The Last Dig Diary of 2018

It has been wonderful to be on site and to be part of this amazing community. Who knew that such a diverse group of strangers could become so close in only two (intense) weeks? Thank you for reading, following, liking and sharing us!


The Chestnut Deception

Did we find out what caused the geophysical anomalies? Yes. Was it related to Napoleon? Well… No. Archaeologist Stuart Eve and other members of our team did some great research in the area around the chestnut trees on Thursday. They found a piece of bone – which caused quite some excitement. After consulting some experts, however, it became clear that the piece of bone belonged to… a cow. The cow likely carried a contagious disease, and was burnt to prevent it from spreading. This became clearer when we found residues of quicklime, which was likely poured over the carcasses after burning them. The anomalies, shaped like dark circles, are probably the leftovers of burnt ground. This is the most disappointing barbecue ever.

The Builders’ Secret

As we have written before, we found lots of modern rubble in the trenches near the Northern Gate. Most of it consisted of building materials, which are probably leftovers of the renovation of Château d’Hougoumont. The good news is: we have been able to uncover  significant remains of the  barn burned down in the battle, and now know its length and width. The bad news is: during the renovations, the digger that was used was not as careful as ours – the modern builders dug through and destroyed parts of the brickwork. Despite this, there were still some interesting finds, such as an 18th century coin. Next year, trenches will be expanded, possibly uncovering a buttress. In a way, you could say that the barn was destroyed twice!

The Beautiful Sandpit

Our team member -archaeologist Sam Wilson –  got a lot of attention on Thursday after posting a picture of the beautifully-coloured layers of ground in this new trench. Although it was only a preliminary search for signs of the fighting or of burials, Sam told us that it gave us some “inconclusive but encouraging evidence”. The same goes for the Inniskilling Square in the cornfields (described more broadly in Wednesday’s Dig Diary: Our team reckon that in order to find evidence of the firefight that went on in this location, we would have to dig deeper. It would be even better to excavate the entire field. Unfortunately, neither of these options are available to us at the moment:, we archaeologists have to keep in mind that farmers would like to use these fields as well!

To our team: thank you so much for a wonderful dig! We hope to see many of you again next year.

We really hope that you have been enjoying keeping up with this year’s dig. We are closing the trenches today, but this is not the end! More articles will be posted throughout the year, and we encourage you to sign up to be part of our future team.

Yours, the Waterloo Uncovered Communications team.

Mike Greenwood

Amée Zoutberg

Annick Wijnstra