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Posts Tagged ‘Earth Day’

Annotated Links: Recycling in the ‘Old’ World

In History, Internet Resources on April 22, 2010 at 16:25

by Staff of West Civ Sec 2

For Earth Day, our class took a look at the history of recycling.

Here is a short annotated collection of what we found online. It’s pretty interesting because even though most people believe that recycling is a modern idea, research has shown that even the Ancient Romans recycled!

Ancient Greece

http://books.google.com/books?id=vKW-Imcs6FAC&lpg=PA22&ots=C4mveTKKIy&dq=Ancient%20waste%20dump%20Greece&pg=PA22#v=onepage&q&f=false

The people of crete creating an urban garbage dump about 3,000 B.C. The Athenians were some of the first to dump their waste outside the city.

Ancient Rome

http://www1.american.edu/ted/bronze.htm

The Ancient Romans took old metal after conquering a new place and melted it down to make statues.  This reused the metal and made it into something useful. The Romans would recycle the swords and jewelry of the places and regions they defeated. They would melt the metal down to make statues of gods and war heroes.

http://www.cardiff.ac.uk/news/mediacentre/mediareleases/feb07/medieval-recycling.html

Stones used in the walls of Roman cities were recycled and used to make other people’s houses and other things when part of the wall was damaged. Much later, museums in Britian used glass from the Roman times to turn into gems and decorate their displays.

http://www.scienceblog.com/cms/roman_coin_hoard_points_to_early_recycling

The Numberlands took the old bronze Roman coins and they recycled them into trinkets for the Roman Army and sold them for more money than the older coins were worth.

http://ls.berkeley.edu/?q=arts-ideas/archive/roman-ceramics-are-evidence-ancient-recycling

Ancient Romans also recycled and reused their broken pottery.

Vikings

http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2009/12/091214-viking-recycling.html

This site is about how the Vikings recycled old metal weapons by melting them down and using them for other things. It is maybe unusual to hear that the Vikings recycled, but they would always reuse weapons from obtained from battles.

http://www.ancientworldreview.com/2009/12/possible-viking-weapon-recycling-site-found-in-england.html
The Vikings recycled their old weapons by taking them to smithies after battles and having them reprocessed.  This allowed broken weapons to be reused over and over again.

Further reading…

http://www.wasteonline.org.uk/resources/InformationSheets/HistoryofWaste.htm

This site from the Waste Watch Project’s WasteOnline has a “Chronology of Waste” that has information dating back to 3000 BC . This site tells how different civilizations recycled waste and used their waste products.