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Iron Age People Were Gear Hoarders Too, Just Like Us

If you have a bike, a tent, an old sleeping bag, a camp stove you never use, that random oar propped in the corner of your garage, but the other one was lost long ago—you may have that trait in common with our Iron Age ancestors who lived 2,000 years ago.

Dr. Lindsey Büster, an archaeologist at the UK’s University of York, recently published a paper in which she argues that a 2,000-plus-year-old cache of stuff—spoons, worn out grinding stones, broken cutting tools, etc.—found in northern England were mundane items that weren’t important enough to be included in burials for loved ones, but were just too hard to part with so the owners kept them, piling them up in a corner of their dwellings, moving them from place to place.

You know, like that box of carabiners in your garage. And that tote of mostly empty butane fuel canisters. And that lantern that works but that takes like 6 D batteries, and do they even sell those anymore? but also it’s too good to toss.

Some of the artifacts, Büster said, could have been sentimentally valuable, or otherwise too emotionally difficult to part with. I still have my first ever pair of hiking boots, for example, even though I know I’ll never wear them again, because I made a lot of memories in those clunkers.

It’s a fascinating study. You can read it here.

Photo: John Smith/Pixabay

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