Waste as Life



These middens were not the result of communities too lazy to dispose of their rubbish away from human view, rather they were a deliberate product of groups who had carefully accumulated their waste.  As Needham and Spence (1997:85) state, these refuse were socially significant having:

“Connotations of affluence and social success, even becoming marks of territorial dominance. Refuse has links with fertility where the value of green midden as fertiliser was recognized, and more generally to the cycle of death and renewal” (cited in Waddington 2012).

It would seem, then, that for these Prehistoric communities, waste was an important source of life and regeneration. This importance of waste and, in particular, human/animal excreta appears to have endured into the Roman period.