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Ancient Maya: Astrologists, Farmers ... And Salt Entrepreneurs?

Evidence from a site in Belize shows the Maya not only had large-scale salt-producing operations along the coast, they were also using salt to preserve fish for their extensive trade networks.
Ancient Maya ruins at Tikal in northern Guatemala, near the border with Belize. Researcher Heather McKillop explains that Maya sites like Tikal could have been popular marketplaces to trade salt and other commodities. Source: David DUCOIN/Gamma-Rapho/Getty Images

The ancient Maya might be known for their mathematical aptitude, their accurate calendars, and their impressive temples. But did you know they were also salt entrepreneurs?

During the peak of Maya civilization – from 300 to 900 A.D. — coastal Maya produced salt by boiling brine in pots over fires. The end result was shaped

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