Archaeologists have discovered a mysterious skeleton lying face-down in the Thames mud, wearing a pair of thigh-high leather boots.
The skeleton was found at Tideway’s Chambers Wharf site in Bermondsey, during work to build the Thames Tideway Tunnel.
An analysis of the boots by archaeologists from MOLA suggests that they date to the late 15th or early 16th century.
When fully extended, the boots would have been thigh high, indicating that they may have been waders.
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When fully extended, the boots would have been thigh high
Chambers Wharf, where the skeleton was found
Beth Richardson, Finds Specialist at MOLA Headland, said: “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.
“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. It has been a privilege to be able to study something so rare and so personal.”
The skeleton was found face-down, with one arm above its head and other bent back on itself to the side.
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This suggests that he may have fallen or drowned, and was covered by the ground as it moved with the tide.
Researchers believe that he was around 35 when he died.
Niamh Carty, Human Osteologist at MOLA, said: “Studying a human skeleton provides incredible insights that allow us to create osteo-biographies of a person’s life.
“With the booted man, examining his teeth has given clues about his childhood and marks on his skeleton have allowed us to proffer ideas about the aches and pains he may have suffered from on a daily basis, the toll his job took on his body and even a little about what he might have looked like.”