Searching for history along the Thames

Fri Aug 26, 2016 10:11am EDT
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LONDON (Reuters) - A torch on his head, Jason Sandy scours the nighttime London foreshores of the Thames river, searching for objects that could offer a glimpse of life in the British capital hundreds of years ago.

As the occasional party boat passes by, its music blasting and lights flashing, the 42-year-old architect only has a few hours while the tide is low to make his finds.

Sandy has been mudlarking for a hobby for the last five years, scouring the river banks for historical artifacts. Some of his finds are so rare they are displayed in museums.

"Over 2,000 years of time, everything has been thrown into the Thames, accidentally lost ... dropped so 2,000 years of history are down there," he said.

"It's really the thrill of almost like time traveling and knowing that the last person to touch this was from that time period," he added, describing the feeling of making a find.

Sandy, originally from Chicago, has found numerous artifacts like a Tudor comb, Victorian toothbrush and a Roman women's hair pin, which the Museum of London dated to AD 43.

For a photo essay, click here:

Mudlarking is believed to trace its origins to the 18th and 19th century, when scavengers searched the Thames' shores for items to sell. These days, history and archaeology fans are the ones hoping to find old relics such as coins, ceramics, artifacts or everyday items from across centuries.

They wait for the low tide and then scour specific areas of exposed shores.   Continued...

A mudlark shows a Henry VII coin that he excavated from the River Thames in London, Britain May 23, 2016. REUTERS/Neil Hall