Pre-Inca saltworks (salinas) ponds, Maras, Peru, South America.
Since pre-Inca times, salt farmers at the saltworks (salinas) near Maras have evaporated salty water from a subterranean stream in Peru, South America. A rough dirt road connects Maras (in the Urubamba/Vilcanota River Valley, Sacred Valley of the Incas) with Cuzco (40 km north) and other towns. The cooperative system of pond farmers was established during the time of the Incas, if not earlier, and is traditionally available to any person wishing to harvest salt. Intricate channels redirect water flow through several hundred ancient terraced ponds. As water evaporates from the sun-warmed ponds, it becomes supersaturated and salt precipitates as crystals. A pond keeper closes the water-feeder notch, allows the pond to go dry, then scrapes and carries away the dry salt. Salt color varies from white to a light reddish or brownish tan, depending on "farmer" skills.Add to Cart Add to Lightbox Download