Structure and dynamics of household refuse: Archaeological approaches to characterization and estimation.
AuthorWilson, Douglas Calvin.
Refuse and refuse disposal
Archaeology -- Methodology.
AdvisorRathje, William L.
MetadataShow full item record
PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractThe recovery and analysis of data from secondary refuse contexts is a crucial aspect of many archaeological investigations. Treatment of secondary refuse as a distinct analytical context is especially useful for the examination of socioeconomic and demographic variability in prehistoric and modem societies. This dissertation reviews ethnoarchaeological research on refuse disposal in non-industrialized societies, modern industrialized societies, and historic contexts. Based on this review, a framework is suggested for the analysis of secondary refuse at archaeological sites. Results of an ethnoarchaeological study of modern household refuse are presented. The study uses data collected by the University of Arizona's Garbage Project from Tucson, Arizona; Phoenix, Arizona; New Orleans, Louisiana; and Marin County, California. The depositional structure of modern household refuse is examined. Special focus is given to identifying and analyzing the relationships between refuse variability and socioeconomic and demographic variability. Furthermore, the effects of short-term, external economic changes on the patterning associated with ethnicity in Tucson are identified and examined. The implications of the study for historical and prehistoric archaeology are discussed.