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Mississippi Valley Archaeology Center

Garbage Pit

February 18, 2016

Excavating a garbage pitMany people stored their food in prepared pits dug into the ground, often lined with grasses to prevent mold. When the food had all been consumed, the pits were often reused as garbage pits. The decaying organic matter would stain the soil a dark color, making the original outline of the pit visible.  These features are often our best source of archaeological information, as they show the debris from daily lives-broken pottery, stone tools, animal bones, charred plants from dinner.