Ethnoacheaological Studies

An Ethnoarchaeological Study of the Traditional Salt Manufacturing and Pottery Production Industries in Bohol

Salt was an important commodity in many of the world's early economies. It was widely produced, traded, used and consumed. Traditionally, salt was procured from a variety of sources including salt rock, brine springs and seawater. Areas rich in these resources developed ways to exploit them, and those without the natural resources found ways to obtain it through trade.

In Bohol, salt has traditionally been obtained from the sea. Today, there are a few families who continue to produce salt using traditional methods. It is a very labor intensive activity which involves: 1) soaking coconut husks in the coastal mangrove area seawaters to soak up the seas minerals; 2) drying and burning the coconut husks to obtain salt-rich ash; 3) putting the ash in large filters and pouring seawater through to leach out the salt and create a concentrated brine; and lastly 4) boiling the brine to evaporate the water and crystallize the salt. The final product is a dense pot of salt that is bartered for rice, or sold at the local markets.

The use of earthenware pots in salt making has also created a small specialized industry of potters who supply the specific types of pots that are used by the salt makers. The potters use traditional potting methods, ie the pots are hand-made, without the aid of a wheel, and open air fired.

Combining ethnoarchaeological studies and historical documentation, this study has provided some insights into these two important traditional economic activities.