Bodies of Napoleonic soldiers found in Spain

30th September 2004, Comments 0 comments

MADRID, Sept 30 (AFP) - The remains of four French soldiers believed to have fought under Napoleon have been exhumed from near the northern Basque city of Vitoria, the director of the archaeological museum in the Basque city of Alava said Thursday.

MADRID, Sept 30 (AFP) - The remains of four French soldiers believed to have fought under Napoleon have been exhumed from near the northern Basque city of Vitoria, the director of the archaeological museum in the Basque city of Alava said Thursday.  

Construction workers stumbled upon the remains in late August in Vitoria, where British, Spanish and Portuguese forces defeated Napoleon's troops, commanded by Marshal Jaean-Baptiste Jourdan, on June 21, 1813, museum director Amelia Baldeon told AFP by telephone.  

"No remains of uniforms or anything else have been found to determine formally whether indeed the remains are those of Napoleonic soldiers, but there are various things which would point to that conclusion," said Baldeon, coordinating the operation.  

She added that forensic searches had established that the bones, including four skulls, belonged to "four men in their twenties."  

That being the case, "the event to which we can link them is the battle of Vitoria in 1813," Baldeon added.  

She added archive documents "show the existence of a French cemetery where they (the remains) were found."  

The discoveries of 29 other sets of remains nearby suggest the area was used as a common grave.  

French troops invaded Spain in 1808 but they were expelled six years later following the Peninsular War as the Duke of Wellington led Britain and his troops' Spanish and Portuguese allies to victory.  

Beethoven commemorated the Vitoria standoff with his 'Battle Symphony'.

 

© AFP

Subject: French News

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