Progress on a new apartment complex on the west side has come to a halt as construction workers uncovered human remains while digging for a foundation. Police were immediately called to the scene, but a cursory examination led investigators to conclude that the skeleton was extremely old, and not the result of recent crime.
By police request, an anthropological team from the university arrived to determine, as best as they could, what the construction workers found. The answer was a surprise to everyone: the skeleton is male, nearly 400 years old, and dates to the earliest days of Osprey City. Osprey City was originally founded as the village of Osprey, so named for the sea birds found in the area, in 1623, by Separatists from the Plymouth Colony.
“We were able to estimate the age of the remains based on the layer of earth,” reported Dr. Nils Hansson. “We’ve found other remains and artifacts from the mid-1600s in the layer around the city.” Further examination of the skeleton revealed that the neck was broken and the hands were once bound. Hansson continued, “based on the damage done to the neck and the position of the hands, it seems that this man was hanged in a public execution.”
If true, the body represents the earliest such execution in the history of Osprey City. It would also explain why the body was not buried in the Old Cemetary, the primary burial ground for Osprey’s original colonists. “Generally, criminals were buried with their family, like any other person,” commented Professor of History Richard Keeler. “But if the criminal didn’t have any family, or his crime was extremely heinous, it’s entirely possible that a ditch would be buried somewhere and his or her body simply dumped in.”
Local historians are now combing records dating from the early colonial period in Osprey for any mention of a hanging, and samples of the remains have been sent to Harvard University for radiocarbon dating.