A Franco Belarusse archaeological mission

on the BEREZINA website

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The Berezina mission , whose main partners are the Center for Napoleonic Studies and the Institute of History of the Belarusian Academy of Sciences, is carrying out  land and underwater excavations since 2012 on the site of the passage of the Bérézina by Napoleon in 1812.

Archaeological work  are carried out under the direction  of the Institute of History of the Belarusian Academy of Sciences, with specific authorization from the Ministry  of Belarusian Culture, and in liaison with the French Embassy in Belarus

This research aims to identify any object dating from 1812, but also older objects, in an archaeological process of preserving this site which is unfortunately very exposed to treasure seekers.

Underwater investigations were carried out in September 2019, 2017 and 2015. In 2017 and 2019, they were carried out by archaeologists from the underwater archeology unit of the University of Brussels, led by Christophe Delaere, with the support of divers. volunteers from the Minskois Seapegas club. A report by Gary Grabli produced by the Capa agency retraces the 2017 operation; it was broadcast on TF1 twice (TF1 - Grands Reportages).

The results are published in the journal Etudes Napoléoniennes which can be ordered from the CEN store on this site.

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The BEREZINA archaeological mission aims to collect information from the field that can confirm or correct the deductions drawn from documentary studies and thus establish a better knowledge of the events accompanying the successful passage of the Bérézina by Napoleon. Indeed, uncertainties remain about the location of Napoleon's headquarters, the village of Stoudienka in 1812 and the two bridges built by the pontonniers of General Eblé; very little information is available on the mass graves that received the bodies of fallen soldiers in Bérézina. The circumstances of the end of the crossing after damage to the bridges and under Russian pressure are also poorly understood.

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The documentary bases of research in the field and the first results of the 2012 - 2017 campaigns were published in the journal Etudes Napoléoniennes (1, 2, 3, 4,7, 8, 9); the historical reminder of the passage of the Bérézina can be consulted in two reference works that Fernand Beaucour devoted to it in 2004 and 2006 (5,6).

 

  1. J. BEAUCOUR. «Study of the site of the passage of the Bérézina by the army of Napoleon. The use of satellite images for historical investigations ”, Etudes Napoléoniennes, 2008, EN42, p 215.

  2. I. GROUTSO. "Study of the site of the passage of the Berezina by the Napoleonic troops in Russian documentary sources", Etudes Napoléoniennes, Levallois 2011, EN43, p343

  3. J. BEAUCOUR. “The site of the Battle of Bérézina (November 26-29, 1812): History and archeology”, Napoleon Studies, Levallois 2013, EN 44, p467.

  4. V. KOCHMAN. “First results of archaeological research operations carried out in 2012 on the site of the passage of the Berezina by Napoleon I at Stoudienka”, Etudes Napoléoniennes, Levallois 2013, EN44, p485.

  5. F BEAUCOUR et al.  "Napoleon at the Berezina  26-29 November 1812 ”, edition of the Center d'Etudes Napoléoniennes, Levallois, 2004.

  6. F BEAUCOUR, J TABEUR, LIVTCHENKO. “La Bérézina, a military victory”, preface by Jean Tulard, ECONOMICA editions, 2006.

  7. J. BEAUCOUR. "Results of the 2012-2015 excavation missions: bivouacs of the Imperial Guard and Napoleonic bridges", Etudes Napoléoniennes, Levallois 2016, EN 45-1, p675.

  8. J. BEAUCOUR, S. BYL, B DEBRAND. “Main results of the 2019 excavation campaign of the Bérézina mission”, Etudes Napoléoniennes, Levallois 2020, EN 47, p51.V.

  9. V. KOCHMAN. “Tumulus fields near the village of Stoudienka: historical information, location, materials”, Etudes Napoléoniennes, Levallois 2020, EN47, p109.