Wednesday, August 01, 2012

Sixth-century Anglo-Saxon woman discovered by British soldiers in Operation Nightingale

Injured British soldiers have helped uncover the remains of a sixth Century Anglo-Saxon female in an excavation project to preserve the remains of a burial site on Salisbury Plain in southern England.

'Davina', as they have named the woman is believed to have died in her late teens to early 20s. She appears to have been a person of note, as she was buried in what would have been a prestigious burial site. They have also found the remains of an Anglo-Saxon male, who was buried with a bronze shield.

The archaeological dig is part of Operation Nightingale, a six week excavation and rehabilitation programme for injured soldiers with an interest in archaeology. They are investigating an area known as Barrow Clump, which lies on lands held by the British military within Salisbury Plain, is currently on the English Heritage 'Heritage at Risk' list due to extensive burrowing by badgers.
The badgers are burrowing into the site and kicking up human remains and ancient burial relics. Operation Nightingale, with the support of Wessex Archaeology and English Heritage, plans to excavate the site to document and preserve the remains from further damage, before rebuilding the cemetery mound.

"We are very lucky to be part of this dig as soldiers – normally we wouldn't be able to do this as it's a scheduled Neolithic burial with an early Pagan Anglo-Saxon burial cut into it," explained Rifleman Laurence Savage, 5 RIFLES, who is on his second archaeological dig with the project.