Several old beams were excavated that appeared to be locally cut. Beneath the beams, on top of the burned wood floor, was an entire skeleton. The skeleton was charred but mostly intact. Scattered around on the burned floor was more broken china. Just under the burned floor in a shallow hole scraped in the ground, a twelve inch square metal box was unearthed. The bottom of the metal box bore an inscription of a manufacturer’s date of 1883.
Analysis of the bones and teeth indicated that the skeleton was that of a female in her late 20’s or early 30’s. Her skull had been crushed near the left temple. The china had a distinct old English pattern of roses and butterflies.
When the metal box was opened a smaller wooden box was found inside. The box was filled with old letters, all addressed to Molly. The letters were dated between 1884 and 1887. Several letters were signed by “Robert Parker.” Other letters were signed with only the first names of Tom, Dick, and Harry.
To solve historic mysteries like the Mystery of Molly, scientists have several different techniques, or methods, that help them date sites and artifacts. These different methods are classified into two categories: Absolute and Relative dating.