MADISON – When Ann Chesley decided to take her boyfriend’s children to an old graveyard on East Madison Road several weeks ago, she expected the graves would interest them, or at least teach them a little history.

In the end it wasn’t the graves they found so intriguing, but what lay on the grass not far from the road: a human skull.

When Dakota Webb, 9, and Devon Webb, 11, of Skowhegan discovered the skull on Aug. 24, they first thought it was a coconut, Dakota Webb said in a phone interview. It was whitish-brown, and the bone was peeling.

“It was just sitting there, sitting on top of the grass, like someone placed it there,” said Chesley, 32, of Madison. “I honestly picked it up. I was like, ‘Oh, that is not a coconut.’ I dropped it. I was a little freaked out.”

Dakota Webb said it was “creepy” when he learned that it was a skull.

What does one do when one finds a human skull?

At first, Chesley said she didn’t know what to do. Leave it? Bring it with them? Who would they bring it to?

She “carried it to the car, going ‘Oh my God, oh my God, oh my God,”‘ she said. “The boys were all excited about it.”

She brought it to the Somerset County Sheriff’s Office, and it was then given to the town to put back in the graveyard.

“It appeared an animal had possibly dug this up or something. It was determined (to be) a human skull. It didn’t appear to be anything suspicious,” said Lt. Carl Gottardi.

The small graveyard is surrounded by wire fencing and contains graves dating to the early 1800s. Most of the gravestones are chipped, worn away and tilted. There are a couple of holes where it appears animals have been digging.

Town Manager Norman Dean said it is the first time he has ever been given a human skull to rebury. The skull is likely 200 years old, and no others have been discovered. “It will be placed back in the cemetery and buried in the proper place,” he said.

Chesley said she still can’t quite believe she found and touched a human skull.

“I’m not creeped out by it anymore, I suppose,” she said.