Virtual Veterans’ and Serving Personnel Programme

Prevented by the pandemic from taking this year’s group of veterans and serving military personnel on the summer battlefield excavation in Belgium, Waterloo Uncovered is launching an ambitious virtual programme to reach out to people with online talks, activities and wellbeing support.

A group of 25 Veterans and Serving Personnel from the UK, the Netherlands and the USA will work through a three-month programme including: a basic introduction to archaeology, new insights into the story of the battle from leading historians, quizzes and educational activities, culminating in a Test Pit challenge where some participants will be excavating in their back gardens! Many of the people taking part in the programme have physical or mental injuries from their service; they will be helped to deal with some of the issues of social isolation with help throughout the programme from Waterloo Uncovered’s specialist Wellbeing and Support Team.

The programme will take place in a secure online environment and much of the content will then be made available to the public via Waterloo Uncovered’s own website.

Upcoming content includes:

  • Our Lockdown Lecture series, in which Archaeological Directors Professor Tony Pollard and Dr Stuart Eve, plus special guests, give a series of online talks about the Battle and the techniques of battlefield archaeology that can be used to reveal the secrets of Waterloo;
  • A series of videos featuring Time Team’s Phil Harding, who describes his passion for the past, which has taken him from the Neolithic to the Napoleonic, and from Time Team to Waterloo;
  • Our brand new series of short films highlighting the major developments of Waterloo Uncovered’s work on the battlefield since 2015, from revelations about the fight in the “Killing Zone” of Hougoumont, to the discovery of human remains at Mont-Saint-Jean Field Hospital;
  • The release of our Impact Report, an easy to read document covering our activities and their impact on our beneficiaries, including in-depth reports on the archaeology and testimonies from veterans and serving military personnel;
  • The launch of our new Visiting Historian’s podcast, featuring interviews from leading historians specialising in Napoleonic History;
  • Our monthly dig diary, now split into two fortnightly posts, to bring you up to date with all the Waterloo Uncovered news you may have missed.

Mark Evans, CEO of Waterloo Uncovered says:

“This is about turning a challenge into an opportunity. Our mission is to help people with Recovery, Wellbeing, Transition to Civilian life, Education and Employment; the programme will enable us to carry on with this work remotely while at the same time helping to bring history to life for a wider audience.”

Mark Evans

Archaeologist Phi Harding, well-known from his appearances on TV’s Time Team, is a leading volunteer with Waterloo Uncovered and had this to say:

“We’re all part of this together. I’m bitterly disappointed that we won’t be going back this year, but do not despair. The archaeology’s not going anywhere! In the meantime, Waterloo Uncovered has put together some great material for participants and for the public, including some of my personal archaeological highlights – from the Neolithic to the Napoleonic!”

Phil Harding