Gaining ground: Bomb rubble, reclamation and revenance

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

Vast quantities of waste rubble produced through demolition, natural disasters and conflict form part of the globe-spanning, anthropogenic deposit that has been called the “archaeosphere” (Edgeworth 2014). Whilst such material is often considered “waste” and of little value in the immediate aftermath of deconstruction or destruction, rubble rarely remains “wasted” for long and becomes reused in new cycles of construction. While architectural salvage and spolia are relatively well studied, the reuse of demolition rubble in the creation of new terrain (reclamation) is rarely discussed.

Responding to this, I discuss how Second World War bomb rubble was used to reclaim ground from Hackney Marsh and Leyton Marsh in East London. This waste material not only provided valuable new terrain for leisure facilities, but also led to a broad array of unexpected and emergent uses and valuations, including as site of footballing heritage and place of remembrance and contestation.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)25-48
Number of pages24
JournalJournal of Contemporary Archaeology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 25 Oct 2023
Event(Conference Session organisation) Making Ground: the archaeology of waste landscapes. - Society for American Archaeology 87th Annual Meeting, Chicago, United States
Duration: 31 Mar 202231 Mar 2022

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • bombing
  • East London football heritage
  • land reclamation
  • rubble
  • waste


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