CAESARIA Herod's salt export outlet, was one of the most elegant and richest in the east Mediterranean - The Romans bought their salt from Herod, and only after Herod's death did they have to force their needs from an un-united and quarreling [Jewish] population.ROMARCH discussion - The port of Rome - Ostia, was moved inland at least three times because of a rising eustatic Mediterranean sealevel Ostia, was first and foremost, Rome's salt producing 'officiana' [probably before it became Rome's port] and the salt beds [pans] soon became flooded. - forcing Rome to look elsewhere for their salt.
In the ancient port Caesarea, south of Haifa, stands a wall which must have been built between the time of Herod and the 2nd century. . The top of this wall, now 1.50 m above the present sea level, is perforated with the typical holes made by the Lithophaga
THE ROMANO-BRITISH FENLANDSThe period of Roman occupation which opened up the Fens to salt making, began around 80 AD. possibly as a direct result of flood difficulties back at home in Ostia and Ravenna. The population, described as having 'rocketed' in growth by mid 2nd century, was working as many farms as there are existing today.
By the time the Romans left in 450 AD. [perhaps for the same reason] the sea, had risen , causing flooding even here , but earlier in 50 AD. -the huge Wash embayment, much larger than today, had allowed reducing the inland waterlogging, making it possible to reclaim more ground for settlement around the edges of the Fen and on the 'islands' .. It seems likely that this newly deposited territory was Crown land leased out under a procurator to Romano- British groups of smallholders working mixed farming and industrial settlements and that many of these sites were making salt. Successful live-stock raising would have been important for leather equipment such as shields, tents and harness for some of the 2,000 horses that Julius Caesar brought with him, and a salt industry was needed for tanning the hides and to preserve meat . The fishing fraternity too, required salt to preserve the catch, and used brine for garum, the fish sauce so popular with the Romans. It is also probable that salt production was taxed as it was in other Roman colonies. There is no doubt that saltmaking was an important activity at this time; but successful occupation of such low lying country depended upon constant attention to its maintenance: The Romans tried to improve communications and transport by cutting artificial waterways to link rivers and building sea defences.
Rising sealevels and extensive, shallow inland flooding during the 4th century AD forced many people to move away and even though there was resettlement later, little was done for drainage or essential maintenance to keep the canals open or repair the sea defences on the siltlands after the Romans left.
INUNDATION - THE DARK AGES - PHASE 1Coastal flooding and the continuing rise of the sea level which peaked around 400 AD would have been a contributory factor to diminishing production and the almost complete disappearance of the coastal salt traffic. It may well be possible to correlate, the desertion of the French and British coasts at this time, which lost their salt trading capability,.. and the causes for the the western part of the continent, becoming an under developed area. Migration seems to have been towards the warmer regions and there were probably many reasons for this movement but it may be no coincidence that the direction it took was to areas where salt was readily available albeit in salt mines and outcrops requiring additional effort for its recovery. This would seem to justify the apparently senseless determination of the Roman emperors Vespasian and Titus to conquer desert strong holds like Masada on the Dead Sea.
MABABA Madaba map - Two boats loaded with Salt - One with Red salt from evaporation pans - the second with White [gray] rock Salt from Mt. Sdom " Both boats are shown plying their loads from the south end of the Dead Sea towards the North shore and up to Jerusalem.Kind permission of: Franciscan Archaeological Institute - Jordan
Mount Sdom on the western shore of the south end of the Dead Sea was one of the few sources of rock salt available - It became a critical source when salt making on the oceans' shores became impossible due to inundation of the salt pans supplying rock salt to Jerusalem and the North, and Petra and the South. The Roman limes was centered on this mountain and it was guarded from Masada for more than 30 years after the Jews had been routed.
