600-year-old leather wristband uncovered

600-year-old leather wristband uncovered

600-year-old leather wristband uncovered

12th June 2023

A leather archer’s wrist guard dating back to the 16th century has been found in mud on the Thames riverbank in London.

It was discovered by palaeontologist Alessio Checconi, while ‘mudlarking’ – searching for historical objects on the riverbank during low-tide.

The Museum of London has confirmed the wrist guard is authentic, dating it to the first half of the 1500s. It is similar to ones found preserved on the Mary Rose, which sank in 1545.

Made from thick leather decorated with punched crosses and a scallop shell pattern the wristband would have been worn to protect the forearms of archers from their bowstrings.

Mr Checconi, from London, started mudlarking during lockdown. He said it was an “exciting find”.

The hobby of mudlarking has been popular since Victorian times. The composition of mud in the Thames means materials are often well preserved because it prevents contact with oxygen.

The river has been the site of settlements since prehistoric times and artefacts dating as far back as pre-Roman times are regularly found.

Talking to BBC News, Mr Checconi said “I recognised the old symbolic shapes and immediately was excited, the flowers indicated it could be Tudor. I took it home and put it in my fridge. It’s quite exceptional, it’s almost complete.

“Now the museum will dry it properly with machines.”