Time Team

From Academic Kids

Time Team is a popular, and popularizing, Channel 4 television series dealing with archaeology, first shown in 1994. It is presented by Tony Robinson. A team of archaeologists, usually led by Mick Aston (of Bristol University) and including Phil Harding and Carenza Lewis, is despatched to a site, usually within the British Isles, where they uncover as much as they can about the archaeology and history of the site within the space of three days.

The regular team includes landscape investigator Stewart Ainsworth, geophysical surveyor John Gater and illustrator Victor Ambrus. This team is supplemented by experts appropriate for the period and type of site. Guy de la Bédoyère is usually present for Roman digs, and Francis Pryor for Bronze Age and Iron Age digs. Margaret Cox usually helps out with any forensic archaeology. Other specialists who appear from time to time include David S. Neal, expert on Roman mosaics. Local historians also join in when appropriate.

Sites may be suggested by landowners, local archaeologists, academics, interested bodies or members of the general public, and have included everything from the Mesolithic period to World War II (the excavation of a crashed Spitfire in northern France), as well as that of a German defensive position comprising a gun emplacement and trench system overlooking the site of the 1944 Allied invasion of the Normandy beaches.

Some of the most popular programmes in the series have included the excavation of Bronze Age and Iron Age settlements, Roman villas and Medieval churches, a few of which have resulted in the discovery of sites of national significance.

Time Team Specials are documentary programmes about topics in history and archaeology made by the same production company. They are generally presented by Tony Robinson and often feature one or more of the familiar faces from the regular series of Time Team.

Time Team Big Dig was a weekend of live broadcasts in June 2003 preceded by a week of daily short programmes. It involved about 1000 members of the public in excavating test pits each 1 metre square by 50 cm deep. Most of these pits were in private gardens and the project stirred up long-running controversies about approaches to public archaeology.

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