Croydon has taken some flak over the years, and Londonist doesn't want to fall into the hackneyed ways of lesser commentators by adding to that already sizeable bucket of mockery. But when objective evidence is uncovered that justifies all the piss-taking… Well, maybe just this once. We will try and get through this article without using the word 'Chav', but no promises.
Archaeologists in Croydon, who probably don hard hats long before reaching their dig, have recently uncovered Roman remains. The excavation of a former car park (what else) on Lower Coombe Street has produced strong evidence of an ancient dumping ground. Amidst discarded rubble and pottery, several items of jewellery have been unearthed (sadly, no hoopy earrings as yet). The site is believed to date from the second to fourth centuries AD and is the first 'concrete' evidence of a Roman presence in this part of Croydon.
Whilst this revelation doesn't excuse the way Croydon is, it does help us understand why. Writers such as Iain Sinclair and Peter Ackroyd are fond of talking in terms of phychogeography, where an area of London retains a feeling or character over many generations. By that token, the feral Kappa slappers and homeless drunks we see today are just the latest inheritors of an area that has seen more than its fair share of slums over the centuries.
In a statement that's as true today as it's always been, senior archaeologist Jo Taylor commented, "Although this site was, by and large, a waste pit, it indicates that there was an occupied settlement close by." Hopefully, with all the development planned for 'mini-Manhattan', we'll soon know much more about Chavius Maximus and his friends.