The corpse is believed to belong to an army captain who was part of the forces that captured Ottoman territory in the 1877-78 Russo-Ottoman war.

The body was in a coffin decorated with the Russian Orthodox cross in the Karagol neighborhood of Ardahan province, which fell to Russian troops in May 1877.

“Probably [the body belongs to] a soldier who served during the Russian occupation in Kars and Ardahan after the Ottoman-Russian war in 1877-1878,” Necmettin Alp, the director of Kars Museum, told Anadolu Agency.

The soldier’s body, still clad in the remains of a military uniform and boots, was discovered on Tuesday evening and reported to police by locals carrying out building work.

Alp described it as the body of a “Russian captain who worked in a Russian garrison in Ardahan.”

He added: “There are three stars and the number 20 is written on his uniform. Probably this figure is his service number.”

The body and coffin was taken to the Kars Museum.

Unver Solaklioglu, an archaeologist at the museum, said: “The Russian soldier was found buried in according to the Christian religion. There are no valuable objects in the grave, only the Russian soldier’s skeleton and dress.”

The 1877-78 war saw the Ottoman Empire lose territory to Russia in the Caucasus while other Orthodox Christian nations secured independence in the Balkans.