Kevin Dicus

Kevin Dicus

Andrew Heiskell Post-Doctoral Rome Prize
September 1, 2016–July 31, 2017
Profession
Assistant Professor, Department of Classics, University of Oregon
Project title
Waste Not Waste: Managing Garbage in the Roman City
Project description

My project examines garbage deposits in the archaeological record to offer new insight into how urban centers managed the discard, reclamation, and reuse of waste in the ancient world. The deposits, characterized by the heterogeneous artifacts that share little chronological or functional relationship with one another, appear in many urban contexts. By studying the contexts in which the deposits appear, it is possible, I argue, to establish patterns that help explain why waste was so abundant within urban centers. I use the patterns to argue that waste, after discard, was reclaimed and reused as a convenient and abundant resource for construction projects. This model expands what we know about ancient waste management policies and calls for new methods to interpret this type of archaeological evidence. By supporting archival research and site visits, the Rome Prize will allow me to create a body of data that represents a broad segment of Roman urbanism.