Night of the Living ‘Things’: Zombie Archaeology

ENTITLE blog - a collaborative writing project on Political Ecology

by Eric Fleischmann

Capitalist societies produces more stuff than ever before but all these things are quickly discarded. Rubbish becomes part of topography and ecological systems, eventually returning to humans. When the remnants of our past return to us by themselves with a vengeance, this is zombie archaeology.

image 1 Lebanese men stand on top of a mountain of garbage. Photo by Mahmoud Zayat. (Source: abc.net.au)

The Oxford English Dictionary defines “archaeology” as “the study of human history and prehistory through the excavation of sites and the analysis of artefacts and other physical remains.” The OED also defines the word “zombie,” in the context of popular fiction, as “a person or reanimated corpse that has been turned into a creature capable of movement but not of rational thought, which feeds on human flesh.” The former word’s definition would generally be taken as meaning that humans actively uncover essentially inert objects. But…

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