Secrets of Human Remains, Time Capsules Unearthed on New Haven Green in 2012 to Be Revealed

Skull in root matting on the New Haven Green in 2012
New Haven Museum

Superstorm Sandy unearthed a mystery when strong winds brought down a giant oak tree on the New Haven Green in 2012, revealing a partial human skeleton in its roots.

The tree had stood in the downtown park since 1909. New Haven city officials were aware of the Green’s past as a burial ground but didn’t believe that any bodies remained until calls came in on that Halloween eve nine years ago, reporting the discovery.

In 2013, researchers revealed that they had identified the remains of six individuals. Three were adults, two were children and one was unidentifiable. 

Tonight, the New Haven Museum plans to reveal results into the human remains as well as time capsules discovered, including one buried in 1909 to commemorate the 100th anniversary of Abraham Lincoln’s birth.

It included a grapeshot cannonball and a musket ball taken from the battlefield at Gettysburg, according to the New Haven Museum.

The New Haven Museum will host “Forensic Analysis of the Lincoln Oak Skeletal Remains,” a free, virtual presentation, at 6 p.m.

Former state archeologist Dr. Nick Bellantoni and Dr. Gary Aronsen, director of the Yale University Biological Anthropology Laboratories, will reveal the results of the investigation.

You can register here.

“This project is intriguing on a couple of levels,” Bellantoni said in a statement. “There’s the discovery story, and how we excavated the remains from the tree root mat (ironically, on Halloween), and then there’s the forensic analyses of the skeletal remains and associated artifacts which tell us about the lives of the early settlers of the New Haven Colony, and health and disease in the late 1700s.”

NBC Connecticut and Associated Press
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