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:

Kirton Rectory, Suffolk

When Tom Lucking went foraging for old rubbish dumps in the village of Kirton near Felixstowe, he came upon a filled-in pond to the rear of the churchyard, on land formerly belonging to the rectory. The site had all the tell-tale signs, being tucked away in a corner,...

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Kings Lynn Town Rubbish Dump

In July 2015, Tom Licence and members of Norfolk Bottles obtained permission to dig on the site of the King's Lynn town ash-yard, which was the sorting point for refuse to the south of the town from 1883 until c. 1940. In later years the land was put to various uses,...

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A Norfolk Rectory: Part 3

During the first two days of our dig at the Norfolk rectory, we had discovered that the rector purchased imported wines and mineral waters, and that a few re-usable bottles were discarded among his rubbish. On the third and final day a few more interesting details...

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