Waterloo Uncovered Battlefield Excavation

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.



Course Level
ECTS credits
Course location(s)
Waterloo, Belgium


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 a very limited number of 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. 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.

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. After a two year stop because of the pandemic, 2024 will be the eighth field season.

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 needed for anyone with extra requirements. Excavation takes places during the days Monday to Friday and there is a choice of evening and weekend activities, such as battlefield and museum tours, site seeing trips and creative activities included in the programme. Hotel costs and food for all are included in the course fee. Veterans and serving personnel have all fee costs covered by Waterloo Uncovered.

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.

Those following this course are also advised to also follow 'C10 Battlefields Uncovered: introduction to archaeological and historical investigations of conflict' Utrecht summer course, which is a taught flexibly and online from October 2024 to February 2025. 

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

Target audience

This course is looking for participants to work along side our veterans and serving personnel. We primarily aim to recruit undergraduate students wishing to learn about battlefield archaeology or indeed archaeology in general. We prefer it to be everyone's first dig. The course is therefore also be open to students and graduates of other disciplines with an interest in the topics. No previous experience is necessary but an interest in the excavations and the ability to work collaboratively with a diverse group should be demonstrated. Mature students are also welcome. 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

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

A total of 100 hours - 4 ECTS. Course duration 15 days.


  • Course fee: €2500.00
  • Included: Course + course materials + mealplan

Fee covers:

  • Accommodation at hotel van der Valk Nivelles-Sud close to Waterloo is covered

  • Transport from the hotel to the excavation
  • Extra evening activities
  • Transport to and from the hotel and the beginning and end of the course is not included.

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 30 June, and check-out is on the morning after the course finishes, which is Saturday, 13 July. Transport to the excavation is not included. 


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
  • C.V.