A fortress guarding the salt caravans route from the Dead Sea in the Yeelim pass, dating from Roman period , and used to control and collect tax on the salt from Mt Sdom
The Dead Sea itself gives another indication of the very wet climate of that period: it rose to reach 72 [seventy two] meters above the present level between 70 BC and 40 BC and . The Qumran, Dead Sea Scrolls were found in caves near this high watermark possibly to protect them, rather than to hide them. This high watermark postioned Qumran at the edge of the Dead Sea precisely on the coast and possibly it served as a harbour. Similarly the sea level rose in the Jordan valley allowing boats to sail up the JORDAN RIVER and unload a short distance from Beit Shaan so that goods to be transported up wadi Milech [salt valley] to Caesaria. [this would explain why Caesaria is situated opposite on the sea coast which otherwise has appeared to be an anomally]One fact seems reasonably certain: around 500 BC. at the height of the ancient Greek and Phoenician civilizations, the ocean level was between one and two meters lower than it is today. From then on, for nearly 800 years - from 600 BC. to 100 AD - the ocean level remained low enough and the climate sufficiently genial enough, to allow some coastal saltmaking, though floods in Rome and silting, [indicating a higher sea level], up at the mouth of the Tiber, soon became a problem in the 1st century AD. - The rising sealevel and flooding became severe enough to force the port of Ostia, a Roman naval base in the 3rd and 4th centuries, as well as the saltpans nearby, to be moved inland. The Emperor Claudius rebuilt a harbour near the present day Fumicino airport, but in 62 AD [Tacitus], after 200 ships had been destroyed there , Trajan sited his port still further up the Tiber as a six-sided basin:Lepcis Magna, the polygonal port in North Africa was also built at the time of Trajan, and is today similarly landlocked. Mount Cassius on the Sinai coast, and Ephesus in Turkey would also seem to have similar characteristics of suffering from difficulties at a time of eustatic sea level changes.The port of Classis near Ravenna was capable of harbouring 100 ships shortly after Augustus, and became a major port . Other coastal towns like Ravenna and Aquilea, previously deep inland, turned into ports and were among the few ports situated near saltworks to survive in Italy, only to later become landlocked again, for the coming centuries, high and dry and about 10 km from the coast.
INUNDATION - THE DARK AGES - PHASE 2A little before 1300 AD, the sea returned to its previous [high] level, again flooding the Dutch, French, and English Peat areas closing them down. During the previous five centuries, millions of tons of peat had been removed providing the saltmakers fuel for their boiling processes. They left behind huge cavities which became known as the Dutch 'meers', the French 'clairs' and the English 'broads'.However during this period of coastal flooding , fortunately , a renaissance of inland salt mining technology and new brining methods compensated for loss of production, and rock sources in England, Burgundy, Germany , Poland, and Austria, and this time allowed normal life to go on, albeit causing political salt monopolies and requiring maintenance of forestry for fueling the new furnaces. By the 16th century, the old Chinese method of drilling and brining came into use in Cheshire, England and Germany, using coal for boiling. It was this method which finally allowed salt production to become the inexpensive, widely distributed, commodity that it is today.
Third Salt Man discovered in northwestern Iran TEHRAN, Jan. 17 (MNA) -- The remains of a skeleton of a man were recently discovered at the Chehrabad salt mine near Zanjan in northwestern Iran.
The third Salt Man’s body was buried under a two-ton rock, Amir Elahi, the director of the excavation team at the mine, said on Monday.
Several items such as a leather sack full of salt, a clay tallow burner, two pairs of leather shoes, and two cow horns were also discovered near the skeleton, added Elahi.
According to the director of the Zanjan Cultural Heritage and Tourism Department, Yahya Rahmati, the Salt Man was killed and buried by the two-ton rock, severely damaging the skeleton, but the items discovered beside him are in excellent condition.
“The newly discovered leather sack was full of crystals of salt and was completely tightened. This indicates that the owner was about to carry it out of the mine, but was suddenly crushed by the heavy rock, leaving him no chance to escape,” he added.
“The discovery of the remains of the skeleton near the rock proves the theory about a mine collapse at a specific time,” he said, adding that although the three skeletons were discovered close to each other, more studies are required to accurately date the remains.
He also announced that two more old tunnels, which were the major passages of the mine, were discovered during the recent excavation.
The second Salt Man was discovered at the Hamzehlu salt mine near Zanjan. The remains of the skeleton are almost perfect, and they include parts of the skull, jaw, both arms, as well as the left and right legs and feet.
Several pieces of wool cloth and a piece of a straw mat with a unique style of weaving were also discovered beside the second Salt Man. The remains are currently being kept at the Zanjan Cultural Heritage and Tourism Department.
The second skeleton was found 30 to 40 meters from the place where the first Salt Man was discovered.
The first Salt Man, a miner whose body was preserved by the salt, lived over 1700 years ago. He was also a man between the ages of 35 and 40. His remains are currently being kept in a glass case at the National Museum of Iran in Tehran.
The first Salt Man’s withered face stares into the distance. He has long white hair and a beard and was discovered wearing leather boots and with some tools and a walnut in his possession.
http://www.europeanpaintings.com/ This painting by Andrea Locatelli, signed AL, illustrates an identifiable place near Rome, an area near the salt pans of Ostia. As is typical in the works of this artist, though, the scene is described in a somewhat generalized manner. There were two working salt pans near Rome in antiquity: those of Ostia, and others, not far away on the Portuense, and the Saline near Ponte Galera. As Luisa Chimenti and Fernando Bilancia have written, the latter were the actual reason for the conquest of the Etruscans by the Romans. Like those at Ostia these BEDS for a long time supplied salt to the citizenry and were the origin of the Port established as a center for its extraction.
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