Unsurprisingly, the UCLA-Peking University Salt Archaeology project, like so many others, has been affected by the SARS scare. Had the symposium occurred this spring, as originally envisaged, it would have had either to be cancelled or to be held without the Chinese participants. Fortunately, the project participants decided last year to move the symposium to the Spring of 2004.
The goal is to hold the symposium in connection with the next International Congress for the History of Chinese Science, Technology, and Medicine in Munich, which is advantageous because all of southern Bavaria and the adjacent parts of Austria are ancient salt-producing regions. As an integral part of the Symposium, there are plans to organize an excursion of several days for all invited participants to archaeological sites of ancient salt production and to monuments of the early modern salt industy of that region. Places to be visited include Hallstatt and Hallein (centers of the late prehistoric Celtic salt industry), Bad Reichenhall and Berchtesgaden (salt producing centers of medieval and early modern times), and possibly the great Polish saline of Wieliczka, perhaps the most impressive premodern saltwork in Europe. Ideally, the China-based participants would get ideas on two topics: ancient and traditional salt production in an area they have not been familiar with previously; and the preservation of monuments of industrial activity, which is still in its infancy in China.
Publication plans would remain unchanged from the original proposal, except that, as a result of the new plans, in accordance of the principle of bai wen buru yi jian, the resulting publication would be somewhat more voluminous due to the larger number of participants; it would also undoubtedly be better informed and more comparative in nature.