Friday, October 4, 2013

Getting my teeth into this Mudlarking craze!!

   Well, I spent 3 lovely tides scavenging the foreshore.  Two night tides and a early morning tide.  The Thames continues to amaze me with the offering she throws up for the pickings.  Each tidal change seems to bring something different.  I returned to the same place all three tides, and found an abundance of shards, glass, pottery, and pipes.  Teeth, teeth and more teeth I ran across.  I usually don't pick them up, but some are just too big and gruesome not to.  I think one is a fang from a boar or wild animal that I'm glad isn't inhabiting the shore while I'm down there.!  Happily I found a few items I'd been looking for.  A nice example of a George III medallion from a debased scratched blue jug, lots of slipware of various designs, a couple of spotted ware shards, one appears to be the top of a small container, a nearly intact upper portion of a Bartmann Jug, the end of a torpedo bottle, the bottom of a Walkers Kilmarnock whiskey bottle, and many, many handles from mugs, cups, lids, jugs, containers or whatever.  I usually just leave the handles, but this trip decided to pick some up. I came across one handle that is about 8 inches long and has nice blue design along it.  I would say it is from a large pot, hopefully not a chamber pot!!  Maybe the best two finds were the first buttom I've found.  It appears to be handmade, from bone or shell, and the remains of a carved handle of some sort, also carved from bone.  If you have any ideas about them or any other thing you see please comment!
   I did collect an amazing amount of pipes.  I think I found about 20 that had stems still attached, anywhere from 6 inches to an inch.  I also must have found 40 or more intact bowls, ranging from the earliest era late 1600's to the larger late 1700's editions.  What am I going to do with all this "treasure",  I'm not sure yet, but it is a kick to find.  The whole lot weighted a ton, and I had to take an extra backpack through security at Heathrow.  The inspectors once they realized the items were okay to bring through were great. Unbelievably none of then had ever been mudlarking on the Thames, and they were all locals.

The pictures below show the 3 day haul spread out on my dining table.  I took a few extra pictures of some of my favorite finds.


  1. Great finds! That table looks like mine after a mudlarking trip :-)

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  3. Nice finds, Tim :) But "debased" is an American term for a class of English pottery.
    In England , ceramics collectors don't appreciate any of our 18th century pottery being called "debased". Lets hope that in future Americans can find a nicer name for it. It's nothing to do with "scratched blue" anyway. Scratched blue is when the pottery is scratched and then infilled with blue. The ware you refer to is merely "splashed" with blue. There is nothing debased about it.

  4. Thanks for the info. I referred to it as I did,as I was referencing a description used to describe the pottery from another London blogger

  5. Oh, that's ok, Tim. I realise that it's a term in use in America. I think a better term could have been found for it. The London blogger was probably researching it using American sources on the Internet. So the term is starting to be used by some people in England via the Internet, which is unfortunate, I think..