The Slatest

R.I.P. to This 500-Year-Old British Guy Who They Found Wearing Sexy Boots in the Mud

A person in an orange vest and white helmet excavating a skeleton from mud.
The booted man discovered in London.
MOLA Headland Infrastructure

Fun story in the New York Times about a guy who wore some boots in the mud and then died:

The 500-year-old skeleton of a man … has been found buried in layers of river mud in southeast London, offering a glimpse of a bygone era. Perhaps most intriguing, what remained of his legs was discovered in a pair of thigh-high leather boots — unusual even for his time.

Sexy leather mud party! Experts say the man may have been a “mudlark,” which is someone “who hunted for objects of value by the river,” an occupation that would have exposed him to being frequently cut by broken glass and overtaken by floating feces and dog corpses. (Mudlarks were “renowned for their tattered clothes and terrible stench.”) But there were downsides to the job as well:

Skeleton legs surrounded by mud wearing deteriorated but comely knee-high leather boots.
The boots discovered on the skeleton of a medieval man during Tideway excavations.
MOLA Headland Infrastructure

The man is believed to have been at least 35 years old when he died, but his bones revealed that he probably led a painful life because of stiffness in his joints caused by osteoarthritis, experts said.

A press release by the archaeological excavation firm that found the skeleton during work on an infrastructure project (a sewer tunnel, appropriately) notes that it’s unlikely the man was properly buried given the position of his skeleton (face down) and the fact he was still wearing the leather boots, which would have been considered too valuable to leave on someone who was being interred. In other words, the context suggests that “he fell or drowned and was covered quickly by the ground as it moved with the tide.”

To mudlark on the Thames these days, incidentally, you need to be a member of the Society of Thames Mudlarks and obtain an annual permit that costs about $100.

Anyway, R.I.P. sexy boot mud man. You died as you lived, wandering around in some mud.