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Archaeology project helps to rehabilitate injured soldiers

A Sussex archaeology student will be giving a talk on campus tonight (Thursday 3 May) about his key role in a pioneering project to help rehabilitate soldiers who have been injured in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Sgt Diarmaid Walshe, a medical sergeant in the 1 Rifles light infantry battalion, is currently intermitting from his part-time doctoral research on Roman pottery from Kent and Sussex.

He is also co-director of Operation Nightingale, which teaches injured soldiers a series of excavation, survey, drawing and mapping techniques.

The Riflemen – who have both physical and mental injuries - have worked on excavations on Salisbury Plain, at Caerwent (a Roman city in Wales), and in Kent and West Sussex.

They also have the opportunity to enhance their publication and presentation skills. Several have had placements in professional archaeological organisations to gain work experience.

Diarmaid was himself injured on operation in Iraq. He says: “Due to my injuries I wanted to take a new direction with my life and career.

“I had worked for six months on an archaeological project in Ireland in the late ‘80s and I always wanted to study it.

“The programme at Sussex allowed me to engage at my level and in my time to enable me to recover and continue with my military career.”

And now he is passing on what he has learned at Sussex to the participants in Operation Nightingale - more than 100 soldiers since the project started in June 2011, with another 60 due for training over the coming summer.

Diarmaid says: “The skills and experience that Sussex have provided have been invaluable and have allowed me to work with my peers in archaeology on a sound and level footing.

“They have also enabled me to pass on my enthusiasm and knowledge to the participants on the project.”

To find out more about Diarmaid’s role in Operation Nightingale, the value of this pioneering project and the benefits it offers to those involved, email to book and then get along to the Fulton lecture theatre A this evening at 7pm.

Diarmaid’s talk forms part of the Sussex Lectures series and part of the Archaeological Society’s lecture programme.

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Posted on behalf of: Archaeological Society
Last updated: Thursday, 3 May 2012