Waterloo excavation unearths ammunition and amputated limbs

Waterloo excavation unearths ammunition and amputated limbs

Archaeologists have unearthed amputated limbs, musket balls and a French cannon ball during the first excavation of the main allied field hospital used in the 1815 Battle of Waterloo.

It is believed that the limbs were amputated by medics at the former Mont-St-Jean field hospital in present day Belgium.

The discovery of used ammunition indicates that there was a previously unrecorded fight on the site of the hospital.

Waterloo marked the end of the Napoleonic Wars, with the French forces defeated after both sides suffered tens of thousands of casualties.

Waterloo Uncovered, the charity that organised the dig, said the discovery of at least four leg bones changed the atmosphere of the excavation.

“Suddenly there is a very poignant connection with the people who suffered here in 1815,” the charity said in a statement.

The remains are set to undergo further examination, but preliminary inspections have revealed one soldier had suffered from a “catastrophic wound” while another showed marks from a surgeon’s saw.

“We’d like to think the men survived, but we don’t know,” said team member Mike Greenwood.

He added that military veterans who had joined the dig were fascinated by the discoveries and helped them come to terms with their own experiences.

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