ARTICLE FOR CROYDON GUARDIAN – FURTHER HISTORICAL DISCOVERIES IN THE CROYDON AREA Introduction Historical discoveries in Croydon are not just limited to Central Croydon and Beddington. In fact, the Borough of Croydon stretches further into Surrey than most people realise.
Roman discoveries have been made as far as Thornton Heath; two Roman coins were discovered on Dunheved Road. Meanwhile, the Beddington Villa excavation continues to reveal more secrets with the discovery of an open lamp, found in 1981 5km to the South of the bath house. It was discarded because it was broken in two when found. The handle was broken later. There are other significant findings in the Greater Croydon area.
The most interesting theory surrounds Coulsdon where historians believe there may have been a Roman town, called Novimagus, on the site that is now Woodcote, but extensive developments in the 19th and 20th century, have destroyed any evidence. However, not only has Romano – British pottery been discovered in Coulsdon, but in June 1969 a Roman burial site was found in Coulsdon Woods. There is also evidence of Roman Roads from London to Portslade, through Riddlesdown and Caterham, all of which suggests a Roman presence in Coulsdon.
In Kings’ Wood, Sanderstead a small Romano – British farmstead was found and partially excavated in 1955. Not only were two hut floors found, but also evidence of a small burial ground containing four cremation urns, a child’s feeding bottle and pottery dating from the 1st and 2nd century AD. Then in 1960, on the site that is now Atwood Junior School another Romano – British settlement was found; not only that but it had been built over a smaller Iron Age settlement; in which was discovered two hut floors, several rubbish pits, rotary querns, tools and pottery. There is also evidence to suggest that the two settlements were connected. An excavation in 1989 revealed that the site was larger than originally thought. In fact, evidence also confirms that from around 600BC to the beginning of the 2nd century AD, a small community lived there.
Dating even further back, a socketed Bronze Axe was found in Riddlesdown, while burial mounds dating from the Bronze Age were found on Croham Hurst. Meanwhile Purley has the vaguest evidence; skeletons of early man have been found in the area. They have been identified as Anglo Saxon, but may have been Roman, which adds to evidence of a Roman town at Woodcote.
THE ORIGINS OF ROME There are many legends surrounding the creation of Rome, but it is believed that the original inhabitants were descendants of the Ancient Greeks, especially given their similarities in culture or least their empires. One origin myth stems directly from the Trojan War. When the Greeks razed Troy to the ground, a Trojan prince Aeneas escaped to Italy where he married a daughter of the King Latinus; they became the ancestors of the Romans. His story is told by the poet Virgil in the epic poem, the Aenead.
Another origin myth is the story of Romulus and Remus, who were left to die in the wilderness. Their mother was forced to abandon them by her brother, their uncle. They were raised by wolves. Romulus ended up killing Remus, but in penitence founded Rome, filling it with outlaws and fugitives and kidnapped the women of a neighbouring tribe, the Sabine.