News (Ancient) Early environmentalists: Pompeii ruins show Romans were keen recyclers

Bestiola

Speculatrix
Staff member
They pioneered feats of engineering that we still rely upon today, from bridges and sewers to concrete and roads.

And the Romans also appear to have been early adopters of the art of recycling, according to new findings.

Archeological researchers at Pompeii, the southern Italian city preserved in ash after the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79 AD, have found evidence that inhabitants had a system when it came to disposing of rubbish.

Piles of trash outside the city's walls had been preserved as mounds, which were earlier believed to have been created by an earthquake that predated the volcanic eruption.

Professor Allison Emmerson, an American academic who is part of a research team working at the archeological site, this week stated that the mounds were in fact “staging grounds for cycles of use and reuse”.


“We found that part of the city was built out of trash. The piles outside the walls weren’t material that’s been dumped to get rid of it," said Emmerson, according to The Guardian. "They’re outside the walls being collected and sorted to be resold inside the walls.”

The mounds, which lined almost an entire external wall on the city's northern side, contained traces of ceramic and plaster, which were likely being conserved as construction materials. The piles were mostly cleared in the mid-20th century, when recycling was far less of a predominant concept, though some examples are still being uncovered.

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Bestiola

Speculatrix
Staff member
Disclaimer: Romans are known to have reused all kinds of things, various kind of amphora in specific. That is, all but Dressel 20, since it was used for transporting olive oil, as can be seen in Monte Testaccio. This is nothing especially new but it's good to hear how it was done in Pompeii.
 
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