Friday, September 19, 2014


Nick Bellantoni, the Connecticut State Archaeologist, who recently stepped down after over 30 years of digging up the past across the Nutmeg state, was in town last night for a talk at the Bruce Museum on his participation in the exhumation, forensic work, and final repatriation of a Lakota Sioux Indian to the Cheyenne River Sioux Reservation.

According to Nancy Bernard, of the Archaeological Associates of Greenwich, the group that hosted him, Bellantoni’s talk was “fabulous.”

Before Bellantoni’s talk there was a moment to ask him a question begging to be asked. With all the deep digging that goes on in Greenwich, both for housing and for commercial sites, what if old relics or historic objects are found? What is the law of the land? Are these items routinely delivered over to Town authorities? What is his experience in this area?

“I’m called in only if human remains are found at construction sites,” he says. Other countries like England and France, etc, he says, stop construction when any relics or bones or pottery chards are uncovered.

The modus operandi in Connecticut towns Bellantoni says is if there’s any expectation a site will deliver important artifacts or early habitation, the Planning and Zoning is to be notified before any digging is done.

Bellantoni reported he will continue to teach – this semester he’ll be at the University of Connecticut teaching an introductory course in anthropology. But he’ll doubtfully not put more miles on his Chevy 10 truck which had accumulated 223,000 miles in his exploratory work across the state.

Reporter: Anne Semmes of the Greenwich Time.


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