Other archaeology at Waterloo


Given its high profile and good state of preservation it is perhaps surprising that relatively little archaeology has been carried out on the Waterloo battlefield. However, previous endeavours include:

1985 — Hougoumont Farm (Derek Saunders)

Waterloo enthusiast Derek Saunders excavated the draw well at Hougoumont Farm having read Victor Hugo’s account of 300 dead being thrown down it to save burying them after the battle. Instead of bodies he found a few animal bones and a number of other small finds. A good example of how archaeology can be used to ground‐truth the written record.

2012 — 200m behind the Allied battle‐line (Service Public de Wallonie)

Whilst developing the car park for the new Waterloo museum Belgian archaeologists found the skeleton of a soldier at a location occupied by the King’s German Legion. With a French musket ball lodged in his ribs it is supposed he died from a fatal shot to his chest. More information can be found at: http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/06/15/us-waterloo-skeleton-idUSBRE85E0IZ20120615

2014 — La Haye Sainte (Dept. of Soil Management, Ghent University)

The team specialise in mobile non‐invasive techniques for soil inventory, including detailed archaeological prospections over larger areas, and are probably best known for their work on the Stonehenge environs project. In 2014, a survey was carried out over an area of 10 ha next to the farm of La Haye Sainte, using an electromagnetic induction sensor. The results of this work at one of Wellington’s key strong points will form an important part of the future work of Waterloo Uncovered. More information can be found at: www.orbit.ugent.be.

2014/2015 — Hougoumont Farm (Tim Sutherland)

Archaeologist Tim Sutherland and filmmaker Jeremy Freeston conducted geophysical work around Hougoumont Farm. They used a variety of techniques, including fluxgate gradiometer and ground penetrating RADAR (GPR). Their results can be found at: http://tls509.wix.com/archaeologyawaterloo.