THE Netheravon Barrow Rescue project in Wiltshire has won the coveted Heritage Award from the MoD for its work to save important archaeological remains near Stonehenge.

Each year the Defence Infrastructure Organisation (DIO) which manages thousands of military sites in the UK and overseas, makes a series of awards on behalf of the MoD to recognise work that promotes environmental protection on the Defence Estate.

The Netheravon Barrow Rescue saved an important early Bronze Age site close to Stonehenge, which was being destroyed by burrowing badgers.

The excavation team was led by Wessex Archaeology’s Jackie McKinley, Phil Andrews and Dave Murdie, and supported by the Bulford Conservation Group, Landmarc Services and veterans taking part in Operation Nightingale.

They discovered a wealth of items including a large collared urn dating back over 4,000 years. Wessex Archaeology described the Netheravon Barrow as yielding one of the most important Early Bronze Age discoveries of recent years – alongside the Boscombe Bowman and Amesbury Archer.

The team from Operation Nightingale - which helps injured military personnel with their recovery by working on archaeological projects - won a Historic England Heritage Angel award for their work earlier this year.

DIO senior archaeologist Richard Osgood said: “I am delighted that this award has recognised the efforts made to save a four thousand year old burial mound and some beautiful artefacts which are now on display to the public. I’m especially pleased this award also recognises the contribution made by Operation Nightingale which has made such a tangible difference to all those injured service men and women who have been involved in the project.”

Project director Richard Bennett said: “We are soldiers, sailors, airmen and women and marines and we have proved that we can turn our very unique skill sets to benefit our heritage and its preservation. Being on projects like this provides solace that there is life after the military no matter how hard the journey is along the way.”

Minister for Defence, Veterans, Reserves and Personnel Mark Lancaster, said: "Today is all about celebrating the men and women responsible for a remarkable and diverse range of sustainability, conservation and environmental projects and initiatives delivered across the Defence Estate on behalf of the MoD each year. The diversity of these brilliant projects is dazzling.”