Discovery of a French cemetery in Crimea

Discovery of a French cemetery in Crimea

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It was during the digging of the foundations of a residential building in Sevastopol, in the Crimean peninsula (Ukraine), that human bones were unearthed! Excavations undertaken by the NGO "Dolg" ("Duty") uncovered a vast cemetery made up of mass graves 0.8 to 1.4 meters deep containing skeletons with heads facing West. Forensic scientists estimated that these bones were at least 100/150 years old and that the average age did not exceed 30 years.

Among other things, the excavation uncovered buttons of the 39th line infantry regiment of the French army in a tomb. These graves would therefore be those of a cemetery of French soldiers deployed under Napoleon III with their British comrades from 1853 to 1855 to retake Sevastopol from the Russian army. This siege is the most important event of the Crimean War and the Franco-British besiegers were subjected to terrible living conditions linked to the harsh climate, hunger and poor sanitary conditions.

This deplorable health context was more deadly than the Russian enemy itself, causing dysentery, scurvy, cholera… If the Franco-British ended up taking the city, they still lost around 50,000 soldiers. The historical study has shown that the discovery site is indeed on the site of a former cantonment of French soldiers and Arkadi Baïbourtsky, director of the Sevastopol museum, believes that it is in all likelihood a cemetery. hospital. For the moment, the excavations continue because the cemetery seems much larger, the re-burial should certainly take place in an existing cemetery of French soldiers from the Crimean War.

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