Archaeological practices are incremental to our future
How much have you thrown away today? I certainly don’t keep track. The wrappers, water bottles, and cans you use aren’t meant to be kept track of, which is why they’re waste products. But the Sonoran Desert in Arizona is filled with these objects as hundreds of migrants from Mexico and Central America pass through it—on a near daily test of survival—to get to the United States. And whether these objects are considered trash or artifacts is up for debate.
Think of an artifact. Some things probably come to mind are ancient bronze tools or maybe a simple clay pot. Now take your perception of that “trash” that you threw away, and what is currently filling the Sonoran Desert, and combine them with what you think an artifact is. Essentially, they are the same. All of these things are artifacts because they leave an important mark on the material culture of our collective history, and they should be thought of as such.