Nicholas Bellantoni, MxCC 1973
Nicholas Bellantoni, Ph.D., serves as the emeritus state archaeologist with the Connecticut State Museum of Natural History. He is also an associate adjunct professor for the University of Connecticut Department of Anthropology. According to the UConn website, he has been excavating in Connecticut for almost 40 years.
“Middlesex was extremely important to my development, because I did very poorly in high school. I spent four years in the U.S. Navy (1968–71) and used the G.I. Bill to go to school. Middlesex accepted me as a returning veteran after I successfully completed their required probation courses. I took my first anthropology course at the community college and ended up making it my career!” said Dr. Bellatoni.
After graduating from Middlesex in 1973, Dr. Bellantoni attended Central Connecticut State College, where he earned a B.A. in anthropology and M.A. in biology. He received his Ph.D. in anthropology/archaeology from UConn in 1987.
In 2018, he published a book, The Long Journeys Home: The Repatriations of Henry ’Ōpūkaha’ia and Albert Afraid of Hawk. Dr. Bellantoni oversaw the archaeological disinterment and forensic identifications in returning these men to their respective Native families. The book chronicles these significant stories as examples of the wide-reaching impact of colonialism and the resurgence of Hawaiian and Lakota cultures.
He has served as an advisor for the Commission on Culture and Tourism, the State Historic Preservation Council, and has been a former president of the National Association of State Archaeologists. Dr. Bellantoni was featured in several television and radio shows on the History Channel, Discovery Channel, and National Geographic Channel, as well as the BBC and PBS networks.