Remains of fifty World War I soldiers excavated

Archaeological excavations have uncovered the remains of fifty World War I soldiers--Latvian soldiers of that time are often referred to as the Latvian Riflemen--at Ložmetējkalns, a historical battle site where thousands of Latvian soldiers fought the German army under Tsarist Russia, reported LTV on July 9.

Volunteers and history enthusiasts excavated several locations near Ložmetējkalns in June. Ložmetējkalns was a fortification during the Christmas Battles during the first world war where Latvian soldiers, referred to as Latvian Riflemen, fought bravely against the invading German army.

The Riflemen were the first Latvian military units with Latvian commanders ever formed and played a key role in establishing the Latvian national consciousness. 

In total, the remains of fifty people were excavated and Tālis Ešmits, a member of the Leģenda association, confirmed many of them were Latvian Riflemen.

"We can say with certainty that these are Latvian Riflemen. But we don't know whether they all are. Part of these soldiers had Latvian Riflemen insignia ... they were probably buried after the battle when the German side had returned. This is corroborated by the fact that the soldiers had been buried alongside unexploded bombs," said Ešmits.

It is hoped that at least one of the soldiers will be identified as he had a bravery medal featuring an ID number.

Ešmits said they are planning to contact the Russian Defense Ministry Archives to find out the soldier's name. 

More than 40 volunteers from eight countries partook in the excavation works. 

The remains will be moved to the Brāļi Cemetery near Ložmetējkalns for reburial. Last year enthusiasts uncovered the remains of two hundred World War I soldiers including Latvian Riflemen. 

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