Saxon graveyard found on Brick by Brick site in Coulsdon

Saxon remains: one of the graves excavated at Lion Green Road by the Museum of London archaeologists

The lengthy delays over the development of 157 flats on the Lion Green Road car park in Coulsdon may now be over, as an important archaeological dig has been completed after finding 18 graves on the site.

All are believed to be Saxon and six skeletons were found buried with iron knives in their left hand.

Previously, Roman burials and the remains of a dog had been discovered at the same site.

The latest excavations were carried out by the Museum of London Archaeology as part of the planning permission for council-owned developers Brick by Brick.

MOLA’s report, submitted to the council, states that the Coulsdon excavation “comprises the final phases of an archaeological investigation that began in 2015.

“Previous MOLA excavations on the site revealed two late Roman burials; an undated dog burial; a Saxon burial dated to the late 6th/early 7th century by a glass vessel; in addition to two disturbed graves.

“The 2021 excavations uncovered a further 12 inhumation burials, with an additional 6 burials discovered during the 2022 watching brief. All appear to be Saxon and six had iron knives buried with them.

“They were aligned south-west to north east and some were coffined. There were also at least three empty burial cuts that can probably be attributed to investigations undertaken in 1912–13, when a cemetery was found and skeletons were removed. These are now in the Natural History Museum and a skull in the Horniman Museum.”

The report also considers how these latest finds might relate to previous archaeological digs at the nearby Cane Hill site and on Farthing Downs.

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2 Responses to Saxon graveyard found on Brick by Brick site in Coulsdon

  1. Haydn White says:

    Well that’s actually a good reason for late delivery . Now what about all the other failures.

  2. Lewis White says:

    It is very good that these Saxons – were they warriors or was it normal for all adults to be buried with a weapon?- are no longer languishing under the hideous cinder and taramc desert of the former Lion Green Road car park where fly-tippers would periodocally shoot tipper-loads of rubbish.

    In view of the fact that the old village of Coulsdon was up on top of the hill, now “Old Coulsdon” and that the valley of Smitham Bottom – the “Smooth dene” ( smooth valley)- was virtually uninhabited until the coming of the railways since the Norman conquest, one wonders whether there was then a small village nearby. Maybe up the hill of Cane Hill a bit at Portnalls? Or were Saxon cemeteries located well away from settlement?

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