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by Archaeology Newsroom

Trash in Akroteri. Refuse, consumer goods and garbage in an Aegean prehistoric town

Acting as human entities,one at a time or all together, humans act and affect their environment. The choice of their intervention on the environment assigns to them the name and character of their occupation. They are farmers or cattle-breeders. Or they contribute to the formation of their environment: They are builders, carpenters or blacksmiths. But always by choice.

However, to “choose” at the same time means to”reject”, since we prefer this over the other. People are defined not only by what they do, but also and equally by what they do not do. What they get out of their surrounding world is of equal importance to their existence to what they do not get. Consequently, the individual or the society is defined not only by what they get, but also by what of it they keep and what they discard. What we consider as useless or worthless matter, when, where and how we get rid of it, surely represents a part of our identity both as individuals and as a community, like the clothes which characterize our appearance or the architecture which regulates our relation with the surrounding space. Garbage, refuse consumer goods, trash, the secondary wortd of the deficient, superfluous or unsuccessful production equally set the boundaries and potentialities of a community as the technical achievements which are considered positive.Tools and devices, ships, textiles, weapons, agriculture and cooking. Leftovers and their mode of utilization reveal the community’s ideology and the way its members conceive their relationship with vast nature or their participation in nature’s evolution as clearly as the various artistic representations and epic poems and probably more directly.