Operation Nightingale wins Ministry of Defence’s (MOD) Sanctuary Award

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The Sanctuary and Energy Awards were held on the 16th October 2012 in MOD Main Building London.

An innovative project using archaeology to aid the recovery of military personnel injured in Afghanistan, has scooped two more prestigious awards.

‘Operation Nightingale’ received a British Archaeological award back in July and can proudly add the Ministry of Defence’s (MOD) Sanctuary Award to the list.


Unique and hugely successful, the project won the award in the Heritage Projects category, beating off tough competition from entries nationwide. It also acquired the Silver Otter trophy – awarded to the overall Sanctuary winner.

Soldiers from the Rifles, injured on Operation Herrick, unearthed an astonishing 27 bodies – including Anglo-Saxon warriors – buried with a range of personal possessions. The project is led by the Defence Infrastructure Organisation (DIO) and the Army.

Artefacts uncovered from the sixth-century burial site at Barrow Clump, included shield bosses, broaches, amber and glass beads, spear heads, a silver ring, and a wooden drinking vessel with bronze bands.

Defence Infrastructure Organisation’s (DIO) Senior Historic Advisor, Richard Osgood said:

“The team is thrilled to have won this award coming so soon after having been given a British Archaeology Award as a project of special merit. It is wonderful to see the endeavours of all of those on the project, the Rifleman in particular, being acknowledged both by external stakeholders and now also within the MOD. As the group builds on its experience we look forward to many future interesting projects to support heritage requirements within Defence.”

Sgt Diarmaid Walshe (RAMC) said:

“We are delighted, this award shows the benefits of archaeology and how the MOD is working to protect archaeology on the estate.”

Representing the Sanctuary Award Board Marcus Yeo, Chief Executive of the Joint Nature Conservation Committee (JNCC), said:

“I have been a member of the judging panel for the Sanctuary Awards for several years, and I am always impressed by the breadth and quality of environmental work undertaken on MOD property. This year has been no exception and it was a hard task to select award winners from such a diverse range of high-quality submissions.”

Sanctuary Awards

The associated Sanctuary Awards have been running since 1991 and are in recognition of both individual and group efforts for projects on MOD land in the UK and overseas. There are four categories of award: Environmental; Sustainability; Heritage and Individual Contribution, with the coveted Silver Otter Trophy awarded to the overall winner. The winners are presented their awards by Minister for Defence Personnel, Welfare and Veterans during the annual awards ceremony held each autumn.

Contributing Source : DIO

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