London: A new archaeological discovery in the UK’s North Yorkshire proved that neolithic people had been manufacturing salt in the region around 6,000 years ago, before the building of Stonehenge and over two thousand years earlier than previously thought, making it one of the oldest salt-processing sites in western Europe, the Guardian reported on Wednesday.
According to the newspaper, the excavations at a farm near the town of Loftus unearthed evidence of salt-processing, including three hearths, broken shards of Neolithic pottery with traces of salt, stone artefacts and a storage pit, all dating back to around 3,800 BC.
“The discovery … changes our view of [early neolithic people]’s ability to farm and prepare and cook food. We need to think about the dynamics of how this industrial process worked, and how it is marketed and distributed. It changes how these people are seen – as farmers – to people who are undertaking a level of industrial processing, and distributing this product over an area,” lead archaeologist Steve Sherlock was cited by the Guardian as saying.
The earliest previously known salt site in the UK was dated back to 1400 BC.
Older hubs were discovered in Poland and the Balkans, but no comparable ones were found in the UK, the newspaper said.
This makes the discovery of the 6,000-year-old salt processing site in the country “spectacular and of national significance,” the Guardian quoted Sherlock as saying.