University of Leicester students appear in Time Team

Posted by pt91 at Jan 31, 2013 03:35 PM |
University of Leicester archaeology students – including British soldiers – appeared on Channel 4’s Time Team on Sunday, Jan 27

University of Leicester archaeology students – including soldiers injured in Afghanistan – made a significant contribution to last weekend’s episode of Time Team.

The students are taking part in Operation Nightingale, an award-winning project which uses archaeology to help injured soldiers.

The episode showed excavation work being carried out at Barrow Clump, Wiltshire, where Operation Nightingale team members are investigating Bronze Age and Anglo-Saxon burials.

Operation Nightingale is run by the Defence Archaeology Group and the Ministry of Defence, with backing from the British Army.

The University of Leicester recently joined as an academic partner, and a group of students and staff from the School of Archaeology and Ancient History have been helping on digs.

The episode featured James Spry, an MA student at the University who has been involved with Operation Nightingale since its formation in 2011 and supervised all of the project’s major excavations.

It also featured Leicester-born Corporal Steve Winterton and Rifleman Rowan Kendrick, who are both taking long-distance archaeology degrees with the School as part of a new University initiative supporting injured soldiers.

James Spry said: “Filming was good fun and the crew were very friendly. The digging staff were also very helpful and always willing to give us their time. It was very hectic and I think we were all glad it only lasted for three days!

“The excavation began as a Neolithic earthwork, which then evolved into a Bronze Age Barrow and then an Anglo-Saxon cemetery! We were excavating the Anglo-Saxon graves from the site, which included both adult and child graves and a lot of varied grave goods.

“We are always appreciative of messages of support from the public and offers of help from other archaeological institutions and services, so hopefully more people should know about what we are doing following the show.

“Most importantly however, it was something exciting for the soldiers to be involved in and something they can shown they friends and family in the future.”

Cpl Steve Winterton is a father-of-four, has spent 15 years with the army and suffered nerve damage after being injured in Afghanistan in 2009.

Cpl Winterton, who has been working on the Barrow Clump dig and began his degree at the University last year, said: “During the filming, it was great fun to see how Time Team conduct the dig from a TV point of view and what the viewers would find interesting. It will be something that I will never forget.

“It was good for Operation Nightingale to be featured in the programme, as it shows that anybody can take part in archaeology whatever their physical limitations - and this should not hold you back. Hopefully the exposure will let other soldiers know about the project and get them involved.

“My degree with the University is going very well - the support and help is great. I can combine both the degree and working with Operation Nightingale so I have the best of both worlds - learning and practicing at the same time.”

Rifleman Rowan Kendrick Rifleman, who is originally from Leeds, said: “Being filmed in a Time Team episode was really exciting as I've been a fan of archaeology and the show for many years. To work with such dedicated and experienced archaeologists was a lot of fun and a great learning experience.

“Operation Nightingale has been life-changing for me and a great number of other soldiers and allowed me to gain a new career in archaeology.

“My course at Leicester is going great. It took a bit of time getting used to being in education again after leaving collage 11 years ago, but the distance learning team has been great in helping me prepare for doing essays and researching material for the modules.”

The University’s School of Archaeology & Ancient History offers a special fee scheme to service personnel to facilitate their studies.

The cost of distance-learning courses for injured soldiers will remain fixed at last year’s rate – despite the general tripling of tuition fees for university courses in September.

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