Archaeologists head to Waterloo for graves

Archaeologists head to Waterloo for graves

WASHINGTON - Agence France-Presse
Archaeologists head to Waterloo for graves

An 1853 painting ‘Napoleon Crossing the Alps, May 1800’ by French artist Hippolyte Paul Delaroche is seen at the exhibit ‘Waterloo at Windsor: 1815 - 2015.’

An international team of archaeologists specialized in battlefield excavations is headed for Waterloo in Belgium on the 200th anniversary of Napoleon’s famous defeat at the hands of British and Prussian forces.

Tony Pollard, head of the Center for Battlefield Archaeology at the University of Glasgow, said in a statement that the excavations starting in April will allow a better understanding of the confrontation.

“We hope archaeology can provide answers to many of the questions about Waterloo that remain unanswered,” Pollard said on Feb. 9.

“These include the location of graves, which from accounts appear to have been scattered across a wide area,” he added.

Tens of thousands of bodies are believed to have been buried in mass graves at the site after the June 18, 1815, clash which forced Napoleon into exile.

Brianchild of two army officers 

The project, named “Waterloo Uncovered,” is the brainchild of two British army officers from the Coldstream Guards, which played a decisive role in the battle under the Duke of Wellington’s command.

The team of Belgian, British, French and German archaeologists will be accompanied by British army veterans, some of them wounded in recent campaigns.

The excavation will be supervised by Belgian authorities charged with preserving the historic site and the organization that is overseeing preparations for a large-scale commemoration this summer.