GUILFORD — While workers were digging up a lawn to install some utility lines, they found more than they bargained for.
“A contractor who had been digging a trench uncovered some human remains,” said Piscataquis County Chief Deputy Todd Lyford.
He added, “We did find casket parts that had been dug up as well so we kind of surmised it wasn’t a crime scene.”
Finding buried bones is more common than people think.
“We contacted the medical examiner’s office,” Lyford said.
Marcella Sorg is a forensic scientist who works for the medical examiner and the University of Maine responded.
“It was pretty clear it was a historic site and we do find these historic sites, these unmarked graves quite a lot,” she said.
Town officals told her, “In the late 50s or 1960s around there, they did move a cemetery and that cemetery was relocated. I think what happened is they just didn’t get everything,” Sorg said.
The contractor was quite upset.
“The excavator uncovered a skull,” said property owner Stephanie Cartwright, adding later, “He freaked out.”
The first skull found had an upper denture that contained porcelain.
“I Googled when dentures were manufactured using porcelain because they were white, white the teeth. They were very white. And, it was the 1820s,” Cartwright said.
Two electricians working at the job site had gone to get parts last Wednesday when the discovery was made.
“The cops were here when we got back and they had found the skull, the first one,” said Gabe Washburn, one of the electricians.
He added, “They had removed probably a 20-foot spot of dirt to see if there was anything else and we found a second one.”
Washburn said he was using a shovel when he unearthed the second skull.
They said it was a day they will not soon forget.
“It was interesting,” Washburn said.
Zach Smith, the other electrician, agreed.
“You never know what you are going to dig up,” he said.
Lyford said he wished he had more information about the skulls.
“For us, it’s extremely uncommon but I guess in general it is common,” Lyford said. “If it’s a family plot, people move on, relatives die, and gets sold. So, it was probably an older cemetery and it just got forgotten until someone dug it up.”
The town plans a proper burial in the local cemetery.
“It’s just unfortunate that we don’t know who they are so we can properly mark their sites,” Lyford said.