Operation Nightingale, the innovative rehabilitation project using archaeological fieldwork to help the recovery of soldiers wounded in Afghanistan, has added two more prizes to its trophy cabinet, after their success at the MOD’s Sanctuary Awards.

Having already won the Project of Special Merit award at this year’s British Archaeological Awards, Operation Nightingale yesterday took first place in the Heritage Projects category, as well as winning the Silver Otter trophy, awarded to the overall Sanctuary winner.

The Sanctuary Awards aim to recognise and encourage initiatives that benefit wildlife, archaeology, environmental improvement or community awareness of conservation on MOD property.

Over the last year Operation Nightingale have excavated prehistoric archaeology at Chisenbury Midden (CA 265), Roman remains at Caerwent (CA  267), and most recently, the Anglo-Saxon burial ground at Barrow Clump (CA  270).

‘This is a great honour,’ said  Sgt Diarmaid Walshe of the Royal Army Medical Corps, who first set up Operation Nightingale with Richard Osgood of the Defence Infrastructure Organisation. ‘It’s nice to be recognised by the MOD, after so much has been put in from the army side to protect heritage on MOD land. We are all very pleased.’

‘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,’ said Richard Osgood. ‘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.’

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