Discovery of a mass grave of Napoleonic period in Lithuania (1812, Vilnius)

Michel SIGNOLI, Yann ARDAGNA, Pascal ADALIAN, William DEVRIENDT, Loïc LALYS, Catherine RIGEADE, Thierry VETTE, Albinas KUNCEVICIUS, Justina POSKIENE, Arunas BARKUS, Zydruné PALUBECKAITÉ, Antanas GARMUS, Virgilijus PUGACIAUSKAS, Rimantas Jankauskas & Olivier DUTOUR

en Comptes Rendus Palevol 3 (3) - Pages 219-227

Published on 31 May 2004

A mass grave was discovered in late autumn 2001 in Vilnius, during constructions works. Preliminary observations led to the conclusion that this mass grave contained part of the Great Army of Napoleon I, and had been created during the Retreat from Russia (December, 1812). In March 2002, an extensive excavation was carried out on a first part of the mass grave, in the framework of a Franco-Lithuanian collaboration, completed by a second excavation of another trench in September 2002. The laboratory study of all the skeletal material ended in October 2002. These preliminary results bring new additional data to the historical knowledge of this major event in the European history; this exceptional sample represents the biggest historical mass grave discovered until now.


Biological anthropology, Mass grave, ‘Grande Armée’, Retreat of Russia, Vilnius, Lithuania

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