Rotten Truth logo

Trash or Treasure?

photo of broken cup from 1700s

Black-glazed earthenware probably of Philadelphia manufacture,
excavated at Franklin Court, Fort Michilimackinac, Michigan.
Found in a 1730-1760 context.
(Photo courtesy of the Smithsonian Institution)

Why would these cups be considered trash?
These cups weren't very useful after they were broken, so they were thrown out.

How could they be considered treasure?
Based on these cups, archaeologists have a better sense of the standard of living at Fort Michilimackinac, and also know that people were using pottery that was probably made in Philadelphia.



To Think About:
Why do people save some things, but throw away others? Which items in your own life do you consider to be "treasures" that other people might not find as valuable? Why? What do you think people in the year 3000 would find in our landfills? What would those things tell them about us?

ActivitiesActivity: Trash Swap

Back Rotten Truth Home Next



© The Rotten Truth web site was created in 1998 by the Association of Science-Technology Centers Incorporated and the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service. All rights reserved.
Disclaimer: Rotten Truth (About Garbage) links to a number of activities and resources provided by institutions other than ASTC and SITES. Every effort has been made to ensure that these links are accurate, but because neither ASTC nor SITES controls the content of these web sites, outside links are not guaranteed to be correct or active. Neither ASTC nor SITES shall be liable in the event of incidental or consequential damages connected with, or arising out of, providing the information offered here. External sites are not endorsed by ASTC or the Smithsonian Institution.