27th October 2016
Help for Heroes runs an archaeology programme, Operation Nightingale, to support the recovery of wounded military personnel. Archaeology and the military have a long and notable association – for example General Sir Mortimer Wheeler regarded as the father of modern archaeology, and of course TE Lawrence.
This should be unsurprising. There are many similarities between soldiering and archaeology – working outdoors, in all weather conditions, performing practical tasks, to strict deadlines and standards, using observation and interpretative techniques to generate understanding (intelligence).
During their visit the team compared the 2,600 year old Cretan helmet with its modern counterpart, the Mark 6 combat helmet used by British forces up until 2009. Back in its day the Cretan helmet was a marvel of technical engineering – the lightest and strongest bronze to be found. This gave its wearer an undoubted battlefield advantage, just as high tech materials such as Kevlar do for soldiers today.
L to R Guy Salkeld, Chris Boyd, Giles Woodhouse & Robin Punt
The group also discussed the decline in support for archaeology, the importance of inspiring a new generation to take an interest in history, and in the practical exploration of history through archaeology.
“It was a delight to meet members of Operation Nightingale, led by the inspiring Lieutenant Colonel Giles Woodhouse, and to learn about the sterling work they are doing providing practical retraining for the wounded, and bringing the past to life with such dedication.” said Baron Lorne Thyssen-Bornemisza.
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