Reimagining waste landscapes: An Archaeology of Novel Terrain

Research output: Book/ReportBook

Abstract / Description of output

This book examines how landscapes entirely made from waste materials since the Industrial Revolution have been reimagined and reused as places of heritage and creativity.

Vast areas of such waste-modified landscapes – including spoil heaps, dumps and reclaimed ground – were produced as by-products of industrialisation, yet these have not been comprehensively investigated by landscape archaeology or heritage studies. Drawing on comparison of four major UK exemplars in London and Edinburgh, their four respective waste materials (oil shale waste, slum clearance rubble, gas production waste and bomb rubble), and a shorter examination of the contested coal spoil heaps of South Wales, the book examines how such waste landscapes have been created, reused and revalued from their creation to the present day.

Engaging with scholarship that has emerged with the recent growth of waste and discard studies, contemporary archaeology, critical heritage studies, Anthropocene geology, the geohumanities, and the ‘inhumanities’, I chart itineraries of waste materials from their deposition and reuse across spatial scales and from individual fragments to mass deposits. I suggest that these varied terrains are a broader signature strata of human-driven geological changes to the surface of the Earth, and as such, show that waste landscapes offer opportunities for rethinking how we respond to, and represent, a crisis that emerged over the last 200 years and often with the industries that produced this very terrain.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationLondon
PublisherUCL Press
Publication statusIn preparation - 2025

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • waste
  • Cultural Heritage
  • landscape archaeology
  • wastelands
  • rubble
  • ruins
  • Edinburgh
  • contemporary archaeology


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