Waterloo Uncovered

Exrivofrigido

Old-Salt
For those that follow such things, this has been going rather well this year: Soldier archaeologists unearth musket balls and amputated leg bones at Battle of Waterloo field hospital site

This is the fifth year that excavations have run, and the first year in which the focus has moved away from Hougoumont. All looks pretty exciting, and more details available here: Home - Waterloo Uncovered and on the facebook page.

Not the only military archaeology project (see the estimable Op NIGHTINGALE, for instance), but focused specifically on this battle and includes a sizeable multinational contingent, though a UK-based charity. The archaeology team is first class, and both serving personnel and veterans are involved.

Not selling anything, though I do have some peripheral involvement in this: just thought it might be of interest. I'd be amused to know if any other arrsers are involved - we may have met!
 
Apropos to nothing and without looking it up, I'm positive that the farm, La Haye Sainte couldn't have been defended by Prussian troops during the day as they only arrived on the field in the early evening. I think it was King's German Legion who were disaffected Hanoverians. Interesting article though.
 
Apropos to nothing and without looking it up, I'm positive that the farm, La Haye Sainte couldn't have been defended by Prussian troops during the day as they only arrived on the field in the early evening. I think it was King's German Legion who were disaffected Hanoverians. Interesting article though.
KGL at La Haye Sainte, and Hanoverians and Nassauers along with the light companies of the Guards at Hougoumont. It was great to get up to Waterloo on Saturday to see WU in action, although strange that the open day was at Hougoumont when most of the work, as stated by the OP, is going on at Mont St.Jean farmhouse.
 

Exrivofrigido

Old-Salt
Apropos to nothing and without looking it up, I'm positive that the farm, La Haye Sainte couldn't have been defended by Prussian troops during the day as they only arrived on the field in the early evening. I think it was King's German Legion who were disaffected Hanoverians. Interesting article though.
It wasn't - I believe the Prussian bit was a typo in one of the dig diaries that then made it into a couple of reports. Corrected, but not before journalists had written their pieces!
 

Exrivofrigido

Old-Salt
KGL at La Haye Sainte, and Hanoverians and Nassauers along with the light companies of the Guards at Hougoumont. It was great to get up to Waterloo on Saturday to see WU in action, although strange that the open day was at Hougoumont when most of the work, as stated by the OP, is going on at Mont St.Jean farmhouse.
It was at Hougoumont for several reasons, chief amongst which is that MSJ is a building site and actually quite difficult for public access at the moment (at least to the trenches), while Hougoumont is on the tour of the battlefield itself (which is useful if you want casual visitors to turn up as well as hardened enthusiasts). Hougoumont is also run by the management company, who are keen to use archaeology to help to tell the story, and it offers real estate that MSJ doesn't for reenactors etc. From a visual perspective, it also has the most public-friendly archaeology going on this week: a very satisfying trench under the careful supervision of Phil Harding that shows a complex fill of collapsed brickwork, slate and burnt debris just inside the North gate. It's from there that the project has had a Coldstream button and several Scots Guards ones this week.
 
Someone i know posted this this morning on faceache

Did you ever get billed for those buttons JB, or did you claim some Frenchie nicked them and ran away?

Seriously though a fascinating website and what a great job to be involved in. Let's hope a few more pieces of the jigsaw can be put in place.
 
Did you ever get billed for those buttons JB, or did you claim some Frenchie nicked them and ran away?

Seriously though a fascinating website and what a great job to be involved in. Let's hope a few more pieces of the jigsaw can be put in place.
It is very good and full of some great stuff
 
It was at Hougoumont for several reasons, chief amongst which is that MSJ is a building site and actually quite difficult for public access at the moment (at least to the trenches), while Hougoumont is on the tour of the battlefield itself (which is useful if you want casual visitors to turn up as well as hardened enthusiasts). Hougoumont is also run by the management company, who are keen to use archaeology to help to tell the story, and it offers real estate that MSJ doesn't for reenactors etc. From a visual perspective, it also has the most public-friendly archaeology going on this week: a very satisfying trench under the careful supervision of Phil Harding that shows a complex fill of collapsed brickwork, slate and burnt debris just inside the North gate. It's from there that the project has had a Coldstream button and several Scots Guards ones this week.
Yep, got to see a Phil Harding in its natural environment; in a trench with a trowel!
 
Would be curious to know how to link up with Op NIGHTINGALE as they had connections with H4H up till a couple of years ago then it seemed to go quiet.
Hasn't the latest did re written history a bit, in that the field hospital was under fire and very much in contact from the presence of shot in its vicinity. That aside a fantastic project.
 
Hasn't the latest did re written history a bit, in that the field hospital was under fire and very much in contact from the presence of shot in its vicinity. That aside a fantastic project.
Assuming you mean whether the latest dig has rewritten history, then no, it's been documented for quite a few years that the farm at MSJ was the final impact zone for spent French cannonballs.
 
Assuming you mean whether the latest dig has rewritten history, then no, it's been documented for quite a few years that the farm at MSJ was the final impact zone for spent French cannonballs.
Thanks very helpful. My take was the hospital area was in close proximity to the fighting as opposed to being at the end of the trajectory for spent ordnance.
 

