Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Garbology is the study of refuse and trash. It is an academic discipline (a recent one for contemporary trash) and has a major outpost at the University of Arizona directed by William Rathje. The project he directs is several decades old and is a major source of information on the nature and changing patterns in modern refuse. Industries wishing to demonstrate that discards originating with their products are [or are not] important in the trash stream are avid followers of this reseach, as are municipalities wishing to learn whether some parts of the trash they collect has any salable value.
Antique garbology is often called archaeology as fossilized or otherwise time-modified trash is quite often the only remnant of ancient populations that can be found. For those who left no buildings, no writing, no tombs, no trade goods, no pottery, etc, it is likely to be the only possible source of information. In addition, ancient garbage sometimes contains information available in no other way -- food remains, pollen traces (of then local plants), broken tools, etc.
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