8 skeletons unearthed at a Maine town hall

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Maine Crews Uncover Unmarked Burial Ground

CORNISH, Maine - A construction crew doing work at Cornish Town Hall has made a surprising discovery: human remains.

Workers were using an excavator Tuesday to dig a trench for a new drainage pipe when they noticed a skull.

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"We thought probably it was just one. But, it grew," said Stephen Estes, whose company was hired for the project.

By Wednesday the total grew to eight bodies, skeletal remains from centuries ago. Some were found in wooden caskets that had decayed, investigators said.

The town hall was built on the site of an old graveyard back in the 1920s. All of the bodies were thought to have been exhumed and relocated at the time. Now, investigators believe only the headstones were moved.

"We've walked over the area, and there's been a lot of activities and who would imagine?" said selectman Dan Sherman.

In 42 years of business, Estes said he has never discovered bodies before. The drainage replacement project is a day behind as a result of his spooky discovery.

"I don't ever remember finding anything that was a treasure or anything like that," he said.

It is not the first time there has been digging at the site. A septic pump was installed decades ago just inches from where the remains were found.

Records from the original cemetery indicate there could be 13 bodies in all. The oldest grave dates to 1810. One of the skeletal remains removed Wednesday belonged a child.

"We're feeling confident that we're near the end," Estes said. "You wonder how they came here, and survived and what it was like."

More digging is scheduled for Thursday. The remains have been turned over to the Office of the Medical Examiner. An anthropologist will examine the remains to determine who they belonged to.

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