Ed Bucknall | Photo: Hannah Smiles

Ed J Bucknall

I started mudlarking in 2011 when I first moved to London as a great way to revive my childhood passion for archaeology and art. I remember my first visit to the British Museum and was amazed by the stunning bronze head of Hadrian and the Battersea shield which had been dredged up from the River Thames in the 19th Century. I’m lucky to have found some truly beautiful objects, with many items recorded by the Museum of London as part of the PAS scheme. I also paint and draw with some of my artwork on mudlarked marble. As each piece is different, the resulting artwork is unique. The River Thames is a constant source of inspiration for me and capturing London’s ever-changing skyline. The reason why I enjoy going back to the River is the fact that you will always find something, no matter how small, insignificant, or you might find something amazing, but you’ll never leave the foreshore without picking something up.

@EdJBucknall

Malcolm Russell | Photo: Hannah Smiles

Malcolm Russell

I started mudlarking in 2016, as a distraction following the death of a close friend. It was also the latest chapter in a lifetime of engagement with the past. I've dug bottles from Victorian rubbish dumps as a 10 year old, been a history student and dabbled in writing about music's past. Mudlarking is different though. Traditionally the past is presented to us as neat, discreet periods organised chronologically, the product of the biases and interests of those doing the presenting. The jumble of objects that can be found on the foreshore disrupts this. I love letting the serendipity of mudlarking dictate what new stories from the past I discover, finding connections between them, and how these can hopefully give me a better understanding of the present. I also love the simple, raw dopamine hit of just finding stuff.

A Roman Gaming Counter
Hudson Bay Company 'Green Heart' trade beads, 18th – 19th century (Malcolm) | Beads of this kind were exchanged for beaver pelts with Indigenous Canadians. They remind us of the exploitation of resources and people that helped establish the past 200 years of western domination.
Paw prints from Roman, and Medieval roof tiles (Ed) | Dogs, cats and even a goat is represented. These represent a unique 'time capsule' from past times.
Pewter penny whistle or fife, 18th century (Malcolm) | This instrument would have been used to play folk music in a tavern, a Georgian pleasure garden, or aboard a ship. As a sometime music maker, for me finds don't get much better than even just a fragment of a musical instrument.
Green sandstone carved grotesque /animal head (Ed) | Lovely hand-carved item, Medieval or earlier.
Virtually Intact Roman Black Burnished Ware pot, 160 – 250 AD (Ed) | When found this still had the original contents in. 18 items where extracted by the Museum of London, this included worked leather, bone and fragments of wood!
Pre Historic Bead
Roman bone gaming counters and a Roman bone die (Ed) | Amazing to think of Roman Londoner’s playing board games, 1,700 years ago.
Soviet Union 7.62 x 54 mm R Round, 1944 – 1945 (Malcolm) | Possibly a British soldier's souvenir from the end of World War 2, when the British Army and the Red Army met in northern Germany. Ammunition is of course made for killing, but but the aquisition of this round may have been a moment of great joy.
Merchant's signet ring featuring the initials 'RD', 1450 – 1550 (Malcolm) | Merchants signed important documents by pressing a personalised signet ring into hot sealing wax. This find took me on a journey to identify 'RD' through studying wills of the period. I managed to narrow him down to possibly one one of six local men: Richard Druce (grocer), Robert Drape (alderman), Robert Drayton (draper), Richard Dawton (mariner), Richard Dene, or Race Delamare.
Rare Early English ‘Onion’ Wine Bottle, c. 1695 (Ed) | It was sat in the Thames mud with only the neck visible. Unbelievable it hasn’t been broken in 324 years.
Bottle seal, The Crown Tavern, Oxford, 1675 (Malcolm) | Glass seals were attached to bottles to signify who the owner was. This example shows the initials of William and Anne Morrell, licensees at the Crown Tavern, Oxford. The tavern sold bottles of booze to students at Oxford University, showing us college life wasn't so different 350 years ago.
Medieval harp tuning peg, 1200 – 1500 (Malcolm) | The handheld harp, smaller than today’s pedal harp, was a mainstay of London's medieval musicians. This peg, which the player would have turned to tune one of its strings, connects us with the lost sounds of the capital's past.
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Ed & Malcolm's Finds

A Roman Gaming Counter
Hudson Bay Company 'Green Heart' trade beads, 18th – 19th century (Malcolm) | Beads of this kind were exchanged for beaver pelts with Indigenous Canadians. They remind us of the exploitation of resources and people that helped establish the past 200 years of western domination.
Paw prints from Roman, and Medieval roof tiles (Ed) | Dogs, cats and even a goat is represented. These represent a unique 'time capsule' from past times.
Pewter penny whistle or fife, 18th century (Malcolm) | This instrument would have been used to play folk music in a tavern, a Georgian pleasure garden, or aboard a ship. As a sometime music maker, for me finds don't get much better than even just a fragment of a musical instrument.
Green sandstone carved grotesque /animal head (Ed) | Lovely hand-carved item, Medieval or earlier.
Virtually Intact Roman Black Burnished Ware pot, 160 – 250 AD (Ed) | When found this still had the original contents in. 18 items where extracted by the Museum of London, this included worked leather, bone and fragments of wood!
Pre Historic Bead
Roman bone gaming counters and a Roman bone die (Ed) | Amazing to think of Roman Londoner’s playing board games, 1,700 years ago.
Soviet Union 7.62 x 54 mm R Round, 1944 – 1945 (Malcolm) | Possibly a British soldier's souvenir from the end of World War 2, when the British Army and the Red Army met in northern Germany. Ammunition is of course made for killing, but but the aquisition of this round may have been a moment of great joy.
Merchant's signet ring featuring the initials 'RD', 1450 – 1550 (Malcolm) | Merchants signed important documents by pressing a personalised signet ring into hot sealing wax. This find took me on a journey to identify 'RD' through studying wills of the period. I managed to narrow him down to possibly one one of six local men: Richard Druce (grocer), Robert Drape (alderman), Robert Drayton (draper), Richard Dawton (mariner), Richard Dene, or Race Delamare.
Rare Early English ‘Onion’ Wine Bottle, c. 1695 (Ed) | It was sat in the Thames mud with only the neck visible. Unbelievable it hasn’t been broken in 324 years.
Bottle seal, The Crown Tavern, Oxford, 1675 (Malcolm) | Glass seals were attached to bottles to signify who the owner was. This example shows the initials of William and Anne Morrell, licensees at the Crown Tavern, Oxford. The tavern sold bottles of booze to students at Oxford University, showing us college life wasn't so different 350 years ago.
Medieval harp tuning peg, 1200 – 1500 (Malcolm) | The handheld harp, smaller than today’s pedal harp, was a mainstay of London's medieval musicians. This peg, which the player would have turned to tune one of its strings, connects us with the lost sounds of the capital's past.

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Green sandstone carved grotesque /animal head (Ed) | Lovely hand-carved item, Medieval or earlier.

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Green sandstone carved grotesque /animal head (Ed) | Lovely hand-carved item, Medieval or earlier.

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