Digging In The Thames' Mud, Finding Ancient Treasures

The Frozen Thames, 1677.
The frozen Thames, 1677...Image via Wikipedia

Loved this story in Time, about “mudlarks”, 51 of whom have been officially designated as London’s passionate amateur historians allowed to dig in the low-tide mud on the banks of the Thames:

“Brooker rubs a big blackened thumb over the clod of dirt in his hand, and a coin appears — minted, it turns out, sometime from 1625 to 1649. “That’s a Charles I rose farthing,” he explains, pointing to the vague outline of a royal crest. On the open market, it’s not worth much — maybe $60 — but “to a mudlark, your first Charles I should be priceless.” He tosses it into the bucket with the rest of our haul for the morning, which includes several Tudor hairpins, Victorian clay pipes and a 17th century ferry token.”

As someone crazy about history and ancient artifacts, I can’t imagine many things cooler than bending down and randomly touching something 400 years old. I recently attended a Manhattan antiques fair where I reverently and gratefully (and carefully!) held a 6,000-year-old amulet — $24,000 — and a small pottery dog, of the same vintage, selling for $42,000.

Free and muddy sound good to me.

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