Die With Your Boots On

Digs & Discoveries March/April 2019

(Mola Headland Infrastructure)

A pair of  thigh-high leather boots that belonged to a man who died near the Thames River in southeast London some 500 years ago offers a rare glimpse of medieval work wear. Archaeological surveys conducted ahead of an overhaul of London’s sewer system unearthed the man’s skeleton—boots on, face down—in a deposit of mud on the river’s south bank. “While the boots may not have been prohibitively expensive for a working-class individual, they were well made and built to last,” says Beth Richardson, senior finds specialist for Museum of London Archaeology Headland Infrastructure. The height of the boots, a rarity for the period, indicates that the man made his living on the river, possibly as a fisherman, mud lark, or sailor. Researchers have turned up no evidence of foul play relating to his death, so whether he drowned after misjudging a current, suffered an injury, or fell into the river remains unclear.

  • Artifacts March/April 2019

    Seal Stamp

    Read Article
    (Rikke Caroline Olsen/The National Museum of Denmark)
  • Around the World March/April 2019


    Read Article
    (Courtesy Classy Yacht Charitable Trust)
  • Digs & Discoveries March/April 2019

    Fairfield's Rebirth in 3-D

    Read Article
    (Virginia Department of Historic Resources)
  • Features March/April 2019

    Egypt's Eternal City

    Once the most sacred site on the Nile, Heliopolis was all but forgotten until archaeologists returned to save it from disappearing forever

    Read Article
    (Courtesy Dietrich Raue and Aiman Ashmawy/The Heliopolis Project)