Pub. date: 2006 | Online Pub. Date: September 15, 2007 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412952453 | Print ISBN: 9780761930297 | Online ISBN: 9781412952453| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Christyann M. Darwent
Middens are prehistoric rubbish or garbage heaps. The word midden in archaeology is a term that is truly a product of this discipline and is now part of its everyday vernacular. Middens are one of the most useful deposits for archaeologists because nearly everything a group of people use in their daily lives eventually will be lost or discarded, and most of what is thrown away ends up in a midden. These archaeō logical deposits can contain everything from broken tools to used-up artifacts, shells, plant materials, bones, charcoal and ash from fires, and even human remains. Midden contents indicate where people went to obtain their food, what proportions of different foods comprised their diets, and how the types of food and other items may have changed over different seasons or The ...