Scientists have found that eating the soldiers of Napoleon, retreating from Moscow
Analysis of the remains of soldiers of the army of Napoleon Bonaparte, extracted from a mass grave in Vilnius, showed what fed the soldiers during the Russian campaign. The results of the study were published in the journal Physical Anthropology.
In their paper, the researchers used a technique called isotopic analysis. Depending on the human diet, the isotopic composition of its bones will vary — prevalence of and lack of certain foods leads to a different ratio of certain isotopes. In this case, the researchers analyzed isotopes of carbon and nitrogen. The results of the analysis showed that the soldiers were fed with maize, sorghum, millet and similar grains. It is typical for residents of Poland and Italy. Found in the tomb of the buttons Polish and Italian uniforms confirmed the speculation.
Also buried used different amounts of animal protein — some of them, including three women, not experienced in this drawback. This suggests that they were high-ranking officers and their families. A limited number of protein probably received regular soldiers, conscripts.
Interestingly, in comparison with armed forces of other countries (for example, members of the Royal Navy buried in the cemetery in Gosport), differences in the diet of the French army was much higher. As a greater number of similar studies scientists hope to find out how diverse were the rations of the armies of other countries, including than during the war with Napoleon ate Russian soldiers.