The paper examines, through the richness of salt in Transylvania, the causes that led to the migrations from Anatolia to the southern Balkans and then to central Europe, especially in Transylvania. Among the factors that led to these migrations were firstly climate changes: warming in Holocene, favourable climate in Transylvania around 6000 BC, the salt riches here that provide salt for several millennia. The Holocene warming has led to desertification (the disappearance of forests in the lowlands of Anatolia), the settlements have a shorter timespan, and most of them have only one habitation level (after 6000 BC). These have led to migrations towards the Aegean Sea (Kirokitia) and through the islands or the coasts of Thrace to mainland Greece and from there through the Balkans to the Carpathian Zone, where important salt deposits can be found. Successive migrations have also determined a great cultural unity, observable especially in the evolution of ceramics in the Early Neolithic in the Balkans and southern Central Europe, situations analysed and presented with similar developments from those areas.
This new ethnoarchaeological research project focuses on the inner-Carpathian area of Romania. The archaeological and ethnographic vestiges of salt exploitation in this area are among the most consistent in Europe. They are closely interconnected and reveal the continuity of salt exploitation in the same locations from prehistory to the present. From the methodological point of view, the project avail itself of the experience gained and validated by the projects carried out under the aegis of the “Al. I. Cuza” University of Iași and of the National Museum of the Eastern Carpathians in collaboration with prominent research centres from France, UK, US, and Germany. The new project will tackle a number of new issues, including the reconstruction of the prehistoric salt-exploitation techniques that employed wooden installations such as those unearthed in a number of archaeological sites from northern Transylvania and Maramureș, the transport of salt along streams with limited discharges, and others. New research methods will also be tested, such as the virtual simulation of certain salt-exploitation technological processes.
The author put into discussion the inscriptions which mention the administrative staff of the salt exploitation in Roman Dacia. The attention is drawn towards the lower rank of the administration, most of them being directly involved on the field work, which proves a rigorous organization of this economic branch.
This study addresses for the first time in the dedicated literature, the lexical reflexes of salt in ancient Greek, as part of an extended research project. An inventory was realized as comprehensively as possible on grammatical categories (nouns, adjectives, verbs and adverbs), derived from nominal compound ἁλ (ἅλς, ἁλὁς) in the initial and secondary position, emphasizing a majority of adjectives and a wide semantic spectrum (e.g. physical world, exploitation, food consumption and conservation, social and economic contexts, symbolic uses). This lexical variety indicates the crucial role of salt and sea in the development of Greek civilization.
Annäherungen an eine Unsichtbare Vergangenheit: Ethnoarchäologische Forschungen zu den Salzwasserquellen der Moldauischen Vorkarpaten (Rumänien)
The sub-Carpathian area of Moldavia (Romania) represents the ideal framework to perform extensive ethno-archaeological research as the area harbours over 200 salt springs near which are found remarkable archaeological deposits related to salt exploitation, in particular from Neolithic and Chalcolithic times (6000-3500 BC). Nowadays, these mineral springs are still exploited at an unexpected degree of intensity by members of rural as well as of urban communities. The main research focuses on the identification of all salt springs in sub-Carpathian Moldavia and on the completion of complex ethno-archaeological research (exploitation, uses, distribution networks, trade, social contexts, symbolism, etc.) in order to propose new and more varied models for explaining prehistoric situations.