt production at an archeological site near Zhongba, along the Yangzi River in central China.

The chemical compositions of the soil and nearby brine were found to be similar to other salt-production facilities. Likewise, the researchers said the form and composition of various ceramics found at the site are similar to salt production pottery discovered in other regions of the world.

The scientists say their study indicates salt production was a significant activity at the site during the first millennium B.C., and possibly earlier.

The article appears in this week's online early edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Copyright 2005 by United Press International

Explore further: Researchers study the impact of saltwater intrusion on tidal wetlands

Related Stories

Seawater greenhouses to bring life to the desert

July 14, 2015

Greenhouses that will use seawater to grow crops in one of the hottest and driest places on earth will be designed by researchers at Aston University working with industry partners as part of an international project.

Optimizing shale gas production from well to wire

June 25, 2015

"Hydraulic fracturing" (or fracking) and "environmentally friendly" often do not appear in the same sentence together. But as the United States teeters on the precipice of a shale gas boom, Northwestern University professor ...

The race for better batteries

June 15, 2015

"The worldwide transition from fossil fuels to renewable sources of energy is under way…" according to the Earth Policy Institute's new book, The Great Transition.

Recommended for you

How bees naturally vaccinate their babies

July 31, 2015

When it comes to vaccinating their babies, bees don't have a choice—they naturally immunize their offspring against specific diseases found in their environments. And now for the first time, scientists have discovered how ...

Binary star system precisely timed with pulsar's gamma-rays

July 31, 2015

Pulsars are rapidly rotating compact remnants born in the explosions of massive stars. They can be observed through their lighthouse-like beams of radio waves and gamma-rays. Scientists at the Max Planck Institute for Gravitational ...

Image: Hubble sees a dying star's final moments

July 31, 2015

A dying star's final moments are captured in this image from the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope. The death throes of this star may only last mere moments on a cosmological timescale, but this star's demise is still quite ...

Exoplanets 20/20: Looking back to the future

July 31, 2015

Geoff Marcy remembers the hair standing up on the back of his neck. Paul Butler remembers being dead tired. The two men had just made history: the first confirmation of a planet orbiting another star.

Earth flyby of 'space peanut' captured in new video

July 31, 2015

NASA scientists have used two giant, Earth-based radio telescopes to bounce radar signals off a passing asteroid and produce images of the peanut-shaped body as it approached close to Earth this past weekend.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.