Have you ever found something interesting on the ground while walking in the street? Every day, in every city in the world people drop and lose valuable things. Maybe they’re walking down the street, they get distracted, and some change, keys, or even a ring fall out of their pocket. If you’re lucky, you could find it.

The same was true in the past. London is a city with 2,000 years of history, and throughout that history people have been losing their valuables. There’s an interesting hobby called mudlarking in which people go next to the Thames River and search for these historical things. Let’s take a look at this fun hobby in more detail.​

What is Mudlarking? Who Can Do It?

Mudlarking is a fun way to spend a weekend afternoon in London on the banks of the Thames River. All you need is a pair of boots, some gloves and a good eye. If you’re more serious about this hobby, you can also take a metal detector. The aim of mudlarking is to find old treasures and objects that were lost and are now under the mud. It’s like being an amateur archaeologist! You can do it alone, if you have a permit, or you can do it as part of a tour group. There are even organisations that are very serious about mudlarking. The reason the Thames is a good place for mudlarking is that it’s a tidal river. The level of the water rises and falls during the day, covering and uncovering objects hidden in the mud.

Mudlarking at Thames
Mudlarking treasures

What Can I Find?

Mudlarking is for people who love history, want to try something new and interesting, and want to meet people and have fun. Don’t expect to find a chest full of gold or very valuable jewellery. The most common things to find while mudlarking are old smoking pipes and common household items from the past.

More treasures

This can vary from old keys, combs, and interesting artefacts like handmade art and old statues. London was founded 2,000 years ago by the Romans, so it’s also common to find Roman coins. Everything you find is a snapshot of the past and a look into the lives of people who lived where you live now. Appreciate it and enjoy it!

So, if you’re tired of the same old hobbies, if you can’t play any more video games, if you’re bored of walking in the park, why not try mudlarking? It’s fun and interesting and anyone can do it!

Discussion Questions

  1. Have you ever found anything valuable in the street? If yes, what did you do with it?
  2. After reading this article, would you be interested in mudlarking? Why or why not?
  3. In your opinion, why do people enjoy this hobby? Do they think they’ll find treasure? Are they interested in the past? Is it mostly a social hobby?

Comprehension Questions

Answer True or False or Not Given based on the information in the article

  • People in London are more likely to lose things in the street
    1. True
    2. False
    3. Not Given
  • To go mudlarking you have to use a metal detector.
    1. True
    2. False
    3. Not Given
  • You are likely to find gold objects (like jewellery) if you go mudlarking in London.
    1. True
    2. False
    3. Not Given
  • London’s first name, when it was a Roman city, was Londinium.
    1. True
    2. False
    3. Not Given
  • You must have a license to go mudlarking.
    1. True
    2. False
    3. Not Given
  1. (3) Not Given
  2. (2) False
  3. (2) False
  4. (3) Not Given
  5. (1) True


Match the bold words in the article to the definitions below

  1. (n.) a large strong box, typically made of wood and used for storage or transport
  2. (n.) coins, not banknotes
  3. (adv.) in every part of a place or object
  4. (n.) a brief look or summary
  5. (n./v.) goal, what you want to achieve
  6. (adj.) not able to focus because you’re thinking about something else
  7. (n.) the land next to a river or lake
  8. (n.) objects made by people, which usually have cultural or historical importance
  9. (n.) the activity of searching near a river for old, lost objects
  10. (n.) an electronic machine used to search for metallic objects
  11. (n.) something that has a high worth, usually a small, personal object


  1. Chest
  2. Change
  3. Throughout
  4. Snapshot
  5. Aim
  6. Distracted
  7. Banks
  8. Artefacts
  9. Mudlarking
  10. Metal detector
  11. Valuables