Introduction: Making ground: The archaeology of waste landscapes

Matthew Edgeworth, Jonathan Gardner, Jeff Benjamin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

Waste creates and reshapes our contemporary landscapes in many different ways. Often, such landscapes are regarded negatively as places to avoid if possible: garbage dumps, sewage infrastructure, mine heaps or, at smaller scales, rubbish-strewn streets or plastic-choked waterways. That said, given the variety of materials that make up different waste landscapes and the degree of intentionality involved in their deposition, some waste landscapes can go surprisingly unnoticed. For example, land reclamations using waste rock or rubble can come to be mistaken for “natural” terrain after decades of familiar use. In other cases, waste-modified landscapes, such as industrial spoil heaps, are seen as eyesores and removed or reshaped better to resemble natural landforms. Whether perceived negatively or not, waste landscapes can nonetheless sometimes become social, material, ecological, creative and politically generative terrains, allowing opportunities for new activities and valuations to take place. It is the investigation of these complex associations and the valuations of such waste landscapes that the papers of this special issue of the Journal of Contemporary of Archaeology address.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-7
Number of pages7
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)

  • waste
  • wastelands
  • waste landscapes


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