POSTED: Friday, September 23, 2011 - 11:07am
UPDATED: Friday, September 23, 2011 - 11:08am
NBC NATIONAL NEWS — When the powerful Tropical Storm Irene swept through, the storm unearthed a mystery in Branford, Connecticut.
Part of Linden Avenue collapsed from the storm and neighbors of a beach there found what they believed were human bones protruding from the embankment that the storm eroded and called Branford police.
Those bones, experts have determined, likely came from an ancient Native American burial site.
Police responded to the eroded area on August 29 and brought the bones to the Connecticut State Medical Examiner's Office, who determined the bones were human, and possibly of Native American origin.
"They were femurs, some rib bones, parts of the pelvis," said Running Fox, a member of the Quinnipiac Tribal Council.
He said the unearthed bones were remains of two members of the Totoket Quinnipiac Tribe.
Over the years, ancient arrowheads and stone tools have been found in Branford.
Over the last few weeks, Branford Police and the town's engineer, Janice Plaziak, have worked closely with archaeologists and members of the Native American Heritage Advisory Council to maintain the integrity and security of the site until a proper method of returning the area back to its pre-storm condition could be determined.
'Our major concern during these preceding weeks was to maintain the honor and respect of those Native Americans who may have been laid to rest in this area and work closely with their ancestors to maintain the dignity they deserve,' Police Chief Kevin Halloran said.
A special burial ceremony was held Thursday to return the remains to their rightful place.
"It gives us an opportunity to thank the creator and ask him to watch over them so they will never be disturbed again," Fox said.