Some people have suggested that, in the future, our age might be known as the Plastics Age. That makes a lot of sense: the Stone, Bronze and Iron Ages are named for the materials that humans began to work and shape and that in turn shaped the cultures and societies of the time. It’s undoubtedly the case that our own time has been dramatically changed by our invention and use of synthetic plastics.
But perhaps what is most distinctive about our time is waste.
Waste is one of our biggest problems. The waste we produce – and the ways we dispose of it – pollutes our environment and gobbles up energy. In cities and towns, we've got pretty good at hiding our waste from ourselves - most of it goes into bins and is collected and taken away for others to deal with. But for those that live on Scotland's coasts and shores, waste in the form of marine litter is an everyday problem. Rubbish from near and far washes up on beaches, collecting on cobble foreshores and being laid down in geological layers in sand dunes and marram grass. And a great deal of it is plastic, the miracle material of our age.
In this exhibit, we imagine what future archaeologists - most likely living in an age without synthetic plastics - might make of the waste that is currently accumulating on our shores.
The Future Archaeologies presented in this exhibit have been co-created with members of Scottish island communities and local environmental groups - people we currently rely on to clean up our beaches and shorelines. The question is, can we use our collective imaginations to change the present?
The content of many of our web listings is provided by third party operators and not VisitScotland. VisitScotland accepts no responsibility for (1) any error or misrepresentation contained in third party listings, and (2) the contents of any external links within web listings ((1) and (2) together hereinafter referred to as the "Content"). VisitScotland excludes all liability for loss or damage caused by any reliance placed on the Content. The Content is provided for your information only and is not endorsed by VisitScotland.