Human remains unearthed in first-ever excavations of Waterloo battlegrounds
Friday, 19 July 2019
A British charity is leading the first-ever archaeological searches of a Battle of Waterloo site. Credit: Waterloo Uncovered/Facebook
Amputated limbs and an unexploded mortar grenade were found during explorations of a former field hospital of the Battle of Waterloo, a discovery deemed “historical” by those leading the first-ever archaeological excavations of the site.
At least three amputated legs have been found during the excavations, one of which appeared to have traces of a surgeon’s saw, according to De Standaard.
The archaeological searches are the first to be conducted on the site of the Ferme de Mont-Saint-Jean, which was a field hospital at the heart of the 1815 battle where an estimated 6,000 British soldiers were cared for.
“Excavations have never been performed on this site,” Professor Tony Pollard, who leads the searches said, according to the outlet. “As an archaeologist, this is a historical moment.”
On Thursday, Belgium’s explosives unit DOVO had to be called on site after the excavations uncovered an unexploded mortar grenade, which was blasted by the unit.
Ongoing since the start of July, the excavation has also uncovered dozens of musket balls, in an initiative organised by a British charity called Waterloo Uncovered, which aims to help military veterans cope with memories of war.
“This is an important discovery,” the owner of the site, now a farm, said. “When we bought the Mont-St-Jean farm in 2013, we were aware of its historical importance.”