The last friday, Belgian archaeologists discovered the remains of a soldier who died during the Battle of Waterloo on June 18, 1815. The soldier was buried just 15 centimeters from the ground and the position of the skeleton suggests that he was covered with dirt by his companions at the place where he fell. This is something very rare, as the victorious armies the bodies of their dead were removed and the French were buried in mass graves. It is the first time in a century that human remains have been found on a battlefield in Belgium.
The body of the soldier found last Friday I was buried in the shadow of the Lion hill but unfortunately, his skull was destroyed by the mechanical excavators that were preparing the area for the improvement and expansion works of the visitor center. The Ministry of Archeology of the Walloon Brabant region took over the find and excavated the rest of the skeleton, finding it almost complete. The only thing missing is the skull, a foot and some bones of the hand.
Archaeologists have found a stone, a red sphere and several coins in the soldier's pocket. One of them was a franc from mid-1811, but the others are too corroded to identify.. Although his uniform is in poor condition, investigators are hopeful that they can identify the downed combatant. Initial analysis of the bones indicates that he was in his 20s, 154 centimeters tall, and had abrasion grooves on his molars, suggesting that he broke powder containers with his teeth.
One particularly curious artifact is a musket ball found inside the soldier's rib cage.. It is believed that he was shot in the chest, for which he had to leave the front line. The location of the body is 100 meters behind the British line, near the infirmary. It is highly unlikely that a French soldier would have fallen into this position, so the soldier was probably British.
The English cleaned the corpses of their soldiers from the battlefield and they buried them in consecrated ground. This fact leads archaeologists to believe that this man may have been overlooked because he was buried by his companions.
Waterloo was part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in 1815. Therefore, they created the Lion hill to commemorate the place where the Prince of Orange, heir to the Dutch throne, was struck on the shoulder by a rifle bullet during the battle.
Images: The History Blog
Passionate about History, he has a degree in Journalism and Audiovisual Communication. Since he was little he loved History and ended up exploring the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries above all.