INTER-SECTION Volume II - Page 31

MOLLUSC COLLECTION AND SALT PRODUCTION
Marie M . Kolbenstetter R . M . A . candidate Leiden University
| “ Linguistic Landscape Studies ” and Archaeology |

MOLLUSC COLLECTION AND SALT PRODUCTION

RESOURCE PROCUREMENT AND DISTRIBUTION IN THE GULF OF FONSECA

Marie M . Kolbenstetter R . M . A . candidate Leiden University

Abstract Using case studies from El Salvador , Honduras and Nicaragua , this article discusses the collection of molluscs and the production of salt in the Gulf of Fonseca in the Late Classic and Early Postclassic . Based on the case studies , different models of procurement and redistribution are presented : specialized in-settlement production , centralized production and redistribution , and , finally , procurement and redistribution through seasonal mobility . These models are used to discuss the technical traditions associated with the foraging of resources , and furthermore used to present hypotheses on how the challenge was met in different localities . In this perspective , I explore the advantages of the Gulf region for economic activities . I also discuss the role of the environment for foraging techniques and distribution practices . This article relates directly to other ethnoarchaeological and archaeological salt studies from neighbouring areas . Moreover , it aims to present compiled information from three countries to give a regional overview as a first step towards the documentation of the Gulf of Fonseca as an entity .
Keywords Seasonality ; Central America ; sal cocida ; procurement strategies ; briquetage
E-mail address : marie . kolbenstetter @ live . fr Academia : http :// leidenuniv . academia . edu / MarieKolbenstetter

Introduction

Today , one rarely considers the origins of the salt they consume on a daily basis . Yet , in the past , salt extraction was a laborious activity and control over the best salt sources would have been highly valued ( Andrews 1983 ). This phenomenon can be observed in the archaeological record throughout the world ( i . e . Adshead 1992 , 20 ; Baudez 1973 ; Burley et al . 2011 ; McKillop 2002 , 1 ; Muller 1984 ). This article will focus on how the ethnic diversity of a small area such as the Gulf of Fonseca would have affected procurement and distribution of a valuable resource such as salt . In this research , I will associate salt production with the harvesting of molluscs ; the presented case studies will demonstrate how the two are associated , not only through the areas in which they occur but also through the redistribution strategies associated with them . Little is known about this area , but the archaeological record illustrates the importance of both activities in the everyday life of pre-Columbian populations , and ethnographies exemplify their continued importance for people living there in the present day . The primary social processes that will be discussed in relation to resource procurement are mobility and seasonality . These processes are intimately bound to the environmental conditions present within the Gulf of Fonseca . In fact , the Gulf region seems in all aspects to have been a prime location for settlement .
To address the interconnections between mollusc harvesting , salt production , culture and environment , I will present the environmental setting within the Gulf area , I will provide information on the cultural landscape in the Gulf of Fonseca be-
2016 | INTER-SECTION | VOL II | p . 29