BACCHUS2 in situ isothermal wetting experiment has been analysed by means of a coupled flow-deformation approach. Backfill material, a mixture of Boom clay powder and high density pellets, has been extensively tested in the laboratory in order to determine its hydraulic and mechanical properties. Parameters of constitutive equations were derived from this experimental data base. Two mechanical constitutive models have been used in the simulation of the 'in situ' experiment: a state surface approach and an elastoplastic model. Calculations have shown several features of the hydration process which help to understand the behaviour of expansive clay barriers. Predictions using both models have been compared with each other and with actual measurement records. This has allowed a discussion of the comparative mertis of both approaches and the identiÞcation of some critical parameters of backfill behaviour. Overall agreement between calculations and field measurements is encouraging and shows the potential of the methods developed to model the behaviour of engineered clay barriers in the context of nuclear waste disposal.