The story of salt


With the spread of civilization, salt became one of the world’s main trading commodities. Some of the earliest evidence of salt processing dates to around 6,000 years ago, when people living in Romania were boiling spring water to extract the salts; a saltworks in China has been found which dates to the same period. Salt was prized by the ancient Hebrews, the Greeks, the Romans, the Byzantines, the Hittites and the Egyptians and for centuries it was paid in gold. Salt became an important article of trade and was transported by boat across the Mediterranean Sea, along specially built salt roads, and across the Sahara in camel caravans. Wars have been fought over salt. It is also used in religious ceremonies and has other cultural significance. Of the annual production of around two hundred million tons of salt, only about 6% is used for human consumption.

This is my long-term project which I started back in the 1990s. Since then I have been visiting many salt production sites around the world and documenting the different ways of salt production. The project is still going on.