A MASS grave of 81 British soldiers has been found in a Dutch castle moat.
The mass grave was discovered in a castle moat in the Dutch city of Vianen. The skeletons are around 220 years old and are now believed to date back to a battle against the French.
City workers found the grave when excavating a moat near the grounds of the Batestein Castle, which was built in the 14th century. The surprise discovery was made on November 20, 2019 and plenty of speculation first surrounded the 81 skeletons. Initially it was believed that they dated back to mediaeval times, but a breakthrough was made and the bones have now been identified as those of British soldiers.
It is thought that the soldiers died between 1792 and 1797 in the war of the first coalition, and that they would have been aged between 15 and 30 years old when they died.
The project team led by Anne-Floor van Pelt have now concluded that the mass grave was the site of a field hospital. The project leader explained that the site was not the “battlefield itself, but a place further away where the wounded from the fray were received and treated.
“It would not have been a nice place.
“We think that many soldiers here died from their wounds, but also from all kinds of hardships such as hunger, disease and frostbite.”
The breakthrough came after marks were discovered on the victims’ teeth which led them to date the remains to after when tobacco first appeared in the Netherlands.
🇬🇧 Ambassador @JoannaRoperFCDO: "This extraordinary discovery illustrates the close cooperation between 🇬🇧 & 🇳🇱 in the 18th century. @DefenceHQ archaeologists are working with colleagues from @5heerenlanden to continue identification & ensure that they are treated with respect." https://t.co/GifcFdxiOH
— UK in NL🇬🇧🇳🇱 (@ukinnl) February 16, 2021
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