POLICE are investigating the discovery of a series of human remains believed to be more than 100 years old which were found in the garden of a family home.
Four skulls were found to the rear of a town house in the Haymarket area of the city on Friday, with forensic experts yet to determine the cause of death.
Workmen installing decking in the back garden came across a series of bones but believed they belonged to buried pets, until they later found human teeth.
They raised the alarm and police officers sealed off the scene on Grove Street that afternoon.
Owner Mary-Anne Gallo said she and her husband Riccardo bought the property recently and were carrying out a renovation when the skeletons were discovered.
The 34-year-old said the discovery had naturally come as a shock, and that archeologists brought on to examine the remains over the weekend had been “baffled” by the location of the remains.
The area is not a known burial or battlefield site.
She told the Evening News: “The workmen found bones as they were doing the garden but presumed they were those of animals.
“But then they came across skulls and the teeth and they realised what they had found.
“We don’t think it’s being treated as a criminal investigation but the police haven’t yet been able to say what happened. It’s quite unnerving because we can’t help thinking there’s always the chance there could be more down there.”
Mrs Gallo, whose family are yet to move into the property, said police had arrived and cordoned off the scene on Friday, although it became clear that the bones are likely to have been there for more than 100 years.
Forensic officers spent 24-hours working at the site, setting up a tent to cover the remains and attempted to identify how long they had been in the ground.
She said: “After around 24 hours they called out the city archeologist and he was baffled.
“He said it was an unusual place to find bodies, and that they could have been moved there from somewhere else.”
Stuart Walters, who has owned a flat in the adjacent building for several years, said the discovery has left local residents wondering how the bodies came to be buried in the garden.
The 31-year-old business owner said: “The first we heard about it was when the police came around, although they weren’t saying much about it. At that time they said it was three skeletons.
“It was a bit of a shock as you can imagine, although from what they said it was a long time ago.
“Even if it was years ago though it makes you wonder who they are and what happened to them.”
John Lawson, curator of archaeology at the Museum of Edinburgh, who visited the site on Saturday, said the bones may have been buried before the property was built, prior to the turn of the 20th century.
He added: “We are working with the police on this and we don’t know too much at the moment.”
He added: “We’ll investigate it further but we suspect they may have been there before the house was built.”
A spokesman for Lothian and Borders Police said: “We are investigating after what appears to be human remains were discovered in a garden of a property in Grove Street in Edinburgh.”