Salt mine

From Academic Kids

A salt mine is an operation involved in the extraction of salt. Areas known for their salt mines include Wieliczka in Poland, Salzkammergut in Austria, and Avery Island in Louisiana.

Prior to the advent of the internal combustion engine and earth moving equipment, mining salt was one of the most expensive and dangerous of operations. While salt is now plentiful, in the ancient and medieval world, salt was difficult to come by, and salt mining was often done by slave or prison labor. In ancient Rome, soldiers were paid in salt (hence "salary"), and salt on the table was a mark of a rich patron (and those who sat nearer the host were above the salt, and those less favored were "below the salt"). Roman prisoners were given the task of salt mining, and life expectancy among those so sentenced was not great.

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Salt_mine_0096.jpg
Modern rock salt mine near Mount Morris, New York

Even as recently as the 20th century, salt mining in the Soviet Union and Nazi Germany was performed by persons being punished.

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