Thursday, 25 July 2013

Another Midnight Mudlark

Sadly I've had to return to pretty much full time work, so very little time to mudlark and no time to blog, so I suspect posts will be far and few between. However  I did manage to meet up with London Mudlark last night, to catch the lowest Thames tide of the year. This time we weren't the only ones down there and there were several head torched mudlarkers, each stooped over their individual pool of light, you can just make them out dotted along the foreshore in this rather poor picture below. It will take a while for me to post my finds, but I expect London Mudlark will be posting hers soon and she found some delights, which you'll be able to see shortly here 

Midnight Mudlarking

Friday, 5 July 2013

More Low Tide Mudlarking

I always cycle to work and as I said goodbye my husband asked me where my bike was, I’d forgotten to tell him I’d taken the morning off work to go mudlarking. Having been down for the midnight mudlark the night before, ‘your obsessed’ were his parting words, but one more mudlark during these midsummer low tides was not to be missed. 

As I descended the stairs to the Thames I spotted a woman I recognised,  Hilary Bravo who I follow on pinterest, an artist who makes jewelry from her mudlarking finds, which you can see here.  It was lovely to meet her out of that social networking world and a coincidence as I’d arranged to meet Tania Covo, another artist who makes fabulous jewelry from her Thames pottery finds, you can see her work on her facebook page here.

I did a bit of mudlarking London Mudlarstyle, where the rewards are usually small and metal and find of the day has to be this minuscule spoon at the end of a hollow 4cm silver arm with a hole for attaching at one end. I didn’t have a clue what it was. I assumed it was part of something larger but expert mudlarker Mackie put me right and immediately identified it as a ear scoop the equivalent of today's cotton buds. No idea what period it's from, could be anything from 15th C to the Victorian period. 

Mudlarking Find: Silver Ear Scoop
Mackie said he thought it was silver so I later looked up the treasure act, which requires you to report items (apart from coins) which are 300+ years old and silver, presumably including this little thing if it's that old. I'll certainly be taking this find down to the Museum of London when I finally get a slot. 

Also found a couple of lead cloth seals, these ones are probably 19th Century and a clay marble, only my second. 
Mudlarking Finds: Clay Marble and lead cloth seals 
Ended the morning with lunch at the Tate with the 'Ladies who Mudlark' , after which we pored over and delighted in each others finds. Again struck by how this mudlarking business takes you to places off the beaten track you never would have visited and lovely people you never would have met. 

Monday, 1 July 2013

Midnight Mudlarking

A midnight mudlark -  Richard gave us the idea as we left the foreshore last Sunday and he was right the tides were super low at night an amazing 0.1m. I was ridiculously excited as the bus trundled down to the Thames. I loved the madness of it. Met up with London Mudlark of facebook fame and we made our way down to the shore. 

I had visions of torch lit mudlarkers scouring large stretches of river bed that the Thames usually hides. But surprise surprise we were the only ones daft enough to go down there.

The contrast between the smooth bricked modern city above and the rubble and wooden stumps of its past where we scrabble about was somehow heightened in the dusky light. Later the shore was bathed in city neon so navigating our way was easy. 

Head torches and bike lights lit up circles of shore for us to examine. Low tide came and went and still I'd hardly found a thing. It was only after midnight that my luck turned and I glimpsed a few pieces of choice pottery. But find of the day must be this small bit of flint.  I have no idea how old these human workings are or what they were for, I hope  the Museum of London will be able to help me out. 

Mudlarking Find:  Flint Fossil
Or are they as Jim suggests below part of a sea urchin fossil? 
Sea Urchin Fossil (tesswyatt.blogspot
This time I've had very little luck in identifying my finds on the net. I doubt this first one is very old,  possibly Victorian. Once I see design in relief it's in my bag. 

Mudlarking Find: Cream pottery with brown glaze and relief flowers
Rather confused by this next piece. I presume it's a pot rim with the remains of handle protruding, possibly from a skillet. Quite well made with spots of green glaze. What confused us was the indentation  on the inside, which made us wonder whether it fed a spout. If it had a function was it to release steam into the handle? 

Mudlarking Find, pot rim with handle possibly from 16th C. 
Skillet 16th Century Ashmolean Museum Oxford 
Lastly a bit of delft with a thin line drawing, I suspect from a delft tile.

Mudlarking Find: Possible piece of delft tile 18th C. 

London Delft Tile circa 1750 (Martyn Edgell) 
Half way through I took a break from mudlarking and walked a long way along the shore, as far as I could go  to  try and capture the speed of the tide going out. The reflected lights distract from the rip of the tide somewhat, but you can catch it if you look carefully. 

and then the red moon rising south of Tower Bridge, as party boat after party boat passed by with drunken Londoners shouting and singing their hearts out.