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How to find a mammoth tooth

1 June 2019

This story is at www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-6963489/ … where a 50 year old Londoner, one Alan Murphy, is the centrepiece. He is what is known in the archaeological world as a mudlark. He rummages around the muddy foreshore of the river Thames in London looking for historial material. On this particular occasion it is a tooth of a mammoth that he has found – possibly a milk tooth from a young specimen. It is almost intact with minimal damage which is remarkable if it has been swirling around in river water, tumbling amongst stones and things, for thousands of years. Having said that I don't suppose it necessarily has been in the river all that time but at some stage has been eroded out of the bank.

   … Alan Murphy is a veteran mudlark and has a collection of material he has salvaged from the river. He has a licence which gives him permission to search the Thames foreshore. One of his hobbies is collecting flint tomake replica tools – such as arrow heads. This is not unusual as various other people become fascinated in the art of flint knapping and experiment by reproducing ancient tools. Murphy6 was actually out collecting flints for his hobby and the mammoth tooth was amongst the river gravel and pebbles – or at least the water smoothed pieces of flint. The Thames passes through a lot of chalk country and flints are commonly washed out and collected by the river and transported downstream.

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