Welcome to my blog. Please feel free to roam around and learn a bit more about Portuguese History. To find your interests, please, have a look at the right side of the page, where you can find all the posts arrenged into labels, such as "Society", "Politics", etc. Enjoy!

Sunday, April 7, 2013

600 skeletons found in construction work in the convent of Saint Francis

600 esqueletos encontrados em obras no Convento de São Francisco - Cultura - Notícias - RTP
French diplomacy is alert to the investigations of the necropolis found in Coimbra. 600 skeletons buried in common graves were found during the construction work in the convent of Saint Francis. It is estimated that they are, in majority, Gaul military that died during the French invasions.

Necropolis in Coimbra
Skeletons could be of French military killed during the Napoleonic Invasions
December 18th, 2012

Carolina Ferreira, Jornalist (J) «It was in fact a necropolis what was found. There was no historical record of the 600 skeletons and the type of burial doesn't match the Christian regulations, as it were expected.»

Maria Teresa Ferreira, Anthropologist (MTF) «There are a series of common graves with several individuals in the area of the common graves and were they were buried all at the same time. In other areas the graves were already re-used.»

Mónica Corga, Archeologist (MC) «All of that, associated to the archeological findings, like the remains of the clothing, metal and wooden buttons, are repeatedly found in 3 or for types in most of the individuals.»

MTF «Adults, young but adults, about the ages of 20 and 30 years old, very robust, with indications of having had intense physical activity.»

J «And found almost by mistake during the archeological investigation at the beginning og the construction works in the convent of Saint Francis. In the same place were now an auditorium for the new congress center is being built. Analyzing all the indications, it looks like they are military who died at the beginning of the 19th century during the Peninsula Wars and History seems to agree with it. During the French Invasions, the Gauls injured in the battle of Buçaco were hospitalized in Coimbra. When Massena's troops moved South, they were left behind. What happened next is told in contradictory stories: the population of this Mondego city might have taken the chance of revenge.»

MC «The French side tells that there was a massacre of the soldiers left in the hospitals and that there died about 600 to 800 people. In the English reports around the same time, it is said that there was an exaggeration, that the people were angry and that they reacted only against 6 to 8 people.»

J «If those men, in fact, match the found skeletons, that is still under investigation. Following the findings, the French Embassy has contacted the Town Hall of Coimbra, with recommendations that match the position of the Town Hall.»

João Paulo Barbosa de Melo, Mayor of Coimbra «As soon as the studies are completed, we wish to give the dead decent destination, evidently. Let us not forget that they are 600 people who died fighting for a cause.»

J «Each skeleton has been stored in one of these boxes. The investigation is undergoing using old and new technologies. It will show more about the finding and to shed a light on the doubts around this part of the History of Coimbra.»


bill o'neill said...

Amazing how men killed in action in various parts of the world and buried in common graves are coming to light as society evolves and

Kenton White said...

Has anything more been discovered about these bodies?

Sara Seydak said...

Hi, Kenton!

I haven't researched that further. So, I don't know if anything else has been made public. What I know for a fact is that in Portugal most arquelogical sites are closed up once inventory is made. And I have recently been in Coimbra, the city were the skeletons were found, and there was no word of it.
If you know Portuguese, perhaps you could look up for more info.