Here’s what historians tell Belgian broadcaster RTBF. This discovery explains why no human remains were found at the site of this massive battle that killed more than 50,000 soldiers.
For many years, researchers have wondered where Napoleon’s men and his fallen opponents went after the legendary battle of 1815.
Broken bones are like manure
Previous research has shown that locals know what to do with the remains of soldiers. The nearby fields would have been fertilized with their shattered bones.
But many other bones, not just from dead horses, ended up in drunkenness, according to a team of historians.
What about that? Sugar beets were on the rise at the beginning of the 19th century and new sugar mills needed so-called bone charcoal to make white sugar from the sticky and dirty medium.
The people of the countryside in the vicinity of the factory could earn a lot by digging and selling the skeletons of soldiers. Researchers have found many traces of horrific harvesting in the archives.
Even a nearby mayor would have asked the police to intervene at the time. Whether this occurred is unclear. It is also unknown how many human remains ended up in the sugar factory.
The sugar factory in Tenen, Belgium, about 60 kilometers from Waterloo, does not process the bones into sugar. The factory tweeted this day with a wink of reassurance.
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