The economic and social importance of saline soils and saltwaters during the Late Neolithic of the Pannonian Plain and the Central Balkans

Dragan Milanovic
2021 Starinar  
The importance of salt in human and animal diets suggests that the local resources of saline soils, watercourses, and marshes with saline water had to be well known to past populations. Based on the analysis of the environs of a large number of Late Neolithic and Early Eneolithic sites, this research assumes the great importance of such resources. This paper examines the spatial relationships between settlements and these resources, in the example of five Late Neolithic settlements from the
more » ... itories of the Pannonian Plain and the Central Balkans. The goals of the research are to provide an initial step in the reconstruction of potential locations for salt exploitation, and provide a better understanding of each settlement and, subsequently, its role and function in the local Neolithic settlement system. The research considers previously published results of the pedological analysis of the settlement environments and archaeological investigations of the settlements. If certain micro-regions and regions did not provide possibilities for the extraction of salt for both animal and human utilisation, salt, and probably cattle, had to be procured through exchange networks. However, if livestock could not be grazed in areas abundant in salt, then salt would have to be added to the animals? diet. We conclude that Late Neolithic settlements should not be observed in isolation, but rather ?s parts of wider settlement systems including exchange networks with salt as a major commodity. This represents one of the crucial factors for the understanding of cultural development during the 5th millennium BC.
doi:10.2298/sta2171007m fatcat:kyvcv4tcjrhmdbtj6lgjw6bd6y