ONCE surrounded by his aged peers, he is the one they left behind.

Archaeologists yesterday confirmed that the human skeleton discovered in the garden of a house in Wytham View, Eynsham, was that of a man buried 1,500 years ago.

The site was known to be an Anglo-Saxon cemetery and archaeologists had excavated all the other bodies about 40 years ago – but missed him.

Police cordoned off the scene following the discovery on Wednesday until Hugh Coddington, acting county archaeologist for Oxfordshire County Council, identified the bones at midday yesterday, revealing them to be a pagan male buried in around 500 AD.

Mr Coddington believed six skeletons were excavated when the house was built on the burial site 40 years ago.

The bones will remain where they have been for the past 1,500 years, as it would involve cost and lengthy delays to apply for a licence to move the body.

Construction work is believed to have begun on the site at the start of the week.

Neighbour Rebecca Lewington, 27, who lives nearby, said: “I would like to know more. I can’t imagine what Eynsham would have been like 1,500 years ago.

“I wonder who the skeleton was? I would love to find out.”

Her sister Jessica Unwin, who lives in the same street, said: “I believe they say that if you disturb a grave it can bring up lots of spirits, so I don’t want it to be moved.”

Mr Coddington added: “This is part of a larger cemetery of probably half-a-dozen burials, but the others were excavated when the houses were built in the 1970s.

“There was a small settlement in, or around, the site of the abbey and this was one.

“One of the interesting things is there aren’t any grave goods, no jewellery associated with the burials, which does suggest the settlement was quite poor.

“However, from the skeletal remains, I can see that this individual was quite healthy. He had a good lifestyle, was probably male and certainly pagan.”

He said the body had been buried in an alignment from west to east, a typical sign of a pagan burial.

Dc Rob Hughes said: “The decision has been made by the builders to work around the remains and leave them in situ.

“Until we could verify the age of the bones, it was a police matter as we have an obligation to protect whoever it was.”