Amateur archaeologist finds 900-year-old arrowhead washed up by the Thames

Blackleaf

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Amateur archaeologist finds 900-year-old arrowhead washed up by the Thames that could have been fired from the Tower of London under the reign of Richard I​

By Jack Wright For Mailonline
12 Jan 2021

A rare arrowhead may have been fired from the Tower of London as much as 900 years ago, an amateur archaeologist has claimed.

Monika Buttling-Smith, 33, found the longbow arrowhead downstream from the fortress in the River Thames and believes it became dislodged from the mud that preserved it for hundreds of years.

The 2in by 5in point is damaged, suggesting it may have hit its target - whether raiders or during target practice by English soldiers preparing to go and fight in France or the Crusades.

The arrowhead is believed to date to between 1100-1300, which means it could have been fired during the turbulent reigns of Richard the Lionheart and his brother King John.

Monikav, of Hornsey, north London, recovered the arrowhead after it washed onto the banks of the capital. She holds a 'mudlarking' permit to collect items that the Thames has thrown up.

Monika Buttling-Smith, 33, saw the longbow arrowhead downstream from the fortress in the River Thames, which she believes had become dislodged from the mud that preserved it

'It was the first time I'd gone out this year and with lockdown, I didn't know when I'd be able to go out again,' Monika said.

'I'm happy if I find a simple coin or fossil, it's so nice to find something you like, but with something like this, my heart stopped.

'I was walking through the streets and I could almost imagine the concrete buildings melting away and leaving all modern London behind, revealing little cobbled alleys and courtyards.

'I held it tightly in my hand and could see London when it was like this and was last held by an archer, the years slipping away.'

Due to how quickly iron can rust, it is likely the arrowhead survived after being shot by becoming encased in the mud of the river.

The majority of the capital's armouries were based in the Tower of London between 1100-1300 - suggesting it was possibly manufactured nearby.

The arrowhead is believed to date to between 1100-1300 - meaning it could have been fired during the turbulent reigns of Richard the Lionheart and his brother King John

This kind of arrow is believed to have been used in both warfare and hunting but because heavy armour improved they were rendered less useful in war.

Monika herself is an admin of popular 'mudlarking' groups, who share images of their discoveries from the muddy banks of rivers.

It is also illegal to mudlark or pick anything up doing this on the banks of the Thames in London without first obtaining a foreshore permit from the Port of London Authority.

But despite 15,000 people holding these permits, it is rare to discover these arrowheads.

Monika added: 'I do also have gun flints, musket shells, cannonballs and a lot of bullets. You get a lot of war stuff in the Thames because so many militia have protected London from the banks.

'But, I've never had an arrowhead and none of my friends have either. I think with all the people on the sites maybe two other people have said they found one in the past, so they really don't come up very often.'

Such finds must be reported to the Museum of London and the Portable Antiquities Scheme is currently assessing the arrowhead.


 

Blackleaf

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I have a box of chert (flint) arrowheads, spearheads and axes.
The oldest thing I've got is a fossil of some crinoids I found in a stream a few years ago when out walking my parents' dog.