11 September 2013

Mudlarking along the Thames

One evening last week I joined a group of wellie-clad history geeks and fellow London Historians for a short walk along the Thames at low tide led by a Thames Discovery Programme guide.
As you are probably aware I am a frequent visitor to stretches of the Thames' foreshores but I wanted to learn some more snippets of historical info to pass on to customers who visit my stall and website.
Walking into the sunset from Cannon Street Station to The Millennium Bridge taking care not to trip over the vertical markers placed by proper mudlarkers (these are posts placed into the mud to alert people that there is soft ground caused by their excavations) we learned about what's left of the Walbrook River, Roman settlements, barge loading platforms, slipways, iron pipes and Mother-of-Pearl buttons.
Why not go for a wander there yourself? The Thames foreshores can be accessed at many points by steps and staircases, but please do remember that the tide is not at the same time every day – check the tide tables.
Please note that you can pick up things (except in some restricted areas) but you are not allowed to dig or disturb the surface at all. Only about 50 licensed mudlarkers have permits to do that and even they are limited to a metre's depth.
If you find anything you think is of archaeological interest then you should contact the Museum of London who keep a mapped archive. They have a sort of clinic where you can pop in glean info about your finds.
Finally, if you do go down to the foreshore, be sure to plan your exit route because the tide comes in really fast!

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