Katy Elliott

A daily design journal about new england life, home decorating resources, and renovating a 257-year-old house in Marblehead, MA.

Found Objects: Bones in Basement

Posted on | April 22, 2009 | 27 Comments

found objects: bones found in basement

I know a lot you are going to be really grossed out or disturbed by this post. We found these bones in our basement while renovating the space. Actually let me rephrase that: Greg found these bones while digging in the basement. He collected a whole box of bones in all different sizes and shapes. We don’t think they are human. Maybe they are? Remember my house in over 257 years old. Finding bones is pretty common in old homes. Kinda cool right?

found objects: bones found in basement

found objects: bones

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27 Responses to “Found Objects: Bones in Basement”

  1. Jane Flanagan
    April 22nd, 2009 @ 1:56 pm

    Wow! What will you do with them?


  2. Jennifer
    April 22nd, 2009 @ 2:11 pm

    oh my goodness! what a crazy find. maybe I watch too much Law&Order, but I feel like you should make sure they aren't human! either way, CRAZY!


  3. crazy witch from salem
    April 22nd, 2009 @ 2:13 pm

    Sell them to the crazy witches in Salem. They always need to replenish their authentic bone stock.


  4. katy elliott
    April 22nd, 2009 @ 2:14 pm

    They could be human. I heard a rumor in town there use to a graveyard behind my house. Our town is full of old graveyards.


  5. Chelsea
    April 22nd, 2009 @ 2:22 pm

    Oh my goodness. This is the coolest!! I love New England!


  6. rachel
    April 22nd, 2009 @ 2:26 pm

    Crazy! I wish I had paid more attention in my physical anthropology class.


  7. Helen
    April 22nd, 2009 @ 2:40 pm

    How wild!


  8. Emily
    April 22nd, 2009 @ 3:01 pm

    That's awesome. My first thought was "see if it's a full skeleton and then rebuild it and use it for decoration at Halloween." My second thought was "that's kindof morbid. What if it's human? She'll scare the natives!" My third thought was: "That's the start of a *great* mystery."

    If you're not down with bones as decor, maybe a local university could use them? At the very least they might be able to tell you who – or what – left them in your basement!


  9. Laura.
    April 22nd, 2009 @ 3:12 pm

    whoa! that's cool! i think it would be cool to find out more about them, i'm so curious.


  10. Stephanie
    April 22nd, 2009 @ 3:36 pm

    These are screaming out for a wicked cool glass fronted curio case and a position of honor, I think.


  11. Emily
    April 22nd, 2009 @ 4:25 pm

    Wow – it's like being in an episode of C.S.I.!


  12. Nicole
    April 22nd, 2009 @ 5:00 pm

    I think you have to report it to the local authorities so that they can determine there wasn't anything amiss about it. Other than that, that's pretty cool.


  13. Sally Mae
    April 22nd, 2009 @ 5:36 pm

    definitely display them somehow!


  14. Amy
    April 22nd, 2009 @ 7:37 pm

    i think it's really cool and I really really want to know if they're human or what! So please keep us posted if you find out more!


  15. atlantic treefox
    April 22nd, 2009 @ 9:39 pm

    this is VERY cool. so jealous.


  16. katek
    April 23rd, 2009 @ 8:49 am

    Shadowbox! So cool.

    (Is there some crazy claw/tooth in there? First photo; second row from bottom, second in from the right. It looks shiny.)


  17. kristenhavens
    April 23rd, 2009 @ 12:39 pm

    How big are these? There are some vertebrae are there, I think. Maybe it's a dog?

    That thing that looks like a claw is a rib, I'm pretty sure.

    Of course, I struggled to pass my osteology (identifying bone fragments) class in college, so I could be wrong.


  18. kristenhavens
    April 23rd, 2009 @ 12:41 pm

    P.S. If you bring them to the anthropology department of a local college, whoever teaches biological anthro will probably be willing to identify them for you. One of my old professors used to do this all the time for the police.


  19. marbleheadforever
    April 23rd, 2009 @ 8:17 pm

    I agree with Kristen. Take them to a university anthrology department for some identification! These were found in he mound of dirt that you got out the basement, right? If your home is over or near an old graveyard, there could be more! (They look a little large to be dog bones). Please keep us posted when you find out where the bones are from!


  20. Christine
    April 28th, 2009 @ 7:51 pm

    I think the police is the right call… just in case. Sorry to be so morbid, but they do indeed look human to me (I see a hipbone, two ribs, two fibulas and several radia in your photos), and they could help solve a murder or some missing person case. Seriously.


  21. Jenn
    April 28th, 2009 @ 8:56 pm

    Um, definitely do NOT display them. No offense to those who are into that kind of thing, but skeletal remains on display does not scream "Welcome to our happy home" to me :)


  22. katy elliott
    April 28th, 2009 @ 9:02 pm

    Thanks everyone for all your comments. I talked to my neighbors and it seems everyone has found bones in their basement. It's almost a local joke how common finding them is. Most people just donate them to a local historical museum. I am going to check in with my historic society about what I should do with them. I'll keep everyone posted.


  23. Victoria Webb
    June 5th, 2009 @ 9:19 pm

    You might check with your local historic society to see if there has ever been an archaeological impact study in the district or area. You may be on an important site – I'm on a PA township historic commission and we require these in advance of development in known areas. It doesn't mean that you wouldn't be able to dig up your garden…but there may be items of great interest.

    Your house is also probably eligible for National Historic Preservation recognition. Often that means you can apply for a grant for any renovations, etc. Just be sure to repair and replace 'in kind', according to their guidelines.


  24. erin
    June 11th, 2009 @ 2:10 pm

    what a trip! i grew up in a house in ct, built in 1741. we never found bones (that my parents told me about) but we did find five gravestones in our basement! needless to say, the highlight of afternoon playdates was heading down to the basement to "investigate!"


  25. Carla
    October 4th, 2009 @ 12:54 pm

    wow!! Good news for you, those are not human at all. On the first pic, 2nd row, 2nd bone: that’s a scapula but the human scapula does not have a hole in it. I teach radiology…have no idea but its probably a dog or something.
    The vertebrae are not even near the look of a human. But that would certainly freak me out.


  26. dana
    March 9th, 2010 @ 8:07 pm

    I think it’s totally cool that your house has such a long past! and I think they could make a make a lovely display with such an interesting story, maybe even a wind chime. Plus finding bird or squirrel bones is neither weird or unusual for such an old house, I’m so glad to see when people have respect and enthusiasm for their homes history! yay old house!


  27. brb
    March 24th, 2010 @ 11:06 am

    use them for handles on a chest of drawers. drill a hole and put a screw through them and onto the cabinet. do this outside though, because the dust will small horrible. finish with paste was or a high gloss lacquer.


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