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Archeologists unearth intact Waterloo soldier

Thursday, June 14, 2012
AFP


BRUSSELS -- Almost 200 years after Prussian and English troops defeated Napoleon at Waterloo, Belgian archeologists have unearthed the complete remains of a young soldier in what they dubbed a rare find.

“You can almost see him dying,” Belgian archeologist Dominique Bosquet said of the skeleton, lying on its back with the spherical musket bullet that felled the soldier still between his ribs.

“The skeleton is intact,” Bosquet told RTL television on Tuesday.

Believed to have died June 18, 1815, the remains were found under 40 centimeters (15 inches) of soil as if the young soldier's comrades had hurriedly buried him when he fell on the battleground.

His uniform had been eaten away but archaeologists were studying a spoon, a coin, a leather strap and a piece of wood carved with the initials C.B. to see whether they might help to identify the skeleton.

It was found last week on land held at the time by English troops by a team of archaeologists investigating the site ahead of major renovation.

Bulldozers rolled into action a month ago to spruce up the site in a project that will see the demolition of restaurants, stores and parking lots.

The yearly re-enactment of the famed battle between Napoleon's 125,000 men and his 210,000 victors takes place this weekend, gathering hundreds of Waterloo buffs in period costumes.

More than 12,000 soldiers died on the battlefield.

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