Garbage, It’s Not Just Trash

Did you know that what you throw away can actually tell a story about you? Garbology is the study of refuse and is used to detect patterns in human society. We (that is to say, archaeologists) use it as a tool to get an in depth look into people’s lives. By studying garbage, we can see things such as what certain demographics of people use more frequently than others, or a company can even use it to figure out common wastes in their products and tailor their marketing accordingly.

Our historical archaeology class did a garbology experiment where we would keep a log of everything that was thrown away in our kitchen trash at home for seven days. After which we anonymously switched logs with another person in class and did an in-depth analysis of their garbage. Questions we had to ask and find answers to were things like, how many people lived there, can you tell how old they are, and can you tell what their income is. From writing my own log and examining others, I would say that these questions could be answered easily, and it was utterly fascinating the amount of information you can gather just by looking at someone else’s trash.

This entry was posted in Garbology '18, Historical Archaeology Class Blog (Fall '18) by Sophia. Bookmark the permalink.

About Sophia

Hello! My name is Sophia and I am a junior at the university of Washington. I have just begun my first year here after transferring from Edmonds Community College and am currently focusing on Archaeological studies. My love of history and archaeology started back in elementary school, learning about the start of this country. From there it blossomed, and I took countless history classes since, finally leading me to archaeology, in which I plan on majoring. I am very excited to one day call myself an employed treasure hunter.

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