A NEW book is being launched after the completion of an archaeological project to help the recovery of injured veterans.

The project dubbed Exercise Beowulf, was by Defence Infrastructure Organisation (DIO), Wessex Archaeology and Historic England.

excavations were undertaken in 2012–14 and 2017–19 at Barrow Clump, on the Ministry of Defence-owned Salisbury Plain Military Training Area, involving volunteers from Operation Nightingale – a military initiative to involve injured service personnel in archaeology to aid their recovery.

The publication, A Prehistoric Burial Mound and Anglo-Saxon Cemetery at Barrow Clump, Salisbury Plain, is due to be launched at the Wiltshire Museum in Devizes tomorrow (January 9). The museum will eventually house all the finds from the excavation.

The large Bronze Age burial mound at Barrow Clump has been the focus of renewed works since 2003, when excavations were carried out by English Heritage in response to badger activity at the monument, which discovered a previously unknown Anglo-Saxon cemetery as well as revealing that the mound incorporates an earlier Beaker funerary monument and seals a Neolithic land surface.

The subsequent Operation Nightingale project revealed more about the cemetery, with most of the 110 graves dating to the 6th century AD. Radiocarbon dating showed that Anglo-Saxon burial continued into the 7th and possibly the 8th century. Notable finds included a sword with well-preserved organic remains, a bucket with surviving yew staves, a square-headed brooch and only the second Visigothic brooch of its type to be found in Britain.

Wessex Archaeology project manager Phil Andrews, who co-authored the book, said: “This has been an incredible collaborative effort by all those involved. We’re delighted that in our 40th anniversary year, we have been able to put out this significant publication. It is the culmination of many years of work and a valuable project to offer some respite and recovery for Operation Nightingale volunteers. It also brings some significant archaeological finds to light.”

The book is available from oxbowbooks.com