It is a rare archeological finding - skeletal remains, more than two centuries old.
The bones and partial uniforms of four Revolutionary War soldiers were found in Ridgefield last month. It’s a discovery UConn Archeology Ph.D. student Elic Weitzl says is one of a kind.
“In the State of Connecticut, to the best of our knowledge, there are not any burials that have been excavated from Revolutionary War soldiers,” said Weitzel, who has been working with state researchers who are analyzing the remains.
Weitzel says a family was renovating its home, finishing their basement when construction crews found the remains. The bones are being analyzed at Quinnipiac University and Weitzel says they are of great historical value.
“The fact that they’ve been in the ground for 250 years and are in still fairly decent condition is important for the archeological knowledge that we have,” added Weitzel.
The remains found are believed to from the Battle of Ridgefield. It took place on April 27, 1777, and is believed to be the only inland battle fought in Connecticut during the Revolutionary War.
The plot of land where it took place appears less than two acres in size. So small, Weitzel says the British called it a “skirmish,” not a battle. Walking the property Thursday, Weitzel pointed out significant moments in the fight.
“It was right on the other side of this road that Benedict Arnold’s horse got shot out from under him,” said Weitzel. “At which point a British soldier had advanced on him and demanded that he surrender. To which Benedict Arnold actually replied, ‘not yet,” pulled out a pistol and shot the soldier.”
The discovery of the Revolutionary War soldiers’ remains has created excitement in Ridgefield, especially for historians like Cheryl Crowl. She is a guide at the Keeler Tavern Museum, which still bears the scars of the Battle of Ridgefield.
“This is right in the end post of the house. You can see that it is really sunk in there,” says Crowl, pointing to a cannonball about the size of a baseball that had been lodged in the exterior wall since the 1777 battle.
Crowl is excited about the discovery and says an engraved stone at the battle site could forecast more findings in the future.
“It said that eight people were buried. They came as our enemies they remain as our guests,” said Crowl. “So, I predict they’re gonna find four more if they keep looking.”