Trash Towns: Excavating Garbage at Ancient Pompeii
October 10 @ 6:30 pm - 8:00 pm
The excavations of Roman Pompeii, a bustling seaside town utterly destroyed by the eruption of Mt. Vesuvius in 79 AD, have revealed no shortage of treasures. Golden jewelry, evocative wall paintings, delicate mosaics, even the frozen impressions of the disaster’s victims: these objects have inspired imaginations across the world for more than two and a half centuries.
This talk will ignore all of that. Instead, we will dive down, into some of the best places to find evidence for who the Pompeians were and how they lived: toilets, sewers, and landfills. Drawing on fifteen years of active excavation and research at Pompeii, archaeologist Allison Emmerson (Assistant Professor at Tulane) will explore the emerging evidence for how the city managed its garbage, tracing the complex cycles of use, reuse, and recycling that moved trash in, out, and around its walls, arguing that a truism of today equally applies to the ancient past: one man’s trash really can be another man’s treasure.