Skeletons of 200 Napoleonic troops found in Germany

September 17, 2015
Skeletons of soldiers of the great army of Napoleon are uncovered after they were discovered at a building site in Frankfurt, we
Skeletons of soldiers of the great army of Napoleon are uncovered after they were discovered at a building site in Frankfurt, western Germany, on September 17, 2015

The skeletons of 200 Napoleonic soldiers have been found during construction work in the German city of Frankfurt, officials said Thursday.

"We estimate that about 200 people were buried here," said Olaf Cunitz, head of town planning for the city, at a press conference at the site in Frankfurt's western Roedelheim district.

"According to our preliminary estimate, they are soldiers from the Great Army in 1813", who were on the way back from Napoleon's Russian campaign.

They had fought battles that claimed 15,000 lives in areas near Frankfurt in October 1813, said Cunitz.

The soldiers probably died from battle wounds or succumbed to a typhus epidemic that decimated their army at the time, said Cunitz. He said this was yet to be scientifically verified.

It was certain that the "tombs were erected in an emergency," said Andrea Hampel, heritage and historic monuments director in Frankfurt.

The were buried in coffins, which kept the skeletons well-preserved.

They were aligned in a row, without funeral articles, in a north-south orientation, not an east-west axis as was common for European Christians at the time, suggesting they were buried in haste, said Hampel.

Over 30 skeletons have been excavated and work to dig up the rest was expected to take four to six weeks, said site manager Juergen Langendorf.

Explore further: Skeletons found in mass graves are those of 17th Century Scottish soldiers

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