Human skeletons found in the Pilar’s historic cemetery, in the Bairro do Recife neighborhood, were quite possibly soldiers of the East India Company which financed the Dutch occupation of Brazil’s Northeast from 1630 to 1654. Young, male Europeans mainly died of disease and not due to being wounded in war.
Without a doubt it’s a cemetery of Europeans, from different nationalities. The initial hypothesis, now discarded, was that it was an exclusively Jewish cemetery. The East India Company army was made up of Germans, Dutch, French, Italians, Belgians and Jews from the Iberian Penninsula and the north of Europe.
Recife’s old São Jorge Fort, which was located near the Pilar church, was used as a hospital for wounded soldiers, which could explain the reason for the nearby cemetery.
The skeletons were found in January 2013 during an ubanization project in Pilar but the discovery process was put on halt. While the government chooses a company to continue the excavation, archeologist Ilana Elisa Chaves, who recently defended her thesis (“Arqueologia da doença no cemitério histórico do Pilar”) on the study, says the cemitery could very well be larger than previously thought.
Source (PT, more pics)