Posts Tagged ‘Wessex Archaeology’

THE Netheravon Barrow Rescue project in Wiltshire has won the coveted Heritage Award from the MoD for its work to save important archaeological remains near Stonehenge.

Each year the Defence Infrastructure Organisation (DIO) which manages thousands of military sites in the UK and overseas, makes a series of awards on behalf of the MoD to recognise work that promotes environmental protection on the Defence Estate.

urnThe Netheravon Barrow Rescue saved an important early Bronze Age site close to Stonehenge, which was being destroyed by burrowing badgers.

The excavation team was led by Wessex Archaeology’s Jackie McKinley, Phil Andrews and Dave Murdie, and supported by the Bulford Conservation Group, Landmarc Services and veterans taking part in Operation Nightingale.

They discovered a wealth of items including a large collared urn dating back over 4,000 years. Wessex Archaeology described the Netheravon Barrow as yielding one of the most important Early Bronze Age discoveries of recent years – alongside the Boscombe Bowman and Amesbury Archer.

The team from Operation Nightingale – which helps injured military personnel with their recovery by working on archaeological projects – won a Historic England Heritage Angel award for their work earlier this year.

DIO senior archaeologist Richard Osgood said: “I am delighted that this award has recognised the efforts made to save a four thousand year old burial mound and some beautiful artefacts which are now on display to the public. I’m especially pleased this award also recognises the contribution made by Operation Nightingale which has made such a tangible difference to all those injured service men and women who have been involved in the project.”

Project director Richard Bennett said: “We are soldiers, sailors, airmen and women and marines and we have proved that we can turn our very unique skill sets to benefit our heritage and its preservation. Being on projects like this provides solace that there is life after the military no matter how hard the journey is along the way.”

Minister for Defence, Veterans, Reserves and Personnel Mark Lancaster, said: “Today is all about celebrating the men and women responsible for a remarkable and diverse range of sustainability, conservation and environmental projects and initiatives delivered across the Defence Estate on behalf of the MoD each year. The diversity of these brilliant projects is dazzling.”

You can read the full article in the Gazatte and Hereld newspaper.

Wessex Guided Tours conduct guided tours of Stonehenge and the surrounding landscape. These specialist tours can depart from Bath or Salisbury.

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Archaeologists have discovered 81 “extremely rare” tree-trunk coffins at a “previously unknown” early Christian Anglo-Saxon community’s cemetery.


Historic England believes the finds will “advance our understanding of Middle-Saxon religious beliefs”

Found at Great Ryburgh in Norfolk, their “remarkable preservation” was due to the waterlogged conditions of the river valley.

The Historic England excavation was carried out ahead of the construction of a lake and flood defence system.

Chief executive Duncan Wilson said the graves were “a significant discovery”.

Anglo-Saxon coffins seldom survive because wood decays over time.

James Fairclough, an archaeologist from the Museum of London Archaeology which led the dig, said: “The combination of acidic sand and alkaline water created the perfect conditions for the skeletons and wooden graves to survive, revealing remarkable details of Christian Anglo-Saxon burial practices.”

Archaeologist Matt Champion made the initial discovery.

Landowner Gary Boyce had asked him to put in trial trenches ahead of the planning application for the lake and flood defence system. These revealed high status Anglo-Saxon pottery and Roman Samian Ware.

He said it was all the more remarkable because prior to the dig “all the evidence suggested the field had never been developed”.

They decided to carry out a full excavation in January – and within an hour found the first of over 80 human burials. The dig was completed in June but its findings have only just been released to the press.

Historic England said other important finds included six “very rare” plank-lined graves “believed to be the earliest known examples in Britain” and evidence of a timber structure thought to be a church.

Historic England believes the burials date from between the 7th and 9th Centuries AD and were “the final resting place for a community of early Christians”.

Research is continuing to find out where the bodies came from, how they were related and what their diet and health was like.

Some of the finds will go on display at Norwich Castle Museum.

Article Source (BBC)

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