Hurricane Sandy Unearths Skeletal Remains In New Haven, CT; Bones Suspected To Be 200-Years-Old

By Melissa Siegel on November 1, 2012 3:03 PM EDT

Hurricane Sandy
Hurricane Sandy unearthed skeletal remains in New Haven, Connecticut. (Photo: REUTERS)

Hurricane Sandy has unearthed at least two skeletons from the New Haven Green in Connecticut, according to reports.

The New Haven Independent reports that a 100-year-old oak tree was uprooted in the wake of the historic superstorm. The following day, a woman named Katie Carbo observed what she thought was an oddly-shaped rock in the Green. When she realized she was actually looking at a human skull, she called the police.

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Carbo was apparently a member of the Occupy New Haven movement, which held protests on the Green. The fact that she was the one who discovered the bones was particularly ironic, according to local collector and historian Robert Greenberg.

"When they [the protestors] were here, I warned them they were desecrating a cemetery," Greenberg told the New Haven Register.

Anthropologist Gary Aronsen was then called onto the scene and discovered remains of at least two different humans unearthed by Hurricane Sandy. Aronsen and two archeologists also found an iron-coffin nail dating back to the 1700s, suggesting that the bones are several centuries old.

The date of the bones' discovery only furthered the irony of the situation.

"I found myself standing there, among onlookers saying, 'Wow this is really cool, the day before Halloween,'" Office David Hartman of the New Haven Police Department told ABC News.

Investigators are still trying to determine the sex, age and cause of death of the bodies in question. But the Connecticut Heath Central website is already speculating that the two humans could have been victims of the smallpox epidemic back in the 1700s. According to the website, around 130,000 North Americans died of the virus between 1775 and 1782, and several of them were buried at the Green.  The Green also previously served as a cemetery in the town, and thousands of more bodies could still be underground.

Surprisingly, this is not the first time skeletal remains have been found in the Connecticut town. Back in 1931, another uprooted tree at the Green unearthed skeletal remains. Then last year, construction workers discovered bones near the Yale-New Haven Hospital during an excavation. State Archaeologist Nicholas Bellantoni has been researching these findings with Aronsen.

Meanwhile, Hurricane Sandy also unearthed two caskets in Crisfield, Maryland. According to the Associated Press, the caskets became visible after the cement covering the graves was dislodged during the storm. 

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