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Attractive Salt: What the magnetic susceptibility and stratigraphy of the Witz Naab and Killer Bee mounds reveal about ancient Maya salt production and economy.

Author(s): Rachel Watson ; Heather McKillop ; Brooks Ellwood

Year: 2017

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Summary

Witz Naab and Killer Bee contain some of the last remaining above-ground mounds of a once-thriving salt industry in Punta Ycacos Lagoon, a large salt-water system in Paynes Creek National Park, Belize. Documented sea-level rise during the Terminal Classic has submerged the once thriving Classic period (A.D. 300-900) Maya salt works. Excavations and magnetic susceptibility were conducted as part of the author’s dissertation research at Louisiana State University (LSU). This excavation is part of a larger NSF funded project directed by Dr. Heather McKillop (LSU) mapping the wooden architectural remains of the large scale Paynes Creek Salt works. Magnetic Susceptibility samples were collected utilizing a technique developed by Dr. Brooks E. Ellwood (LSU) and processed by the Department of Geology. This paper will discuss the stratigraphy and the results of the magnetic susceptibility in relation to the stratigraphic interpretation. These mounds were once numerous features on the landscape prior to a sea-level rise, understanding the stratigraphy of the mounds will aid in interpreting features of the associated submerged salt works and illustrate an increase in the scale of production and aid in the interpretation of the coastal Maya of this regions participated in the broader Maya economy.


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Cite this Record

Attractive Salt: What the magnetic susceptibility and stratigraphy of the Witz Naab and Killer Bee mounds reveal about ancient Maya salt production and economy.. Rachel Watson, Heather McKillop, Brooks Ellwood. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Vancouver, British Columbia. 2017 ( tDAR id: 431479)


Keywords

General
Economy Maya Salt

Geographic Keywords
Mesoamerica


Spatial Coverage

min long: -107.271; min lat: 12.383 ; max long: -86.353; max lat: 23.08 ;

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 15650

Arizona State University The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation National Science Foundation National Endowment for the Humanities Society for American Archaeology Archaeological Institute of America