A Model of Salt Production and Consumption Patterns in Bronze Age Anatolia

Creative Commons License


EUROPEAN JOURNAL OF ARCHAEOLOGY, 2022 (Peer-Reviewed Journal) identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Publication Date: 2022
  • Doi Number: 10.1017/eaa.2022.27
  • Journal Indexes: Arts and Humanities Citation Index, Scopus, Academic Search Premier, IBZ Online, International Bibliography of Social Sciences, L'Année philologique, Anthropological Literature, Art Abstracts, Art Index, Art Source, International Bibliography of Art, Old Testament Abstracts Online
  • Keywords: salt, Anatolia, Bronze Age, Old Assyrian Colony period, rock salt mining, saltpan, BRIQUETAGE


The procurement and use of salt in Anatolia has received limited scholarly attention despite its abundance in the region. This study synthesizes geological, archaeological, ethnoarchaeological, and textual data to assess the role of salt within the socioeconomic setting of the third and early second millennia bc (c. 3000-1730 bc) in Anatolia. The easy accessibility of rock salt and saltpans ranks salt lower among the strategically controlled materials of the era. The author argues that the early non-state Anatolian communities' strategy for obtaining and distributing this salt was community-driven. Unlike societies in Mesopotamia and Europe, for which the production and distribution of salt contributed significantly to their political economy, salt never became a prestige good, nor did it contribute to the accumulation of wealth in Bronze Age Anatolia.