500 YEAR-OLD SKELETON
FOUND OF ‘BOOTED MAN’
You never know what you might find in London's mud. A skeleton of a man wearing leather boots has been found in the Thames mud and his footwear would have been well-suited to tromping through the London mud that preserved it.
bENEATH LONDON IS A LAYER cake—thousands of years of civilization, stacked atop one another—on the shores of the Thames. Whenever an excavator hits the soil, which happens a lot, there is always the possibility of a chance encounter with old bits of leather, pieces of shipwrecks, or the bones of a long-forgotten urban resident, preserved by the muddy shore.
Luckily, there are some clues.
“By studying the boots we’ve been able to gain a fascinating glimpse into the daily life of a man who lived as many as 500 years ago,” said Beth Richardson, a finds specialist at MOLA, in a statement. “They have helped us to better understand how he may have made his living in hazardous and difficult conditions, but also how he may have died.”
Analysis into the bones reveals a harrowing life and death. His final position suggests the Booted Man died after falling in the mud, after which his remains were covered by sediment. An osteological examination shows that the fatal fall wasn’t his only misfortune.
His bones indicate multiple healed breaks, as well as evidence of osteoarthritis, a painful degenerative joint disease. Researchers also discovered deep grooves along his teeth, suggesting that he spent much of his life using them to hold something, possibly a fishing rope.
Altenburg says MOLA will continue to analyze the Booted Man, and hopefully dig up some further answers. A moss-like substance was found in his boots, which will go to their archaeological botanist for analysis. They suspect that it was used as insulation.
Clancy's comment: Wow, and little did he know that his remains would be seen on my blog in 2019.