A team of injured military veterans and service personnel have joined DIO archaeologists, local volunteers, Wessex Archaeology and Breaking Ground Heritage to excavate a track at Barrow Clump on Salisbury Plain….

Barrow Clump is the site of a scheduled monument, an Early Bronze Age burial mound (c2000BC) that later became the burial place for Anglo-Saxons in the 6th century AD.

The current excavation is being done with volunteers from the Operation Nightingale programme which uses archaeology to aid in the recovery of soldiers who are sick, wounded or were injured on operations in Afghanistan.

Last November, remains outside the barrow were found including a man with an iron spear and a woman with jewellery. In July 2018, service personnel discovered burials with weapons and decorated pottery. Over 80 burials have now been found at the military training site.

Military veterans working on the dig are supported by Breaking Ground Heritage, a charity assisting veterans to learn more about archaeology and heritage with the aim of helping them to learn new skills as part of their recovery. Several are now studying the subject at University with others working as professionals in this area.

Richard Osgood, Senior Archaeologist from the Defence Infrastructure Organisation said: “Operation Nightingale has been a huge success since it was first established in 2011. I’m amazed at the artefacts that have been uncovered from our previous excavations and without the help of injured, sick and wounded soldiers we wouldn’t have uncovered the Anglo-Saxon burial.”

Richard Bennett, Project Director at Breaking Ground Heritage said: “We work closely with DIO to provide injured soldiers and veterans with the placements they need to take part in archaeological investigations on the Ministry of Defence estate. Thank you to everyone who has took part in this project, they have all been valuable to the programme’s results.”