Remains Super Storm Sandy Unearthed Were from Colonial Era

Thursday, Oct 31, 2013  |  Updated 7:02 PM EDT
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Remains Super Storm Sandy Unearthed Were from Colonial Era

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Last October, strong winds from Superstorm Sandy uprooted the historic Lincoln Oak tree on the New Haven Green and the exposed roots revealed human skeletal remains that date back to the 1700s.

This afternoon, anthropologists at Yale said the fragments found last year represent Colonial era residents of New Haven and there was not just one person, but at least six scientists can identify

“Science is happening all around us and the fact that we're in an urban setting, everybody should appreciate that cities are built from people,” Gary Aronsen, of Yale’s Department of Anthropology, said.

Aronsen said it has been a challenge for scientist to try and separate the remains and also determine aspects of health and disease present on bone and skeletal samples.

Preliminary research shows the samples represent at least six adults and children, which anthropologists said is unique in any archaeological situation.

The New Haven Green was a cemetery until the early 1800s and anthropologists said there's more work to be done to figure out the genders of the individuals, their diet, ethnicity and whether or not they were recent immigrants.

“Rather than reading about it in history books and things like that, we're really coming face-to-face with some of these people,” Kylie Williamson, a junior at Yale, said.

“I'm so lucky as an undergrad to have the privilege to do this,” Kylie Williamson, one of the lucky few who helped excavate the green with Yale anthropologist said. “I think it's one of the best times to do it and most appropriate in most ways.”
 

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