Protohistoric briquetage at Puntone (Tuscany, Italy): principles and processes of an industry based on the leaching of saline lagoonal sediments

Jan Sevink*, Wieke de Neef, Luca Alessandri, Rutger L. vanHall, Burkart Ullrich, Peter A. J. Attema

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

A protohistoric (c.10th-5th c. BC) briquetage site at Puntone (Tuscany, Italy) was studied to unravel the salt production processes and materials involved. Geophysical surveys were used to identify kilns, pits, and dumps. One of these pits and a dump were excavated, followed by detailed chemical and physical analyses of the materials encountered. The pit had been used for holding brine, obtained by leaching of lagoonal sediment over a sieve, that afterwards was discarded to form large dumps. Phases distinguished indicate that the pit filled with fine sediment and was regularly "cleaned." The presence of ferroan-magnesian calcite in the pit fill testifies to the prolonged presence of anoxic brine. The production processes could be reconstructed in detail by confronting the analytical results with known changes in composition of a brine upon evaporation. These pertain in particular to the accumulation of "bitterns" and increased B (boron) concentrations in a residual brine. Both could be traced in the materials studied, and were found to be far more indicative than the ubiquitously studied concentrations of Cl and Na.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)54-71
Number of pages18
JournalGeoarchaeology
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 18-Aug-2020

Keywords

  • bitterns
  • briquetage
  • ferroan-magnesian calcite
  • geophysics
  • protohistory
  • salt production
  • RADIOCARBON RESERVOIR AGES
  • SALT PRODUCTION
  • EVAPORATION
  • WATER
  • SEA
  • SEQUENCES
  • SIDERITE
  • SEAWATER
  • CALCITE
  • MARINE

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