Archaeology brings students and staff together with injured military personnel at first Public Open Day

Posted by ap507 at Jun 16, 2014 12:35 PM |
Archaeological programme run through Operation Nightingale can help in the recovery of service personnel
Archaeology brings students and staff together with injured military personnel at first Public Open Day

Student volunteer engaging with the public

The University’s School of Archaeology and Ancient History has been digging alongside current serving armed forces personnel and veterans together with archaeologists from the Defence Infrastructure Organisation (DIO) and the voluntary Defence Archaeology Group (DAG), as part of Operation Nightingale.

The University is in partnership with the Operation Nightingale programme, which supports the recovery of military personnel and veterans who have been injured in service – whether in training or on operations– through occupational archaeological activity. Op Nightingale assists the injured in their return to their duties, or in their transition back to civilian careers. Participation enables Archaeology and Ancient History students of the University to work alongside experienced members of the Forces, helping both to develop new skills.

As part of the ongoing excavations for the above fieldwork project the first open day for the public was organised by four University of Leicester student volunteers registered for the Leicester Award in Archaeology & Ancient History in the Community who worked alongside three veterans and two current serving personnel. Mentoring to the Outreach Team was undertaken by freelance archaeologist Dr Mike Hawkes and Archaeology Outreach Officer Debbie Miles-Williams. Click here or more information about outreach careers.

Around 170 members of the public attended the event and were impressed by the collaboration between the students, veterans and current serving armed forces personnel in delivering knowledgeable presentations, talks and activities about the archaeology and history of the site. 

The serving armed forces personnel and veterans who delivered the open day have suffered a broad spectrum of injuries, including physical and psychological trauma. Participation in preparing for and delivering such an event, which in combination with the social aspect of a mixed civil-military team working, living and playing together, helps promote healing. Op Nightingale is valuable for rebuilding self-esteem and helping the injured rediscover a sense of purpose.

Operation Nightingale has won a British Archaeological Award, recognising its creative use of archaeological work to boost the recovery and prospects of injured military personnel.