Pull Tab Archaeology


  • Jobbe Wijnen Independent researcher, International Centre for Pull Tab Archaeology




Anthopocene, beverage cans, citizen science, craft, late modern archaeology, pull tabs, ring pulls, solastalgia


The Pull Tab Archaeology project (PTA project) was launched in 2018, with the aim of diving straight into the creative, communication-oriented and fluid archaeological experiences of the life world, and of breaking some implicit rules of formal (Dutch) archaeology in the process. As narrowly defined, the project comprises the study of beverage can pull tabs. However, it also has broader significance due to its focus on archaeology as a craft, on archaeological experiences and on Do-It-Yourself (DIY) culture. The project emerged out of Dutch conflict archaeology in cultural resource management, and involved a world-spanning social-media citizen-science project. Over 4700 pull tabs from 37 countries were recorded, and c. 100 pull tab types – or “species” – were found. Drawing on the work of David Gauntlett, the article proposes that experiential DIY archaeological craft creates social capital and can be a modest remedy for our late modern world, which is afflicted by alienation from its environment and by solastalgia. The article proposes that archaeology as a tool for reconnecting is of greater importance for current society than our traditional focus on knowledge production for cultural histories and the vulnerability of heritage.

Author Biography

  • Jobbe Wijnen, Independent researcher, International Centre for Pull Tab Archaeology

    Jobbe Wijnen is an independent researcher and heritage consultant. His main research focuses on conflict archaeology, contemporary archaeology and oral histories. He is currently a member of the Standing Committe of the Contemporary and Historical Archaeology in Theory group (CHAT) and of the Archaeologists4Future.nl initiative. In 2018 he was the founder of the Centre for Pull Tab Archaeology. His most treasured archaeological artifact is a 1992 SAAB 900i automobile with 570,000 km on its counter. He lives with his partner and daughter in Wageningen, the Netherlands.


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Research Article

How to Cite

Wijnen, J. (2024). Pull Tab Archaeology. Journal of Contemporary Archaeology, 10(2), 258-290. https://doi.org/10.1558/jca.25283