FORENSIC officers were called after a human jawbone was unearthed at the home of Vicky Ferguson.

Any lingering suspicion that the mother-of-two may be responsible for a grisly crime were dropped after a further three sackfuls of human remains were found.

Forensic experts quickly established it was not Vicky's husband under the patio, and that the bones were hundreds of years old.

It quickly became apparent that the builders working on an extension to her semi-detached house in Norton, near Stockton, had stumbled across a site of major archaeological interest.

Archaeologists believe it may be an ancient Saxon burial ground, with possibly scores of bodies buried under many more houses.

If scientific tests on the bones prove that true, the find could be of huge significance in helping piece together the ancient history of Norton.

But a relieved Mrs Ferguson joked that she is simply glad to be no longer under suspicion of criminal misdeeds.

The 35-year-old said: "The builders were winding me up, calling me Mandy Jordache, from Brookside, who killed her husband and buried him under the patio.

"My husband, Kerry, was working away in Azerbaijan, and they were saying 'Are you sure he's away?'

"Then CID were asking me how long have I lived here? I said 'Only two and a half years -this isn't mine, honest', and the previous owner was a police officer."

Builder Dave Clarke said: "We occasionally come across animal bones, but we get a bit suspicious when we find human ones."

Peter Rowe, of Tees Archaeology, which was called in by police, said: "This is such an exciting find.

"It is just staggering how much stuff we have got here.

"It was a major Saxon settlement, but we have never found any structures or a church or where they were dumping their rubbish."

A police spokeswoman said: "We were called out to a report that bones were uncovered.

"Once they were identified as ancient human remains, we called in specialists from Tees Archaeology."