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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

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