Today's blog has been written, by Jackie, a Project Florence volunteer who has known Barrow Clump for many years, and was excited to have the opportunity to learn more about the Operation Nightingale excavation:
Barrow Clump, known locally as Ablington Clump or just ‘The Clump’ has been a significant land mark for many years. With its group of trees on a high location has meant it is unmissable for miles around, in fact it can clearly be seen from the A345 just before you get to the turning to Boscombe Down, driving from Salisbury. It is also very visible from my garden; I live less than half a mile away from the site!
I was brought up in Milston, less than a mile away and played with children from Figheldean, so would pass ‘The Clump’ regularly and play there too, as did most children growing up in the area (Figheldean, Ablington, Brigmerston and Milston).
With its great views overlooking Larkhill ranges to the west and Sidbury Hill (the highest point on Salisbury Plain) to the east, it has also proved to be a wonderful place to walk my dog, which I have done so often with my family and friends and their dogs too!
We thought ‘The Clump’ contained a single ‘burial mound’ or tumuli, we also knew it was surrounded by these too, although flattened by years of agriculture by various farmers over the years. Little did we know when we were walking and playing on that ground that there was, beneath our feet, perhaps a hundred ancient people who had been laying there undisturbed for thousands of years!
As a Parish Councillor for Figheldean, and having previously visited the site taking photographic records of Operation Nightingale for the Rifles Museum in Salisbury, where I am the Curator, I was very excited to be involved with Project Florence by organising villagers to visit the site so that they could see and learn for themselvesthe exciting finds that were being found.
We are all in agreement that what is being found at Barrow Clump is absolutely fascinating, and made all the more interesting because of the injured soldiers that are being given the opportunity to take part in such a worthwhile and interesting project. Some of those soldiers that I have spoken are so excited about their rehabilitation project that they have expressed an interest in becoming archaeologists themselves!
Find out more about becoming a Project Florence volunteer at www.florence.opnightingale.co.uk/volunteer