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I N T R O D U C T I O N

A simple introduction. containing the background, thesis, and methodology of the MRBLOCH SALT ARCHIVES.
 Introduction
 
PHYSIOLOGY | GEOLOGY | ARCHAEOLOGY | PALAEOCLIMATOLOGY | EUSTATIC SEALEVELS | DEAD SEA LEVELS | PALAEOGEOGRAPHY | PRODUCTION SALTPETER | RELIGION | ECONOMICS | INDIA Monopolies | CHINA Monopolies | FRANCE the Gabelle
 
 | THE MANY USES of Salt | ETYMOLOGY | MONOMANIA
E

P H Y S I O L O G Y

Water and salt are essential for maintaining extra cellular and intracellular concentrations of salt to activate cells in all plant and animal life. The body may endure periods of lack of food, but without salt and water , living cells would quickly perish from dehydration. Prior to the Industrial revolution, Water was relatively easy to obtain, but salt, in the quantities required by growing communities, was nigh, impossible.
Physiology  

R E L I G I O N

Red static salt brines sometimes referred to as the 'blood of life' looked and tasted very much like real blood. The "hunter gatherers" of pre-agricultural communities recognised that both, the blood of the animals they slaughtered, and these red static brines coloured by Halophilic algae had the similar characteristics. No wonder that the salt of animal blood and that of salt brine became a mysterious powerful magic. In due course white crystal salt from other natural sources was discovered to contain this magical power of sustaining life and good health, and was instinctively added to the slaughtered meat. It was also discovered that this salt  served to dehydrate the meat and preserve it for long periods. Thus "salting" of slaughtered and sacrificed animals, achieved two critical requirements: physiological, and as a preservative. So critical were these two requirements, that a community's Abattoir soon became its Temple, and the ceremony of ritual sacrifice was to be revered and protected, not only as a very important and powerful economic enterprise, but also as a central and important social theme.
Religion  

P R O D U C T I O N

The power to monopolize and control a population's salt supply, was power over life and death. Erratic sea level changes, made salt production on the sea shore difficult, particularly in the Mediterranean, and periodic flooding of the ancient coastal evaporation facilities prevented some of these civilisations from obtaining consistent salt supplies, causing them to migrate or decay, conquer or succumb to others.
Production
Saltpeter production
The East India Company
Peat Production
 

A R C H A E O L O G Y

All Via Salarium lead ..to Rome! -  The fact that the Romans abroad, seemed to have concentrated their military infrastructure near salt sources, or on salt routes between those sites, and Rome [Via Salaria], should dictate that we examine more closely the importance of salt to the Romans.
Archeology  

P A L A E O C L I M A T O L O G Y

Erratic sea level changes due to global warming or cooling at the Antarctic pole, periodically melted the ice and catastrophically destroyed salt evaporation ponds at the sea shores.  They were responsible for changing coastlines and have been points of debate ever since it was recognised that unexplained changes did occur.
  Palaeoclimatology
  Sea Levels
  Dead Sea Levels
  Eustatic Sea levels  

P A L A E O G E O G R A P H Y

In 1962 the first deep ice cores were taken from the Antarctic ice mass. The dust layers found in the cores may be correlated to the changes of the world's climates over the past few thousand years. If one accepts the premise that volcanic dust - in particular, and other coloring matter, changed the Albedo of the ice caps causing melting, and eustatic oscillations in ocean levels then historians must reconsider our history with this in mind.
  Palaeogeography  

E C O N O M I C S

Aristotle believed that primitive barter trading of standardised commodities 'hall-marked" by an authority for correct weight and quality, represented the first use of "money". He says......."as the necessaries of nature were not all easily portable, people agreed for the purposes of barter, mutually to give and receive some article .....which was practically easy to handle in the business of life..... Today, Salt is still used as a means of payment and barter in Africa
 Economics
 China
 The French gabelle
 The East India Company

ESSAY 2 SALT and the EVOLUTION of MONEY       Reprint from: "JOURNAL OF SALT-HISTORY " ANNALES D'HISTOIRE DU SEL JAHRBUCH FUR SALZGESCHLICHTE

THE MANY USES of Salt

The physiological requirement of salt, by the human body is immediate and life sustaining, . Many other everyday uses are today taken for granted. In ancient times before any chemical analysis was possible experience and wisdom, was necessary to discern the purity of the salt for specific applications. To sustain a growing population, even more salt was required. That salt was available or was relatively easy to produce, was a basic condition allowing a population to increase, and develop. Where salt supply dwindled....... populations stagnated, and autocracy ruled.
 Uses of Salt
 

