Skeletons of French troops discovered in northern Spain
Construction workers in the northern Spanish city of Vitoria made the grizzly discovery of mass graves believed to belong to French soldiers stationed there hundreds of years ago, according to media reports Friday.
More than 100 skeletons have been discovered so far, neatly lined up and placed in layers in six mass graves.
"In our initial estimation, pending laboratory tests, all signs point to these being the graves of French soldiers stationed in the town in the early 19th century or late 18th century," local culture official Lorena Lopez de la Calle told Spanish media.
According to Javier Bordagaray, from the archaeological museum in Alava province, the remains were most likely from the War of the First Coalition (1793-1795), the Peninsular War (1808-1813) or the First Carlist War (1833-46).
However, he said carbon dating could put them back as late as the 16th century.
Bordagaray said the skeletons showed no signs of violent death and were covered by lime, suggesting they had died from disease.
© 2010 AFP