Episode 22: Rubbish

Tuesday, February 7th, 2017

‘Tell me the Acts, O historian, and leave me to reason upon them as I please; away with your reasoning and your rubbish’. (William Blake) But you will find no trash talk here! Welcome to Histories of the Unexpected where you will discover the history of things you did not even know had a history; like the history of the party, or the history the bubble.

For this episode let us join the Michelangelo of millennia, Professor James Daybell and the assassin of the archives, Dr Sam Willis, as they excavate their way through the unexpected history of rubbish. Our very own Barney and Stig will take you on a journey through the detritus, from Glastonbury festival to the River Tiber and ancient Roman rubbish dumps, from modern day hoarding to the Oxyrhynchus Papyri and from the Maya civilization to John Jonston’s works on natural history, 1657.

James and Sam will rummage and sift through the tarnished, torn and dented fragments to reveal that this unexpected history is actually all about: consumerism, archiving, anxiety, sentiments, truth, choices, preservation, behaviour, and fish and chips! And match fixing in 12BC and burying your friend’s personal belongings – maybe check first though …

‘We are such things as rubbish is made of, so let’s drink up and forget it’ (Eugene O’Neill)

More Podcasts


18, 2, 2022 - In this latest episode, the Unexpected duo, Professor James Daybell and Dr Sam Willis get all .... Read More

Episode 12: The Smile

13, 12, 2016 - ‘Smile – verb; form one’s features into a pleased, kind, or amused expression, typically with .... Read More

Scabs! Homeschooling Medieval Medicine

27, 4, 2020 - Scabs! Homeschooling Medieval Medicine This twelfth episode in the special series of Histories .... Read More

Subscribe to our newsletter

Keep up to date with Histories of the Unexpected