IDIS 240: Introduction to Archaeology | Prof. Bert de Vries
The Calvin College Garbage Project (CGP). The CGP is an archaeological assessment of the rubbish produced by the Calvin College campus community, conducted by the students of IDIS 240, "Introduction to Archaeology." Inspiration and some methodology came from the Arizona Garbage Project, a pioneering archaeological program for studying modern American cultural habits (see Rathje, William, and Murphy, Cullen, Rubbish! The Archaeology of Garbage (Harper-Collins, 1992). On the academic side the project provided an exercise in staging fieldwork, data recording, report writing and interpretation and publication (on the Web). On the practical side, the project is a study of the culture of the Calvin College community, but has the special 'service' goal of providing background data for improving disposal, recycling and composting procedures.
The project is under the auspices of CEAP, and was carried out in cooperation with the students of the ESC, about 15 of whom volunteered for the actual fieldwork. The fieldwork consisted .of a detailed cataloguing of the rubbish put out at seven selected collection stations on a typical April 1999 weekday by seven teams made up of a class member and two student volunteers. A preliminary report was presented in poster form at the CEAP poster session. A comprehensive report, based on the student's individual reports, will be prepared this summer, and placement of data, reports and interpretations on a Web site is in progress, but will not be announced until final editing and checking has been done. A further phase of this project is planned for the spring of 2000.