The stone bears the initials of Henry VIII and his first queen Katherine of Aragon with a marriage knot, and belongs to the original naval storehouse built by the king in 1513 - the scheduled ancient monument whose below-ground remains are due to built over as part of the proposed Convoys Wharf development.
The stone marks the official royal foundation of the dockyard to the service of Henry VIII, when the navy became established; a facility which went on to build ships that sailed the world, defended Britain and discovered new lands.
The stone was rediscovered by Chris Mazeika, a member of Deptford Is.. whose research into the dockyard led him to 1950s drawings of the artefact. It was during a chance visit to the UCL geography department that he glimpsed the stone, which had lain forgotten since being salvaged from the bomb-damaged yard after WWII.
The university has now pledged to return the stone to its home, after efforts by World Monuments Fund Britain and Dr Negley Harte, honorary fellow and honorary research fellow in history at the university.
Dr Jonathan Foyle, chief executive of WMF Britain said: "The rediscovery of the foundation stone reminds us that this site was the foremost royal dockyard of the Tudor period, and an historic site of national importance at this critical moment when its future is to be decided by the Mayor of London. We hope that UCL's pledge will help to inform the Mayor's decision on the scheme so that the cultural heritage is fully recognised and expressed in any future development."