Session: #167

Theme & Session Format

1. Widening horizons through human-environment interconnections
Session format:
Regular session

Title & Content

Dirty Heritage: Towards an Archaeology of Consumption, Waste and Environmental Change
We live in a world where the amount of consumption, more than any other traditional wealth-counting system, indicates socioeconomic status. The huge mountains of garbage outside of cities and the unwanted items stored in houses are changing the face of the globe. The rapid rate of manufacturing and consumption produces a massive amount of waste, transforming the environment.
Archaeologically speaking, consumption has added tons of wasted material to all other modern objects studied by archaeologists. Archaeology has objectified the danger of a high-speed rate of consumption by applying some advanced novel methods of archaeology developed within the last century, such as those described in Garbology by William Rathje and his team. Patterns of waste and consumption have changed rapidly since that time, while in the last century the negative consequences of modern lifestyles have become more clear. Now, manufacturing and consumption determine the political hierarchies of countries. All these processes happen while large swathes of some countries have changed into extended landfills of technological and plastic garbage.
Through our papers and discussions in this session, we aim to update our knowledge about modern consumption and garbage-making by discussing a series of questions: How do novel archaeology methods help us explore garbage-making patterns? How can garbology be used to change environmentally damaging consumption behaviors? How have consumption and garbage-making changed the criteria of social class and shaped our lifestyle and households?
Archaeologists from all over the world who have experience in working on the post-industrial revolution and modern consumption, garbage, waste, manufacturing, and environmental changes are strongly encouraged to share their insights, field work, and methodological experiences or ideas in this session.
consumption, garbology, waste, environmental change, methodology
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Main organiser:
Leila Papoli Yazdi (Sweden) 1
Maryam Dezhamkhooy (Germany) 2
1. University of Gothenburg
2. K├Ąte Hamburger College, University of Heidelberg