Bones discovered in Waterloo two centuries after the battle

ARCHEOLOGY – A mission led by British researchers has unearthed new human skeletons at the site of the Napoleonic battle in Belgium. A discovery described as “incredibly rare” more than two centuries later.

Historians estimate that more than 20,000 soldiers were killed at Waterloo on June 18, 1815 alone, 20 km south of Brussels, when the mainly Anglo-Dutch Allied forces under the command of the Duke of Wellington pushed back Napoleonic battalions. This is one of the worst armed confrontations in history, ending Bonaparte’s dreams of a great empire. Tens of thousands were also injured.

An archaeological mission led by British researchers has unearthed new human bones at the site of the Battle of Waterloo, Belgium, a discovery described as “incredibly rare” more than two centuries later.

The discovery of new bones was made around the farm of Mont Saint-Jean, where English Wellington had established the main field hospital of the Allies at the time.

“We have found what appears to be a complete human skeleton. And an amputated leg. We don’t know if the body was brought around here or if it was an injured person who died in hospital.” said Tony Pollard, a professor at the University of Glasgow, one of the mission’s directors.

“On the Napoleonic battlefields, these very old traces are incredibly rare. It is the first time that we have to deal with a large well.”the archaeologist added.

This excavation project, which unites the administration of the Walloon Region with the charity Waterloo Uncovered – which brings together archaeologists, archeology students, soldiers and veterans – was launched in 2015 on the occasion of the bicentenary of the battle.

As early as 2019, the remains of three amputated legs had been discovered at the site. The search campaign was subsequently interrupted due to the corona crisis. It would be repeated every year for two weeks in Waterloo, according to news agency Belga.

Eva Collignon, Belgian archaeologist associated with the mission, explained that the bones found were likely collected “in the rain” in a ditch near the field hospital, that’s how high the number of victims was.


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