Excavations at Barrow Clump (Exercise Beowulf) with Operation Nightingale and Breaking Ground Heritage are up and running again and into their second week. A great team comprising wounded, injured and sick service personnel and veterans, Wessex Archaeology and Breaking Ground Heritage staff and volunteers, and Richard Osgood, Defence Infrastructure Organisation are working together for one final season on the original Operation Nightingale site using archaeology and comradeship to assist the recovery process.

Unlike previous years when the excavations have focused on the Scheduled Monument area centred on the Bronze Age barrow, owing to the extensive damage being caused by badgers to the stratigraphy and burials, the fieldwork has focused on understanding the impact of military and farm vehicles using a track adjacent to the barrow on land that has been previously been cultivated. The investigations so far have demonstrated that the wheel ruts have either cut or compressed the upper fills of archaeological deposits. 


A pot under excavation Excavating a grave

Already the site has yielded some exciting discoveries that were at immediate risk of damage, including: a female burial with a pot, a pair of disc brooches an iron knife, large bead and bronze buckle; a child burial with two square headed brooches; a spear head and beautifully preserved 6th-century shield boss which you can see being carefully lifted in the video below.

Barrow Clump will be open to the public this weekend from 10 am to 4 pm (14−15 July 2018), with parking at the C1 crossing point car park. Donations to Breaking Ground Heritage to fund more Operation Nightingale opportunities welcome.

By Giles Woodhouse, Chief Strategy Officer