Posts tagged with “archaeology”

Mudlarking and Beachcombing?

Written by Laura Brown

I read a post about mudlarking. What to Know About Mudlarking. From Archaeology Now, London, England.

"Mudlarking is the romantic name for scavenging on the riverbank (also called the foreshore) when the tide is out."

Things I learned about mudlarking in England: you need a license (even just to poke around), there are places you are not allowed to go, and you must report your finds. The writer, Jill Brown, suggests a catch and release plan where you don't keep what you find, just put it back. Take photos, leave it where you found it. I can understand, those are the general rules for urban exploration too.

But, what if I want to keep it? I don't know if we have rules about beachcombing or mudlarking here in Canada, or Ontario. Maybe they do in Toronto, the city itself. I'm not sure if the same urban exploration rules apply for finding something washed up on a beach or forgotten under the dirt in a forest, etc.

I like the name mudlarking, but I would think of it as beachcombing. I wondered if they were two words meaning the same thing or is there a difference between the two. Reading the description from the post, they sound very similar. Unless you're some kind of elite purist and insist beachcombing can only be considered beachcombing if it takes place on an actual beach. I've never heard of forestcombing (as far as I can remember) and I know there is mud in a forest.

This is a history of mudlarking, quoted from the same post as above:

"Many 19th-century mudlarks were poor, desperate children. They made their miserable livings selling pieces of coal, bits of rope, and anything else they could find. Two hundred years on, the mud is still dirty, the water is still cold, and the extraordinary treasures are still few and unpredictable, but mudlarking has become amateur archaeology."

I don't think beachcombing started that way. It seems it has always been a hobby, finding little things to collect and ponder about.