Finds Programme

Finds Programme 2021-22

The Finds Team, Hillery and Euan, reviewing new finds. Photo by Chris van Houts.

Over the past five years on our battlefield dig, and through the ‘virtual’ programme devised for lockdown in 2020, we have had great success in supporting VSMP with a range of activities. Finds, discovering them, cataloguing them, preserving them and sharing them is important for the Charity, but also a unique activity that our Veterans can be a part of. With our new Finds Programme, funded by the Armed Forces Covenant Fund Trust – Positive Pathways Programme, WU will provide training for veterans to develop an archaeology handling collection that they will use to teach other veterans about the benefits of archaeology for mental wellbeing, to present an opportunity for discussion of difficult topics such as death, loss, injury and trauma, and to create a lasting connection to heritage.

This programme will be based on building physical & digital assemblages over the period of a year – providing participants with an opportunity to re-engage with the military community and to explore the historical context of the Battle of Waterloo in ways which may resonate with their own military experience. WU’s professional and experienced Wellbeing & Support team will be with them every step of the way.

Waterloo Uncovered taught me so much about myself and about what career I wanted. It showed me the way ahead. It showed me a passion I enjoyed and wanted to develop. It inspired me to learn more and to take the next step, it improved my happiness, my ambition, my zest for life – it changed me for the better in so many ways.

Alastair, 2019 participant

Programme Format

Veteran Liam and Finds Officer Hillery cleaning musket balls. Photo by Chris van Houts.

WU’s Programme is a collaboration between Wellbeing and Support specialists, archaeologists and museum curators. It has been designed to ensure a clear educational and goal setting structure that offers the best possible experience for the participants, with the overarching aim of improving their wellbeing.

Run in the second half of 2021, the programme will offer a blended learning experience. Interviews will take place in March 2021 and following successful completion of the application & selection phases, veterans & serving military personnel will be offered a place to take part. The programme will kick off with an inspirational talk from a top curator (hosted by the National Army Museum), followed by specialist virtual workshops covering finds handling and thematic understanding with a view to building a collection – these will be interspersed by in person sessions at our partner archaeology firm L-P Archaeology, based in Bishops Stortford, Hertfordshire, with follow up sessions and a reunion style showcase at the National Army Museum to finish the programme in January 2022. It is intended to run this programme again in 2022 with a new selection of participants.

Veterans handling finds at Mont-Saint-Jean. Photo by Chris van Houts.