Summer excavations 2016, 2017
Euan is currently a PhD Student at the University of Glasgow, focusing on Conflict History and Archaeology. During his Undergraduate and Masters Degrees, Tony Pollard was his supervisor and told him about the Waterloo Uncovered project.
For Euan, there were many reasons to take part: “The chance to work with Archaeologists at the top of their field utilising the latest techniques is a real opportunity to learn practical knowledge. However, the chance to meet and work with veterans is also great life experience as I don’t normally meet them in my usual ‘ivory tower’ of academia. Finally, I was raised on stories of my ancestors at Waterloo, so the chance to work on the site, with the artefacts from the battle, is like a childhood dream come true.”
On site, Euan has been working with Hillery in the Finds Office, assisting in the cleaning, cataloguing, storage and analysis of all the artefacts recovered from the excavation. “This is great fun because you get to see everything that comes in, but it’s also a lot of responsibility because once these objects are out of the ground, it is important to make sure they are preserved and recorded for other people to see and learn from. My favourite types of finds are definitely coins, because they can tell you so much, like where they were made, when they were made, how much they were worth and a lot about the culture that made them. After spending several weeks in a room with Emile, I am also becoming quite interested in musketballs and beginning to understand how to interpret them.”
“During my time with Waterloo Uncovered, I learned a great deal about the battle of Waterloo and the archaeological remains of that period, but also a lot about how to take care of archaeological finds. A lot of what I do on the project has direct relevance to my studies at the University of Glasgow, so there is a lot of crossover. Perhaps more importantly, I learned a lot about ex-servicemen and women and what their lives are like, which I think is very important.
WU really fosters a great team atmosphere, so the most enjoyable part of the trip is perhaps getting the chance to sit and chat to people while waiting for briefings or working on finds etc. It’s great to be able to catch up with friends from previous excavations, as well as meet new people with new ideas and opinions. I have made a lot of new friends on the project, who I speak to and see regularly outside of the Waterloo Digs.
Since the 2017 Dig, I have been working on my PhD in the University of Glasgow Archives, which focuses on the culture and community of combat battalions in WW1. The chance to spend time with veterans at WU has really improved my ability to interpret and understand the culture of soldiers who lived a century ago.”