Salt has been a valuable trade item throughout human history. Native American salt procurement in the Southwest involved dangerous journeys across sacred landscapes associated with a deity called Salt Woman. This presentation describes the history of a famous salt mine in Camp Verde, Arizona, where prehistoric Sinagua tools used for mining salt were discovered in the 1920s by historic miners deep inside tunnels dug into a thick, fresh-water salt deposit. Numerous photographs are shown of these well-preserved, 700-year old tools to illustrate the story of this unusual discovery. Comparisons are made with other Native American salt mines in the Southwest.
Dr. Todd Bostwick has conducted archaeological research in the Southwest for 36 years. He was the Phoenix City Archaeologist for 21 years at Pueblo Grande Museum, and is currently the Director of Archaeology at the Verde Valley Archaeology Center. He has an MA in Anthropology and a PhD in History from Arizona State University (ASU), and taught classes at both ASU and Northern Arizona University for more than seven years. He has been an Arizona Humanities Scholar on several projects, and has published numerous books and articles on Southwest archaeology and history. Dr. Bostwick has received awards from the Arizona Archaeological Society, National Park Service, City of Phoenix, and the Arizona Governor’s Office.