Human bones belonging to small child discovered under driveway in Purley, south London

The bone fragments have been taken away to be carbon dated and establish how old they are

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The Independent Online

A skeleton has been found by builders underneath a driveway in Purley, south London.

The discovery was made by landscape gardeners who were working in the front garden of the semi-detached house when they uncovered several bones, including a human skull and a femur, thought to have belonged to a small child.

The fragments have now been taken away for analysis to establish their age.

Work has been halted on the driveway and the front garden has been sealed off while the police investigate the discovery.  

Alison Carpenter, 41, and her husband Michael live at the property on Riddlesdown Road with their four children Jasmine, Joel, Toby and Zac.

Speaking to London Live, Mrs Carpenter said “Yesterday morning the diggers came and they started work. I had a phone call about half eleven to say 'err… we’ve found a skull, perhaps we ought to stop digging'.”

The couple called the police, who are looking into the discovery, if the bones are found to be under 70 years old then an investigation could be launched. However, it is believed that the skeleton was very old and had been there for many years.

“A neighbour down the road said perhaps it was somebody who had been buried as a result of the plague, other people are talking about Saxon burial grounds in the area,” Mrs Carpenter added.

Detective Sergeant Kenny Windsor, from the Croydon CID, told the Evening Standard that anthropologists are working with the police to carbon date the finds.

“It is an unusual discovery, but we’re keeping an open mind about whether the bones were originally buried there or indeed moved there for some reason.

“We’re also aware that there is an ancient Saxon burial site in the vicinity but at this stage, the direction of our investigation hinges on establishing age of the bones.”