Bones Discovered Under Bennington Home Not Human

Bones Discovered Under Bennington Home Not Human

In a surprising turn of events, bones discovered beneath a historic home in Bennington, Vermont, have been confirmed as non-human. The discovery was made by contractors working on a renovation project on Monday.

Mo Kafka, the property owner, provided some historical context for the site. “The large white Greek Revival house on the property was originally built in 1830 and was expanded and renovated in 1852. Known as the Hall House, it was occupied by members of the prominent Hall family for much of the 19th and 20th centuries. Governor Hiland Hall was the most notable resident,” Kafka explained.

The bones were found under a small green house on the property. Kafka elaborated, “The green cottage on the southwest corner of the current property was behind the Merrill House but faces Seminary Lane. By the time of a 1958 survey, the parcels of the Merrill and Hall properties, the green cottage, and the house at 40 West were all owned by the Bennington College Corp.”

Currently, the remains are in the care of an archaeologist for further examination.

The discovery initially caused quite a stir. Construction workers digging around the foundation of a century-old abandoned structure in Old Bennington unearthed what they believed to be human remains. The bones, including a femur and a piece of vertebrae, were found early Thursday morning. Workers were moving dirt under the home to reinforce the structure when they made the discovery.

Ben Britch of Clayton Construction, the company working on the project, recounted the moment he found the bones. “I just happened to dig down about a foot and a half, and the bone was just sticking up there. I pulled it up out of the dirt right next to me,” Britch said. Another worker, upon seeing the bones, suggested they looked human, prompting the team to call the Bennington Police.

Bennington Police Chief Paul Doucette was alerted early that morning. “The house is at least a hundred years old and under some major renovations. While digging underneath, workers found several old bones that appear to be human,” Doucette stated.

Detectives and an assistant medical examiner were called to the scene. The assistant ME initially believed the bones to be human. A state archaeologist was also brought in to examine the bones and the surrounding dirt. The remains were then transported to the University of Vermont Medical Center in Burlington for DNA testing to confirm their origin. The results, which were expected on Friday, ultimately revealed that the bones were not human.

The discovery of the bones under the old home, located in one of the oldest parts of Bennington, raised several questions. “It is concerning finding remains, but this could well have been a former burial site or possibly not human at all. There were battles throughout this whole area during the Revolutionary War. Who knows where these came from at this point?” Doucette remarked. Workers also found old bottles, pottery, and metal bands from an old barrel or keg nearby, adding to the historical intrigue.

When asked about any potential investigations into the old property or historically missing persons associated with the area, Doucette confirmed that an investigation was underway. “We have a call into the Town Clerk’s office to learn more about the property and the previous owners. We are currently not aware of any missing persons here or any unsolved cases in this area. Again, who knows? This could be a burial site from years ago. We will know more soon.”

Mo Kafka, who has owned the property since 2022, hired Clayton Construction to help secure the fieldstone foundation with hopes of occupying the structure in the near future. The property includes a primary home, a Greek revival-style classic built around 1830, a small cottage under renovation, and an old red barn. The area surrounding the property is significant in Vermont’s history, particularly during the colonial era leading up to the Revolutionary War.

The discovery of the bones, initially thought to be human, has added a layer of mystery and historical significance to the property. As the investigation continues, the community remains intrigued by what other secrets the old home might reveal.

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