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Kibiro (Salt producing village)

Date of Submission: 10/09/1997
Criteria: (i)(iii)(iv)(v)
Category: Cultural
Submitted by:
Department of Antiquities and Museums
Coordinates: Kigorobya sub-county, Hoima District Lat. 1°41' N ; Long. 31°15' E
Ref.: 912

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Kibiro salt producing village demonstrates a unique example of an industry which has sustained its people for eight to nine hundred years ago and continues to do so perhaps for posterity from fishing on Lake Albert, the people of Kibiro have depended on the production of ash salt which is obtained by recycling residual earth with fresh soil which is spread on salt gardens for the salty water to get absorbed by capillary system. Through repeated scraping, spreading and heaping of the salty soil over a seven days period, it is leached and the scam is boilt to crystallisation point to produce the ash salt. The residual soil from leaching is then mixed with fresh soil to repeat the salt production process.

Salt production was and is a female hereditary occupation. Before the introduction of metallic vessels, pottery ware was used during the leaching and boiling processes and this is evidenced by the rich archaeological depositions of potsherds throughout the village going as deep as 4 metres and dating to between eight and nine hundred years to the present. Kibiro village is a sandy beach along Lake Albert where food does not grow. The Kibiro population therefore have depended for its livehood on the exchange of salt and fish for food through time with farming communities on the platea above the Ugandan side of the Western Rift Valley. The village therefore forms an important cultural site which has combined both archaeology and ethnography through time in the production of ash salt.