75 years after the 506th PIR, 101st Division, including Easy Co, dropped into Normandy, a team of military veterans, service personnel and volunteers from Operation Nightingale/Breaking Ground Heritage are examining the sites where the soldiers lived here in Wiltshire.
This exercise is already well underway, the team having already undertaken a careful scrutiny of the Heritage Environment Register (Wiltshire and Swindon History Centre) and aerial photos at the Historic England archive; plus geophysics surveys in Ramsbury and Aldbourne.
Richard Osgood, Senior Archaeologist at Defence
Infrastructure Organisation, and his team would like to say a special ‘thank-you’
to Aldbourne Parish Council, landowners, local experts and the Aldbourne
Community Heritage Group for their great support thus far on this project.
Operation Nightingale is an initiative from the MoD to help assist the recovery of injured soldiers by getting them involved in archaeological operations.
If you would like more information about Exercise: Digging Band of Brothers, Operation Nightingale/Breaking Ground Heritage or if you have village history to share about the American presence here in WW2 we’d love to hear from you.
In Edward VI’s time the church had three bells and a sanctus bell, and this was the situation when the tower started to collapse in 1811.
As plans were made to re-build the tower, an order for a peal of five bells was made to James Wells in the nearby village of Aldbourne. This small village produced two notable dynasties of bell-founders—the Corrs, who started in 1696, and the Wells.
They were asked to recast the four old bells into a new ring of six bells, with a tenor of 15cwt. Evidently the bell frame was not suitable for these, and required modification. The new bells were cast in 1816 and were hung in the new tower in two tiers. Mr Well’s estimate of 1812 and all fittings amounted to £251 0s 0d.
Undy’s Farm in 1988-89 revealed what was possibly Berkshire’s only example of a Bronze Age ceremonial site. The seven metre diameter site had seven pits around a large central hearth. The pits held posts which had burned down and been replaced on several occasions. In association with this find was a probable fragment of an “Aldbourne cup”. These small vessels are normally associated with Early Bronze Age (Wessex II) inhumation burials. Its discovery here was considered “most unusual”, but confirms the area was occupied in the Bronze Age.
The Aldbourne Hoard. Discovered on Boxing Day 1980. Presented to the Wiltshire Archaeological and Natural History Society in March 1982 by Mr C E Elliott-Cohen and Mr A Sewell. On display in the Roman Gallery at Wiltshire Museum, Devizes.
New archaeological surveys reveal unique square megalithic monument at the heart of the World Heritage Site.
Archaeologists have found a striking and apparently unique square monument beneath the world famous Avebury stone circle in Wiltshire.
The UNESCO World Heritage Site, cared for by the National Trust, was built over several hundred years in the 3rd millennium BC and contains three stone circles – including the largest stone circle in Europe which is 330m across and originally comprised around 100 huge standing stones.
A research team led by the University of Leicester and University of Southampton used a combination of soil resistance survey and Ground-Penetrating Radar to investigate the stone circle.
Their work was funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) and supported by the National Trust, as well as archaeologists from the University of Cambridge and Allen Environmental Archaeology.
Last week, the Living with Monuments team started test pitting* in Avebury, in fields to the north west and the south west of Avebury Henge, in order to gather information about what the landscape might have looked like in the past and how it has been transformed over the millennia.
Archaeologists working in Wiltshire have identified a unique network of First World War tunnels under Salisbury Plain. The tunnels are part of a First World War battlefield used to train men to fight in and under the trenches of France and Belgium. The soldiers have left the mine galleries deep in the Wiltshire chalk but they have also left their names – over a hundred inscriptions written by soldiers training on Salisbury Plain between 1915 and 1918. The trenches and the tunnels beneath them have been found during archaeological work in advance of new Army housing at Larkhill on Salisbury Plain. Archaeologists have been working alongside specialist engineers and tunnel specialists to investigate the underground battlefield.
There’s a nice piece in the Guardian by Maev Kennedy about the first world war training trenches found by archaeologists at Larkhill. The cultural significance of historic military remains should not be underestimated. They are numerous and varied, and have enormous power to engage people in different ways with events we should never lose touch with.
When I visited the site last year, apart from the neolithic enclosure (of great interest in the context of Stonehenge of course) I was struck by a sports car that seemed to have been entombed whole in the 1930s. It was a sunny, frosty day, and you could make out “Pirelli” on the tyres. Long ago Forbes Taylor filmed a black hearse-like Rolls driving into a grave, watched by black-veiled young women in short black skirts, for a TV programme that featured the Sutton Hoo ship burial. No ritual at Larkhill: Si Cleggett tells…