Dem Dry Bones
Any idea why there might be so many burnt animal bones on the Greenwich foreshore – on the beach by the river in front of the Greenwich University / Trinity buildings?
There are literally thousands of them … and some of them are quite big – we suspect that some of them are sheep bones, but we are not sure of the rest. Or how they might have got there.
The Phantom replies:
The river fetches up some weird stuff on Greenwich Beach, not least because we’re on a bend that catches all kinds of detritus in the tides. Sometimes it’s china sherds, sometimes bits of ancient London.
Occasionally it’s treasure (of the archeaological variety, very rarely actual gold and silver) though not very often on the surface – you need to dig for that and you need a license, though try telling those scary gangs excavating on an almost industrial level (or so I’m told) up and down the river, not that I’ve ever seen any at Greenwich.
Thinking about it, there’s something quite Dickensian about gangs of mudlarks operating on the Thames by dead of night, searching for London’s buried treasures. I hope they have suitably ghoulish names. Suggestions here,chaps…
Still, beachcoming is usually quite fun and can turn up nice stuff. Mind you, the best thing I’ve ever found was a slightly gruesome Victorian syringe. Yerk.
There are nearly always bits of clay pipe. There are so many of them I’ve even seen weird jewellery made from pipe sherds on the market.
And at the moment it’s bones.
I’d say these are almost certainly nothing to do with any kind of strange libations from weird cults on the foreshore, but have been brought downriver over the hours – perhaps days, weeks or even years.
Bones, especially burnt ones, are very light, so presumably they wash together and congregate when the tide goes out, but where they come from is harder to say. An abbatoir further up river? Though one that tips out directly into the Thames is an unpalatable thought.
Any ideas, folks?
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