Recycling in Pompeii Shows Human Ingenuity | The Institute for Creation Research
Recycling in Pompeii Shows Human Ingenuity
A recent report from The Guardian suggests that the ancient city of Pompeii may have had the world’s oldest known recycling program.1 A team of researchers has uncovered evidence that mounds of trash outside the city were collected to use as materials for various building projects.

Dr. Allison Emmerson, a member of the research team and Assistant Professor in the department of classical studies at Tulane University, said,

We found that part of the city was built out of trash. The piles [of rubbish] outside the walls weren’t material that’s been dumped to get rid of it. They’re outside the walls being collected and sorted to be resold inside the walls.1,2

One notable example of this recycling program were the pieces of tile and broken jars that were included in some walls, hidden beneath an extra layer of plaster.1

The city of Pompeii, Italy, was famously buried in ash resulting from the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79 A.D.3 This means that the process of recycling dates back at least to around the time of Christ.

The evolutionary worldview pervades modern western culture and often leads people to think of ancient people as their intellectual inferiors. If people evolved from an ape-like ancestor over millions of years, then it would seem natural to regard ourselves as at least slightly superior to our ancestors who lived thousands of years ago.

According to the Bible, God created people in Him image, intelligent from the beginning.4,5 Cain, son of Adam and Eve, is credited with the construction of a city. Within a few generations, his descendants included at least one herdsman, a musician, and a metalworker.6

Scientific and historical evidence when properly evaluated and interpreted, consistently fits with a biblical worldview. If the inhabitants of Pompeii were actively considering how they might make the best use of their garbage and had developed a recycling program, it indicates something about a wonderful gift from our creator: human ingenuity.

Crediting God for His wisdom in the way He designed all of life is a foundational principle of ICR’s approach to biology.7 If people have possessed the ability to consider how to make the best use of the materials they have been given ever since creation, their Creator should receive credit for the abilities He placed into them.

Evidence that people engaged in recycling 2,000 years ago is a reminder that people have always been people. Ancient people were not as different from modern folks as many may believe.

References
1. Alberge, D. Pompeii Ruins Show That The Romans Invented Recycling. The Guardian. Posted on theguardian.com April 26, 2020, accessed May 1, 2020.
2. Bio of Allison Emmerson. Tulane University. Posted on Tulane.edu, accessed May 1, 2020.
3. Pompeii. Posted on History.com Aug 27, 2010, accessed May 1, 2020.
4. Genesis 2:7.
5. Tomkins, J. Ape-Man or Image of God? In Morris, H. III et al. 2013. Creation Basics & Beyond: An In-Depth Look at Science, Origins, and Evolution, 173-178.
6. Genesis 4:17-22.
7. Guliuzza, R. J. 2019. Engineered Adaptability: Engineered Features Determine Design Success or Failure. Acts & Facts. 48 (6).

*Will Perry is an Event Coordinator at the Institute for Creation Research and holds a Master’s of Divinity from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary.
The Latest
NEWS
The Role and Realm of Science
In society today, “science” often takes center stage as a significant influencer on policy decisions and public opinion. Climate change, pandemic...

NEWS
FOX News Discusses Creation, Evolution, and Adam
FOX News recently ran internet and television coverage discussing the creation/evolution controversy. Specifically, they discussed Adam’s place in...

CREATION PODCAST
Is Creation Science Really That Important? | The Creation Podcast:...
What is creation science, and why is it important? Why did an evolutionary scientist become a creationist? And how can you defend Christianity using...

NEWS
Evidence Supports Post-Flood Wet Climate for Egypt
Evolutionary scientists found evidence that the Sahara Desert was green and fertile at the end of the Ice Age, allowing people to live hundreds of miles...

NEWS
ICR Announces New Logo
After 52 years of fruitful ministry, the Institute for Creation Research is renewing its commitment to rigorous scientific research that affirms the...

NEWS
Inside January-February 2022 Acts & Facts
How can we use the Bible to guide scientific research? Why is counting ice core layers an insufficient way to determine Earth’s age? How does...

NEWS
Pterosaur Contours Look Engineered
Flying reptiles once flew through ancient skies. Most of our knowledge of these fascinating animals, called pterosaurs, comes from their fossils. But how...

ACTS & FACTS
Creation Kids: Our Young Solar System
by Christy Hardy and Susan Windsor* You’re never too young to be a creation scientist! Kids, discover fun facts about God’s creation...

ACTS & FACTS
Donors Make It Happen
In 1 Samuel 30, there’s an interesting story that’s easy to overlook if you fly by too fast. David and his men are returning from Jezreel...

APOLOGETICS
Puffins, Fitted for Living in Sea, Air, and Land
In order for tufted, horned, and Atlantic puffins to “be fruitful, multiply, and fill” specific habitats on Earth,1 they need...