Find out what secrets the Victorians buried for us to find...

The book, the database, the project

Explore the archive of objects found

The database contains hundreds of objects discarded by our great great grandparents. Use the database for teaching or research. The text with each entry provides information on minutiae of daily life. Sit back and immerse yourself in everyday Victoriana.
Book Cover

Read the book that started it all

With 118 pages and 90 colour illustrations, What the Victorians Threw Away is one of the most intimate encounters you’ll have with the generation that invented landfill. Recovering forgotton lives in colourful detail, it also tells of the rise of brands and packaging, and the origins of our throwaway society.

Explore the on-going archaeology project

What East Anglia Threw Away investigates a region through its rubbish in the era before World War I. Run by the Centre of East Anglian Studies at the University of East Anglia, it brings together researchers, student diggers, and local history societies in the shared delights of exploring old rubbish dumps. is a unique reference resource for researching the hidden lives of the Victorians at home. It brings together for the first time over 500 unique everyday objects, photographed, described and catalogued.

The ground-breaking idea originating in the book What the Victorians Threw Away is to dig up rubbish dumps, and examine what different households discarded, as a new technique for delving into the past.

The objects that emerge often tell intimate stories about the people who used them. Explore this website to bring the world of our great grandparents vividly to life. You can also use it to discover the origins of our throwaway society today.

Get the Book

Find out about the book that started it all, and how to order itFind out about the book that started it all, and how to order it

Explore the database

Dive into the database and explore the objects found

Discover the project

Learn about the What East Anglia Threw Away project

Latest additions to the database:

Children's Items

Childhood and Education

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Caviare Jar

Food and Drink

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Cure Bottles


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Assorted Crockery


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Railway Jar


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Latest blog posts:

Kentwell Hall

Kentwell Hall, in Long Melford (Suffolk), is a perfectly preserved fifteenth-century moated manor house, open to the public. It is famous for its summer recreations of Tudor life, when hundreds of reenactors appear in costume around the grounds, engaging in everything...

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Rural re-use and Recycling between the Wars

Ringstead is a village in North West Norfolk, not far from Hunstanton. Early in 2016, a project team from What East Anglia Threw Away, excavated the village rubbish dump using garbology methodology. The site had been used between 1922 and c. 1960, but we focused on...

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Brickworks and Recycling

In Victorian times, 90% of refuse that was collected (by weight) was ash from domestic and industrial coal fires. The Victorians called it 'dust', and the Public Health Act of 1875 required every household to have a receptacle, called a dust-bin, into which it could...

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