Bones unearthed by landscape gardeners laying a driveway at a house in Purley have been hailed as a significant archaeological discovery after it was confirmed they are at least 1,200 years old.
The skull and thigh bone discovered in Riddlesdown Road on April 14 have been analysed by experts who say they are Saxon and date back to between 670 and 775AD.
Croydon’s association with the Saxons is well documented, with the original Saxon name Croindene meaning valley of the crocuses.
But this is the first time a grave of that era has been discovered this far south.
English Heritage will now be investigating whether there could be graves as far south as the possible prehistoric linear earthwork on the edge of Riddlesdown Common.
An English Heritage spokesman said: “The recent discovery is very much of archaeological interest. “It has been known for some time that a Saxon cemetery existed close to the junction of Riddlesdown Road and Mitchley Avenue but a grave of that era has never been discovered this far south.
Ancient earthworks were at times used to fix boundaries in the Saxon landscape which were then on occasion used as the location for burials. “The recently discovered human remains suggest that the distribution of graves could range as far south as the possible prehistoric linear earthwork on the edge of Riddlesdown Common.
“We are currently awaiting, via the Museum of London Archaeology, receipt of the police report concerning the discovery of the remains. “It will be of particular interest to understand whether any grave goods were present and if it was an isolated grave.”
The Carpenter family that lives at the address have been informed. No further police investigation is now required and their case has been closed.