Residents of New Haven, Connecticut are experiencing another spooky Halloween this year involving centuries-old skeletons and time capsules. After winds of Hurricane Sandy ripped through the town in 2012, a women walking through New Haven Green noticed a skull under an uprooted historic tree, coincidentally, on Halloween. This week, archeologists released more detailed scientific findings of what was located under the Lincoln Oak, planted in 1909 on the 100th anniversary of President Abraham Lincoln's birth. Within the roots of the downed tree, researchers found two time capsules and the skeletal remains of six people buried in the 1700s: three adults, two children and some unidentifiable bones. Just in time for this Halloween, former state archeologist Dr. Nick Bellantoni and Dr. Gary Aronsen, director of the Yale University Biological Anthropology Laboratories hosted a forensic analysis of the site through the New Haven Museum.
Dr. Bellantoni says, "This project is intriguing on a couple of levels. 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." Bellantoni says the two time capsules have been donated to the museum. One of particular interest was planted under the Lincoln Oak to commemorate the tree planting and contained a grapeshot cannon ball and a musket ball taken from a Gettysburg battlefield. Multiple historians and academic researchers were involved in the project which has peaked the interest of New Haven residents. City officials knew of the park's past as a burial ground, but thought all bodies were transported to a nearby cemetery years ago.