In fact, the dig that we mentioned earlier was part of Operation Nightingale. This is an innovative project involving British Army soldiers and veterans plus archaeologists from Wessex Archaeology, a charity. The aim of the project is to help ex-servicemen who’ve been wounded physically or mentally to recover by giving them hands-on experience of archaeology. Many of the ex-soldiers involved saw action in Afghanistan.
Giles Woodhouse of Wessex Archaeology attested to the effectiveness of the Nightingale project when he spoke to the Salisbury Journal. “As a former serviceman, archaeologist and supporter of Operation Nightingale, I have been amazed by the power of archaeology in aiding the recovery of veteran and serving wounded, injured and sick personnel, as epitomized at the long-running Barrow Clump excavations on the edge of Salisbury Plain,” Woodhouse said.
The Operation Nightingale dig on that July day was excavating a burial mound called Barrow Clump. It’s located about 40 miles north of Stonehenge, just outside the village of Ablington and on military land. The excavation of this barrow was urgent because it was suffering severe damage, compromising the archaeological remains within it.