Exrivofrigido

Old-Salt
Assuming you mean whether the latest dig has rewritten history, then no, it's been documented for quite a few years that the farm at MSJ was the final impact zone for spent French cannonballs.
Indeed - something that perhaps is less well communicated on the battlefield itself, but certainly not a surprise, even to anyone who understands the laws of physics, let alone can read! I think the quantity of musket balls is very interesting though: that implies rather more close (ish) quarter fighting than I expected, at least that far down the slope - presumably the penetration of French cavalry.
 

Exrivofrigido

Old-Salt
Would be curious to know how to link up with Op NIGHTINGALE as they had connections with H4H up till a couple of years ago then it seemed to go quiet.
Hasn't the latest did re written history a bit, in that the field hospital was under fire and very much in contact from the presence of shot in its vicinity. That aside a fantastic project.
WU has connections with H4H and a few other of the 'major' service charities: aside from funding, they often signpost participants and have assisted with all sorts of other areas. If you want to get in touch with Op N, look at the Defence Archaeology Group website. They have a fb page too - still going strong, and doing some cracking archaeology on the Defence estate this summer.
 

Exrivofrigido

Old-Salt
Thanks very helpful. My take was the hospital area was in close proximity to the fighting as opposed to being at the end of the trajectory for spent ordnance.
Precisely - I think that's the surprise, at least for me. Thing is, with Waterloo, once you poke the nest by putting forth an opinion (and I mean no dig, if you'll pardon the pun, at anyone here), then the real experts come along to tell you you're wrong, with evidence. Actually really helpful, and something about which a lot of people are very passionate, so there is a degree of pain assisted learning - we look at the archaeology, voice an opinion / hypothesis, and are then led by the nose to something we should have read in the first place! But that's the great thing about archaeology - tangible evidence that brings to life (or confounds) the written evidence.
 
I've only just found this thread, fascinating! Years of watching Phil Harding on Time Team, which hasn't been made for a few years, has relight my fascination in Archaeology. The mighty Harding hasn't aged one bit, he don't look a day older.
Recently we found this Gentleman in a Lowestoft cemetery.
IMG_0529.JPG

We've done some research, it seems he fought in 6 battles in the Pennisular War and Waterloo.
 

Handlebarbleep

Old-Salt
Precisely - I think that's the surprise, at least for me. Thing is, with Waterloo, once you poke the nest by putting forth an opinion (and I mean no dig, if you'll pardon the pun, at anyone here), then the real experts come along to tell you you're wrong, with evidence. Actually really helpful, and something about which a lot of people are very passionate, so there is a degree of pain assisted learning - we look at the archaeology, voice an opinion / hypothesis, and are then led by the nose to something we should have read in the first place! But that's the great thing about archaeology - tangible evidence that brings to life (or confounds) the written evidence.
I bought my first ‘Waterloo’ book when I was 10. I’d go with my mate Paul to the Nottingham Model Soldier Shop (Long since gone) where every week we would buy a Hinchliffe lead figure, paint it to match our Humbrol Authenticard and then admire it before repeating the process with the next week’s pocket money.

We were hardly the lady who ran it’s best customers, but she indulged us. She had a musket and a pistol ball from the battlefield for sale, and every week she would let us hold them. We could never buy them though, they were nearly £5, an unheard of sum to us!

Who knew that 44 years later, I’m still smuggling a YAWB (Yet Another Waterloo Book) into the house. I must be on well into my second thousand Napoleonic books by now, but I’ve still got that first one. It’s like Trigger’s broom now, on it’s second spine and third set of covers, it’s the one that accompanied the Dino De Laurentiis film by Ugo Pericoli.

More power to these guy’s elbows.


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I bought my first ‘Waterloo’ book when I was 10. I’d go with my mate Paul to the Nottingham Model Soldier Shop (Long since gone) where every week we would buy a Hinchliffe lead figure, paint it to match our Humbrol Authenticard and then admire it before repeating the process with the next week’s pocket money.

We were hardly the lady who ran it’s best customers, but she indulged us. She had a musket and a pistol ball from the battlefield for sale, and every week she would let us hold them. We could never buy them though, they were nearly £5, an unheard of sum to us!

Who knew that 44 years later, I’m still smuggling a YAWB (Yet Another Waterloo Book) into the house. I must be on well into my second thousand Napoleonic books by now, but I’ve still got that first one. It’s like Trigger’s broom now, on it’s second spine and third set of covers, it’s the one that accompanied the Dino De Laurentiis film by Ugo Pericoli.

More power to these guy’s elbows.


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My first, at a similar age, was Mercer's 'Journal of the Waterloo Campaign kept throughout the campaign of 1815', setting off a life-long fascination with the Napoleonic Wars, and an interest in wargaming. I think I still have a few Hinchcliffe 25mm guns floating around (far superior to Minifigs stuff). Every time I pass the commemorative stone to G Troop RHA on Mont St.Jean ridge, I dips me lid to him.
 
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Handlebarbleep

Old-Salt
My first, at a similar age, was Mercer's 'Journal of the Waterloo Campaign kept throughout the campaign of 1815', setting off a life-long fascination with the Napoleonic Wars, and an interest in wargaming. I think I still have a few Hinchcliffe 25mm guns floating around (far superior to Minifigs stuff). Every time I pass the commemorative stone to G Troop RHA on Mont St.Jean ridge, I dips me lid to him.
I confess to being a bit of a Mercer hero-worshipper in my youth too. It primed me for the ‘old soldier’ stories all my career, and on here I suppose. Do you have the booklet of letters he exchanged with Leathes? It gives an insight into the disgruntled veteran, and I suspect would be uncomfortably close to home for some of us!


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