Mud-Larking!

Beachcombing for treasures from our past is what my lecture, The Archaeology of Beachcombing, is all about, because many of the treasures we find are historic mementoes.

Nowhere is this more evident than along London’s River Thames. Have you ever checked out the incredible treasures mudlarkers are finding on the Thames? Holy cow! Buttons, pipes, coins, jewelry, much of it dating back to the 13th and 14 centuries or earlier. A ‘Mud-lark’ is the Brit’s 18th century term for people who ‘beachcombed’ riverfronts, scavenging for items of value in deep muck and mud.IMG_0148

I have only mudlarked there a few times but even then, I managed to find a few coins and pottery shards. I would love to spend a couple of weeks in London just hanging out on the Thames riverfront with other mud-larkers searching for neat stuff and swapping beachcombing stories. (You may need to get a license to mudlark these day, so check beforehand.)

mudlark_2650642b
Ric Schroer photo

Boots are a wise choice of footwear, and if it especially mucky, wear gloves. A bucket of water is also handy to have to rinse off and/or hold treasures during your forays.  You may want to make sure your tetanus shot is up-to-date as there can be lots of rusted metals that turn up on-shore.

For more information, visit LONDON MUDLARK on Facebook

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