War veterans have recently been participating in archaeological digs on Salisbury Plain as part of a scheme to get veterans socialising and active.

The award-winning scheme targets injured, wounded or sick personnel and veterans who are looking to get outdoors and involved in physical activity.

The excavation is taking place on Boles Barrow, with terrain that dates back to the Neolithic period.

Defence minister and south west Wiltshire MP Dr Andrew Murrison visited the dig site on Monday, stating “It was great to meet the veterans taking part in this innovative and award-winning programme. Using archaeological excavations to help veterans and allow them to spend time together has clear benefit and this is a programme I wholly support.”

The archaeological aim of the Boles Barrow excavation is to find bluestone chips.

Bluestone refers to the type of stone used in stone henge, which are not found naturally in this part of the country.

These have not been found as of yet, however since the excavation started on March 20, flint tools, a pot rim, sarsen and a roman coin have been discovered.

Whilst the discovery of items and minerals is the focus of the excavation, measures have been put in place to protect animals that may be burrowing in the ground, with mesh being installed to prevent certain areas from being accessed, potentially harming animals or their habitats.

Leader of the investigation and senior archaeologist Richard Osgood said “It was a pleasure to explain Operation Nightingale and its success to the Minister and introduce him to our participants. We are hopeful that the excavation of Boles Barrow will help deepen our understanding of the Neolithic landscape of Salisbury Plain. On a practical level, it has already demonstrated that our method of installing mesh to protect certain sites from burrowing animals is a success.”

The excavation will hopefully uncover valuable historical information which may help to further archaeologists’ understanding of the historical neolithic terrain.