I know it’s a problem, but I just can’t stop photographing rubbish bins, particularly (mostly) in heritage contexts.
There’s a good reason, dear reader. Bins tell us so much about the modern world and its strategies to try and curtail the vast quantities of disposable material cultures – packaging, cans, bottles etc – that we create through our early 21st-century society.
The flipside of exploring unchecked deposition through the ‘contemporary archaeology of inaccessible spaces’ where rubbish accrues out of easy reach, as discussed here, we can also chart the history of bins. For example, last year I discussed the bins at the Gorse Stacks – the Chester Bus Interchange.
Now the provision of bins at a heritage site like Bryn Celli Ddu reveals much about its car park for heavy tourist traffic. Yet clearly from its contents, the presence of the cardboard box of a pizza, it is used as a place to lurk of an evening and consume pizza. The out-of-hours deployment of a heritage landscape.
Its location is key too: just far enough back from the fence to prevent convenient use without having to walk up from the car park, or lean over the fence. What purpose does this slight inaccessibility serve? Is it deliberate? The mysteries of contents and location of bins at heritage sites never cease to amaze me.