"Salt from most sources in Africa requires preparation before it can be used or traded. Almost all the salt used by ordinary people in the last five centuries was obtained from local sources. Only the few, particularly rich sources were more intensively exploited and the product traded over distances of up to 1,000kilometers. The most famous deposits are in the deserts of Mauritania and Mali. After the destruction of Taghaza site (Mali), Taodeni (Mali) took its place and in 1975 was still producing several thousand tons of salt a year. From 16 square kilometers of salt pans, laborers, mainly convicts, mined the salt in 60-kilogram slabs from shallow trenches. Caravans still exported the slabs to Tombouctou." [Vogel J., 1997: Encyclopedia of Precolonial Africa, Altamira Press]. This photograph was taken when Eliot Elisofon was on assignment for Westinghouse Film and traveled to Africa from October 26, 1970 to end of March 1971.
Title source: Index card based on photographer's notes.
Typed index card reads, "R 1 Mal. Mali. Timbuctu. Boats carrying salt slabs on the Niger River. 12/1970. EE. neg.no. VII-2, 10A." The card was written in 1977-79 by Archives staff using source provided by photographer.
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