(Ashland, Ore.) — The dumps and compost piles of yesteryear may seem like an unlikely place to learn about culture, but discarded items reflect society, educating anthropologists on what people ate, wore, used as tools and other insights into daily life.
Chelsea Rose, an archaeologist with Southern Oregon University Laboratory of Anthropology has discovered exactly that after years of digging in Scotland. This summer, she went back to Scotland for the fifth time, digging at Amisfield Tower—a Scottish border tower completed in 1600—and an area inhabited since prehistoric times. Located in the southern Scotland area known as Dumphriesshire, the tower was built by the Charteris family, who arrived in Scotland with William the Conqueror.
“Last year we explored the landscape to see what was there. This year we targeted certain areas—one area ended up being a medieval garbage dump. We found bones from the food people were eating, coins, a piece of carved ivory and a lot of medieval pottery,” Rose said.
“Lamb—they ate a lot of lamb,” she added.