Webinar: Living Their Enemies, Dying Their Guests: Four Revolutionary Soldier Burials

Nick Bellantoni, Emeritus Connecticut State Archaeologist discusses the history, discovery, and excavation of the burials found in December 2019 and gives an update on the forensic analysis currently underway. (Dec. 8, 2020)

Construction activities working to lower the dirt grade under a house basement dating to 1790 uncovered human skeletal remains in Ridgefield, CT. Local police reported the discovery to the Office of the Chief State’s Medical Examiner, whose forensic team identified the remains as being historic and not part of a modern criminal investigation. In turn, in compliance with state statutes, the state archaeologist was notified to assume the enquiry. Subsequent excavations yielded four skeletons of young, robust adult males, all of which were hastily buried together in a common shallow grave where the bodies are commingled with overlapping arms and legs. The discovered burials are located in the area of the Revolutionary War Battle of Ridgefield (April 27, 1777). Our working hypothesis is that the burials found under the basement were victims of this historic Revolutionary War battle. Material culture recovered from two individuals includes 37 brass and two pewter buttons. This presentation will discuss the history, discovery and excavation of the burials and update on the forensic analysis currently underway.

This program is supported by CT Humanities.

Nick Bellantoni

By Nick Bellantoni

Dr. Nicholas F. Bellantoni serves as the emeritus state archaeologist with the Connecticut State Museum of Natural History at the University of Connecticut. He received his doctorate in anthropology from UConn in 1987 and was shortly thereafter appointed state archaeologist. He also serves as an Adjunct Associate Research Professor in the Department of Anthropology at UConn, and is Interim-President of the Archaeological Society of Connecticut and a former president of the National Association of State Archeologists.