Operation Nightingale - using archaeology as a rehabilitation tool for injured servicemen and women

Staff in Wessex Archaeology's Salisbury office are taking part in a pilot project entitled 'Operation Nightingale' to explore the potential of using archaeology as a tool in the rehabilitation of injured servicemen and women. The project is being led by Richard Osgood of the Defence Infrastructure Organisation who Wessex regularly works for on Salisbury Plain, and Sgt Diarmaid Walshe of 1 Rifles. In the first stage of the pilot Dave Norcott helped with an environmental archaeology (auger) survey on Salisbury Plain before the 11 soldiers from the Rifles visited Portway House for some practical demonstrations.

314 Operation Nightingale: Dave Norcott explains the archaeology of Salisbury Plain

The preliminary results of the pilot have been so encouraging that further trials are planned.

315 Phil Harding with participants of Operation Nightingale


Continuing our involvement in this project, we have just hosted our first two work placements from the Rifles. James and Paul have spent two weeks with us, taking part in various activities but also following their own interests. James worked with Jackie McKinley, learning about human bone, while Paul brushed up his artistic skills in the Drawing Office. Both commented on how welcome we made them feel, and they gave us excellent feedback about their time here.

316 Illustrating finds

This is an extremely worthwhile project and all concerned have enjoyed the experience so far. Thanks must go to those who helped James and Paul, by introducing them to various aspects of our work, and working with them over the last two weeks.

317 James learning about human bone with Jackie McKinley


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