G E O L O G Y

Oil formation in Nature comprises as a first step the production of proteins in saltwater lakes and lagoons from decomposing Dunaliella Halophilic algae. The lagoon waters - solar ponds - are shallow and the floor uneven....Heavy salt brines transport the organic residues downwards through the aquifers to great depths.....  Nature is continually producing more and more crude oil from this raw decomposing alga, in a surprisingly fast cycle.
 Geology

ESSAY 1  Proceedings of the 2nd International Conference on the Ecological Importance of Solar Saltworks (CEISSA 2009)   Merida, Yucatan, Mexico, 26 29 March 2009  HEAVY SALINE STREAMS IN SALT DRIVEN WETLANDS, ABANDONED EVAPORATION PANS, DOMES AND OTHER SALT DEPOSITS AS THE RESPONSIBLE HYDRAULIC MECHANISMS CAUSING THE DISAPPEARANCE OF HEAVY WASTE LIQUIDS, AND OTHER WASTE TOXIC SEDIMENTS ON LAND AND IN THE OCEANS    D. BLOCH -  M.R. BLOCH Salt Archive 198 Ben Yehuda Str TelAviv Israel 

E T Y M O L O G Y

Ancient civilisations' languages, and possibly a populations' resulting behavior was drastically influenced by references and lexicon concerning the supply, trading, consumption, and possession of salt. Whether it was subjection or subservience, regulation of behaviour and language was dictated by the way salt was supplied and traded. Peace [salaam] literally meant negotiating [salute'] for salt, and war ['"milah"'ama] was literally about salt. Prior to the Industrial Revolution salt was so important to the development of our civilisations, that any inconsistency of supplies or control of the sources of salt, could be detrimental to the community independence and liberty .
 Etymology
 

M O N O M A N I A

When writing about the history of a particular commodity such as salt, or even a person, there is the danger of over-estimating the subject's importance in the general historical context. Studying the influence of salt on such great events as the rise and fall of civilizations, one may be tempted to ascribe more to the effects of one's chosen subject than the facts will stand.
 Monomania
 

V I A S A L A R I U M

Follow the VIA SALARIUM  [the salt trails, or the 'silk road' trips with 'Shaarim' of the friends of the Open University, 
VIA SALARIUM

 

Such was the importance of salt that the words, 'war' and 'peace' originate from the word for salt & bread in Ancient Hebrew and Arabic - The first war that mankind initiated was most probably over 'salt' supplies.


Salt pans
Salt making , as it was done for thousands of years. Natural brine left to evaporate leaves precipitated salt for harvesting in salt pans. link to the BBC KALA works India   [19th century France L.Figuier, Les Merveilles de l'industrie]


Where natural solar evaporation was
Where natural solar evaporation was difficult, on the North Sea coasts, at the Red Hills, the boiling of brine fueled by burning peat, produced salt cakes in coastal clay molds


Hollowing out tree trunks to pipe brines to
Hollowing out tree trunks to pipe brines to areas where wood and peat could be used to fuel the boiling process

 
Chinese sophisticated technology approx
Chinese sophisticated technology approx 300-400 AD -included drilling bamboo pipes to great depths to bring salt brines to the surface. Oil traces found in the same wells led to the same use of this technology in modern oil production, though the modern use of oil was only discovered much later, when it ushered in the period of Industrial Revolution

One camel train would normally consist of...a thousand animals, each carrying up to 150 kg of salt


The altar in the temple of Jerusalem as in many other temples WAS BUILT to handle hundreds of animal sacrifices a day, and included the salting and dehydrating process of the carcasses, producing "kosher'  hygienic 'cleansed'  meat to  the inhabitants ethiopairline advertisement

Salt was So important to the Romans, that the 'limes' in Palestine particularly during the period of Herod surrounded the Dead Sea, and was specifically to control the salt trade mainly from Mt. Sdom,  salt mountain.
Masada , the Jewish fortess stronghold
Masada  the Jewish fortress stronghold overlooking the Dead Sea  which controlled the salt supply route from the salt mountain Mt Sodom [Jebel Usdom] to Jerusalem and the North ,  was critical to Roman strategy


Our thanks to

 
E-MAIL - David Bloch
for details of the SALT ARCHIVE


CIHS -INTERNATIONAL COMMISSION FOR THE HISTORY OF SALT

 

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PHYSIOLOGY | GEOLOGY | ARCHAEOLOGY | PALAEOCLIMATOLOGY | EUSTATIC SEALEVELS | DEAD SEA LEVELS | PALAEOGEOGRAPHY | PRODUCTION SALTPETER | RELIGION | ECONOMICS | INDIA Monopolies | CHINA Monopolies | FRANCE the Gabelle | THE MANY USES of Salt | ETYMOLOGY | MONOMANIA

 

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