Waterloo Uncovered… http://www.waterloouncovered.com/
Historians have relied on first hand accounts that are unreliable and biased; vision often obscured by smoke, mind confused by battle noise, and no common method of timekeeping to record when anything actually happened. To battlefield archaeologists this is one of the great world sites to survey and explore – a Pompeii for military archaeology.
Archaeology can truly transform our understanding of this remarkable event and the human experience of those that fought and died. By discovering what actually lies buried under the ground after 200 years, archaeology can uniquely capture and understand moments in time. Pieced together, and combined with what we already know, these moments can provide a fresh view of the Waterloo story and what it was like to live through the Battle.
Archaeological evidence degrades over time and on a site like Waterloo, which is largely agricultural land, this is certainly the case. The sooner it is recorded the better. Most significantly, there are thought to be the graves of c.20,000 soldiers, which remain unmarked and unknown. Unlike the WW1 battlefields, which are characterised by huge cemeteries, there is no way for visitors to comprehend, nor pay respect to, the huge numbers of men that died in the battle. Waterloo Uncovered aims to address this.
What is Waterloo Uncovered?
Waterloo Uncovered is a ground-breaking archaeology project to explore the battlefield of Waterloo. The brainchild of two soldiers from the Coldstream Guards, a regiment that played a vital role in the battle, the project will be led by Dr Tony Pollard, who heads the Centre for Battlefield Archaeology at Glasgow University, and will include both professional archaeologists from across Europe and wounded veterans from recent campaigns.
The aims of Waterloo Uncovered are twofold:
- To transform our understanding of the Battle through archaeology. We will make all findings publicly available.
- To provide a unique opportunity for veterans to participate in an important dig and support those that are injured in their recovery.
The project will kick-off during 2015, the Waterloo Bicentenary year, with Geo-Physical studies commencing in April and the first excavations taking place in July around the farm of Hougoumont, the defence of which has long been credited as being the key to Wellington’s Allied victory. The project is true collaboration and is supported by a variety of organisations that include the Coldstream Guards, the Belgian authorities (who oversee all archaeological activity on the battlefield), Glasgow University and Project Nightingale (a charity that enables veterans from recent campaigns to take part in battlefield digs). The project is also supported buy Project Hougoumont and Waterloo200.
The project is intended to last for five years and explore key locations of interest on the battlefield.
Learn all about it and more as we approach the 200th anniversary