H.I. and me took advantage of the sunny weather today to go for a walk along the river here in Bath. On the other side of the weir, a small trench had been dug, and the little pile of earth contained loads of interesting detritus, including this human finger (or toe - I haven't decided which yet) bone.
It is obviously very old, but I would have to have it tested to find out exactly how old. There is a good, dark patina on it, and my feelings are that it is no younger than late medieval.
In amongst the rest of the earth were other objects which should have given me a clue, but - putting my Sherlock hat on - in fact, they could only muddy the waters, so to speak. There was a piece of glass which was the broken base to a late medieval or 17th century 'onion flask' wine bottle, some terracotta pieces, animal bones and quite a lot of fresh-water shells. It was the shells which gave me the clue about how uncertain I can be about the date of this bone.
There has been much work done in the area of Pulteney Bridge in the last 300 years, and most of it involved dredging some of the river bed up to make way for the bridge itself, as well as later weir improvements.
For thousands of years, people have used this stretch of the Avon to dump all sorts of things, and these things will have included corpses, both natural and murdered. The mud at the bottom of this river is rich indeed, and who knows what else lies undiscovered - thrown from Roman and Medieval bridges.
I found an almost identical bone at Ephesus once, but left it there. This one I have kept.