Waterloo Uncovered Battlefield Excavation

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A unique chance to access one of history's greatest battlefields at Waterloo and to work with a world-leading team of archaeologists and historians. Experience first-hand what it's like to uncover the past and to interpret those finds with the guidance of leading experts. This entry-level course requires no previous archaeological experience and is open to registered university students and to serving and former military personnel.

This course offers a rare opportunity to participate in groundbreaking archaeological research together with the team of Waterloo Uncovered. Waterloo Uncovered is a charity and a research project which combines world-class archaeological investigation with veteran care and recovery. The battle of Waterloo comes to life under your own trowel. Participants have exclusive access to this astonishingly well-preserved battlefield and the chance to learn both widely used and cutting edge field techniques alongside leading experts in battlefield archaeology.

Waterloo Uncovered’s charitable role is to support military veterans who are recovering from trauma or injury or are simply looking for a new career direction. The interaction between veterans and civilians, including students is at the heart of Waterloo Uncovered ethos. The team is international, with members from all the countries that took part in the Battle of Waterloo and more, and participants vary widely in age and in their physical and mental health.

On this residential two week excavation, participants learn as much about each other as they do about the past. Students have been working alongside veterans on the excavation since 2015, a formula that has worked extremely well. 2021 will be the sixth field season and we will be exploring completely new areas of the battlefield. In keeping with the spirit of collaboration the summer school is open to both students and former and serving military personnel with an interest in battlefield archaeology.

Participants will be accommodated together with the Waterloo Uncovered team in a hotel close to the battlefield with good quality food and the full range of facilities for anyone with extra requirements. Excavation takes places during the day Monday to Friday and there is a choice of evening and weekend activities, such as battlefield and museum tours and site seeing trips included in the program.

Participants will be assessed on the basis of their progress towards meeting the four aims of the course (see below). They should demonstrate learning a wide range of field skills, from excavation techniques to finds analysis and surveying. They will record this in two ways. Firstly in the widely accepted BAJR archaeological skills passport. Secondly, participants create either a written or digital reflection diary, blog or vlog or a written or digital record of their learning.

This course is linked to but is not a pre-requisite for the courses "Battlefields Uncovered: introduction to archaeological and historical investigations of conflict" Utrecht summer course, which is a taught flexibly and online from September to December 2021 and "Battlefields Uncovered 2: developing and demonstrating understanding of places of past conflict", which is also an online course running between January and March 2022.

To protect the integrity of the excavation, project places are limited and the Waterloo Uncovered team reserves the right to select participants carefully to ensure social harmony on this project.

We are confident that we have a Covid-19 safe plan of which details will be available. However, circumstances can change very quickly in ways beyond our control and we thus endeavour to keep applicants fully informed of changes to our plans for the course where necessary.

Course director
Dr. Floris van den Eijnde


The team from Waterloo Uncovered

Target audience

This course is aimed primarily at undergraduate students and serving and former military personnel wishing to learn about battlefield archaeology or indeed archaeology in general. Battlefields serve as an example of how archaeological techniques can be used to access the events of a single day and to demonstrate the interaction between the historical and the archaeological record. No previous experience is necessary but an interest in the excavations and the ability to work collaboratively with a diverse group should be demonstrated. The course would also be open to graduates of other disciplines with an interest in the topics. Because some participants on the excavation may be vulnerable, Waterloo Uncovered will interview participants and be selective about admissions.

Aim of the course

By the end of the course participants have:

  • Gained practical skills in a range of archaeological field techniques;
  • Developed their historical knowledge of the battle of Waterloo;
  • Developed their understanding of the interaction between historical and archaeological evidence;
  • Experienced working practically with others from  very diverse international and social backgrounds;
  • Experienced collaborative learning in groups with a range of ages and life experiences, civilian and military backgrounds and varying physical and mental health needs.

Study load

70 hours collaborative fieldwork on the excavation, 14 hours extension activities and trips and 14 hours independent work.

A total of 90 hours - 3.5 ECTS. Course duration 15 days.


Course fee:
Fee covers
Course + course materials + mealplan
Housing provider:
A third party

Additional information

The cost of the course includes accommodation at hotel van der Valk Nivelles-Sud, all food and evening and weekend activities. Accommodation is from the night of Sunday, July 4th and check-out is on the morning after the course finishes, Saturday, July 17th. Transport to the excavation is not included. 


Extra application information

Please do not forget to upload your motivation letter and C.V. and we will get back to you about the application process which will involve a short interview online some additional application forms for safety and insurance reasons. 

For this course you are required to upload the following documents when applying:

Motivation Letter

More information


Application deadline: 
Registration deadline
31 March 2021