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
Nose-Horned Lizard: Extinct, or Hiding for 129 Years?
Did Modigliani’s striking lizard—a variety of Agamidae “dragon lizard”—go extinct, or has it just been hiding in Indonesia...

NEWS
Perseid Meteor Shower Peaks Next Week
Both amateur and professional stargazers have an opportunity to see a little more of God’s glory revealed in the heavens1 next week. The...

NEWS
Great American Outdoors Act, Signed into Law by President
In a bipartisan legislative achievement to promote better stewardship of American public lands, U.S. Senators and Representatives finalized their bill...

NEWS
Grandmothers, Eat Fish to Protect Your Brains!
This month the American Academy of Neurology published a medical science study showing that senior women can fight air pollution hazards, including brain...

NEWS
Embarrassment Continues over Evolutionary Blunder about “Junk...
Recent research from the Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology Graduate University (OIST) continues to highlight how evolutionary theory influenced...

NEWS
God’s Plan Is Best: Salmon Need Saltwater Acclimation
Once again, results are better when aquaculture imitates the natural life cycle of Atlantic salmon.1,2 In other words, the closer fish farmers...

NEWS
Inside August 2020 Acts & Facts
Have you heard about ICR’s new President and Chief Operating Officer, Dr. Randy Guliuzza? What can we learn from an old prayer? Is creation evidence...

NEWS
After 30 Years, Red Kites Soar in British Skies
Good news is always welcome. So, it’s good to learn of another conservation comeback. This time it’s the red kite happily soaring in Great...

CREATION PODCAST
Meet Dr. G
Hear the history and heart of ICR’s newly appointed President and Chief Operating Officer, Dr. Randy Guliuzza. He has served as ICR’s National...

ACTS & FACTS
'Doing Business' in Good Times and Bad
No doubt many of you, like me, have been earnestly looking for the return of the Lord Jesus Christ. He called all believers to be godly “salt”...