All About History

THAMES TREASURE HUNTERS

It is nine in the morning and I am reaching down into the mud of the Thames foreshore to grab something that may not have seen the light of day for centuries. Above me thousands of commuters are scurrying to their offices with barely a glance at the river that bisects London. One person must have noticed it, though, because they toss away a piece of litter that lands near me as I stand up clutching my prize – a broken piece of Roman pottery. For as long as people have lived beside the Thames they have been using it to gather food, as a water source and as a rubbish dump. This is lucky for me and many others called mudlarks who now scour the Thames foreshore for the historic artefacts revealed every time the tide drops. The history of the city can be told from the things the river chooses to reveal.

HISTORY FROM THE MUD

Mudlarking was not always the passionate pursuit of amateur archaeologists that it is today. Once mudlarks were among the most wretched of the poverty-stricken levels to which the London poor could fall. With each tide grime-spattered people would clamber down to the banks to see what treasures they could find to sell for enough

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