LONDON – On a cold morning with his fingers mysteriously, Lara Maeklam rolled a pointed metal gate behind a bar in Southeast London and rushed through a group of gentle stone steps on the banks of the Thames.
The river stretches across the city from west to east, and stretches across the streets of London as it stretches across new skyscrapers and ancient sidewalks that border its banks.
But the tides twice a day pull the flowing edges of the Thames – 20 feet behind the river in some areas – to reveal centuries of forgotten London life in the newly exposed fragments of land, known as the Foreshore.
This is the time for clay symbols to come out, like Mrs. McIlimm.
“What you’re looking for are straight lines and perfect circles,” said her eyes as she looked up the mud surface for human-made artifacts. “It stands out to some degree from natural forms.”
Within minutes, I spotted fragments from a seventeenth-century jug, Half a bearded man’s face Visible in the mud.
The name – the mud mark – was first given to the Victorian poor who looked for things in the river to sell, pulling copper scrap, ropes, and other valuables from the shore. But recently the poster has stuck to London amateurs, history buffs and treasure hunters looking for a river’s edge in search of objects from the city’s past.
Mudlarking’s popularity has grown steadily in recent years, partly driven Social media communities where enthusiasts share their discoveries, And tour groups that offer a tour through the fragments of history history.
Dr. Fiona Haugi, an archaeologist in London who has worked on the Thames since the 1990s, said that although some clay signs are looking for valuables, others are looking for a relationship with the everyday objects of former Britain.
But it is the relationship between the layers of life of Londoners before them, revealed by the waves of the river in the heart of the city, that unites the enthusiasts.
For Dr. Haugi, a prehistoric specialist, it is about what the object can tell her about its owner rather than the value it has.
“I love the puzzle of that,” she said.
The London Port Authority, which owns the Thames waterway along with the estate crown (i.e. Queen Elizabeth II), began organizing exploration along the beach in 2016, requiring anyone looking at banks to have Forward permit.
These permits – issued around 1500 this year – allow people to explore terrain, scrape or drill in mud to a depth of 7.5 cm, about three inches. Mud marks are advised to be used to report objects that may be of relevance to the portable antiquities plan, which is managed by the British Museum.
There has been a “tremendous increase in the numbers” of mud marks in recent years, said Stuart White, a regional liaison officer who is based at the London Museum and who holds the artifacts.
“I now have months to see only new discoverers,” he said by email.
Britain legally binds any person who disclosestreasure– known as the “individual discoveries” of gold and silver over 300 years old, and prehistoric coin and metal lockers – to report to the government.
Britain takes this law seriously, as one of the smallest amateur treasures learned in November. He was sentenced to ten years in prison After the failure, along with another man, to report Discovering the hoarding of the Vikings they dug in western England.
Specialized permit allows deeper drilling to a depth of 1.2 meters or 3 feet and 11 inches. But these passes are only available to members of the Thames Association’s exclusive Mhamlarks – an advocacy group only of around 50 – who already hold a standard permit and have informed the London Museum of their results for two years.
Some clay marks bring metal detectors. But more simply restore what the river naturally revealed, usually a fascinating trinket instead of a treasure trove.
“I just want to collect what the river decides that it will leave that day,” said Ms. Michalam. “It is an element of luck.”
But sometimes there is More important discoveries, Like Britain’s first “spintria”. Spintriae are Roman bronze symbols, with sexual acts depicted on one side and Roman number on the other, whose purpose remains unknown.
The River Thames, which has driven people to settle in the city for more than two thousand years, is one of the best preserved in the history of London. The river has been used in many ways across the millennium – as a highway and a source of food, and most importantly for mud, as a goal.
“The Thames River is unpredictable, so it’s just mixed up, like a big washer,” said Jason Sandy, the architect who makes mistakes in his spare time.
In central London, where the Roman city stood, many finds are Roman or Medieval. The far west, Evidence of prehistoric settlements was found.
Where Rothithith, once an ancient shipping center in East London, was discovering by Mrs. Maycmel, she finds the 16th and 17th centuries of the last century to be the norm.
In this particular morning, the sun was rising and the tide was not on its way out as it climbed the rocks.
Her eyes quickly bounced over the mud, scattering small portions of modern litter, and settled on the barely visible edge of a coin located on a wooden side. I took it out and eliminated the dirt, revealed George George yet, and drew the king’s silhouette and history, 1777, almost rubbing smoothly.
The coin was folded as an “S” and had a small hole filled with an edge where a series of distinctive signs could be attached. It is probably the symbol of love. At her feet, pieces of clay tobacco pipes from the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries tangled while washed against the rocks, which are very common to escape the interest of the mud mark.
But the circular musky ball deserved to pluck it out of the mire. The leather sole is hand-sewn, kept in anaerobic clay, swayed in the breeze, and pulled at his toes to extract it from the bank.
Huge wooden beams emerge from the ships that dispersed here in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries from the mud. Mayflower is It is believed that it was broken here for scrap.
“There are a lot of ghosts locked up in the foreground,” said Ms. Maiklem. “It is also ephemeral because, if it is not collected from the surface, it will be washed or destroyed.”
Mrs. Maiklem, who has spent more than 15 years exploring the banks of the river, takes only the most exotic items at home with her. She sees her discoveries as part of a common history and uses Social media to reveal her discoveries. It has more than 100,000 people following it.
While Ms. Mickalem recently moved from the city, she continues to make the trip to The Times every week, driven by the thrill of discovery.
From here, the hustle and bustle of London appears a world far away, as gulls fly between boats and old warehouses turn into luxury apartments on the north side of the river, a sign of the ever-changing city.
Shard – the tallest skyscraper in London and one of its most famous skyscrapers – is far away, reflecting the morning light from thousands of glass windows.
“It is just a way to escape all this controlled chaos,” said Ms. Makim, alluding to the horizon. “This is what London is about for me.”