Thursday, May 27, 2010

Urban Archaeology

Chris Hall takes a look at the mysterious stone columns dotting the University of Michigan campus in Ann Arbor in this 2004 documentary.

Urban archaeology is a sub discipline of archaeology specialising in the material past of towns and cities where long-term human habitation has often left a rich record of the past.

Humans produce waste. Large concentrations of humans produce large concentrations of waste. Faeces, kitchen waste, broken objects etc. all need to be disposed of. Small numbers of people can dispose of their waste locally without encouraging vermin or endangering their health. Once people began to live together in large numbers, around five thousand years ago, such methods began to become impractical. Material would be brought into the these new settlements but would rarely be taken out again.

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