Richard Osgood has written a wonderful chronicle of veteran rehabilitation through archaeology in “Broken Pots, Mending Lives”. Osgood shares his experience of assisting injured and ill servicemen and women for a decade by getting them involved in actively supporting digs throughout England and Western Europe. The nature of the archaeology projects is interesting, spanning a swath of English history; however, it is the stories of the positive impact Operations (Op) Nightingale, UK has on its participants that are the strength of the book.
The mission of Op Nightingale’s mission explicitly states it is “an initiative to assist the recovery of wounded, injured and sick military personnel and veterans by getting them involved in archaeological investigations.” Many veterans find they lose a sense of camaraderie and purpose once their service ends, and participation in Op Nightingale, UK projects provides an opportunity to work closely with others, as members of a team, doing important tasks.
Osgood does a marvelous job explaining how the veterans on these projects experience a “win/win” scenario, as the projects themselves benefit from the hard work of the participants the veterans discover a renewed sense of purpose and community. Casemate Publishing’s edition of the book is high quality, and beautifully produced, making a fitting tribute to the valuable contributions made by Operation Nightingale, UK both to the field of archaeology and to the health and wellbeing of the veteran community.