Book published after veterans take on archaeological dig

Book published after veterans take on archaeological dig

Published by Jack Deery at 6:18am 7th January 2020.

3 minute read

Historic excavation work that took place near Figheldean has now been released to the public.

Between 2012 and 2019 'Exercise Beowulf' was undertaken at Barrow Clump and was used as a tool to help aid the recovery of injured veterans. 

The project was run by the Defence Infrastructure Organisation, Wessex Archaeology and Historic England and took place on the Ministry of Defence-owned Salisbury Plain Military Training Area.

Group Shot credit Wessex Archaeology
'Exercise Beowulf' happened over 7 years

Now the work done has been turned into a book called "A Prehistoric Burial Mound and Anglo-Saxon Cemetery at Barrow Clump, Salisbury Plain, Wiltshire", which has it's official launch on Thursday (9th January).

A large, Bronze Age burial mound at the site has been investigated since the late 19th century, but work stepped up in 2003. 

For the last few years, ex-service personnel, who were injured while serving, have been helping out with the project as part of innovative military initiative called 'Operation Nightingale'. 

WINNO & sword credit Wessex Archaeology
Injured veterans have been volunteering to help with this project

Their work discovered a previously unknown Anglo-Saxon cemetery, with some graves dating back to the 6th century AD.

It also revealed that the mound incorporates an earlier Beaker funerary monument and seals a Neolithic land surface.

Excavating bucket grave credit Wessex Archaeology
An Anglo-Saxon cemetery was discovered in the dig


The Wiltshire Museum in Devizes is going to be playing host to the book launch on Thursday at 7pm, as it will eventually house all the finds from the dig. 

Some veterans involved in the project will be joined by representatives from the Ministry of Defence, Historic England and Wessex Archaeology to celebrate the publication.

Phil Andrews, Wessex Archaeology Project Manager, who co-authored the publication said:

"This has been an incredible collaborative effort by all those involved. We're delighted that in our 40th anniversary year, we have been able to put out this significant publication. It is the culmination of many years of work and a valuable project to offer some respite and recovery for Operation Nightingale volunteers. It also brings some significant archaeological finds to light."

Visigothic Brooch credit Wessex Archaeology
A Visigothic Brooch was found at the site

The book can be found at Oxbow Books.

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