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Time Team

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In this popular and (literally) groundbreaking programme, Tony Robinson and a team of experts travel the country to investigate a wide range of archaeological sites of historical importance

About the Show

In this popular and (literally) groundbreaking programme, Tony Robinson and a team of experts travel the country to investigate a wide range of archaeological sites of historical importance

Series 11 Summary

Time Team excavate what they believe to be King Cnut's manor in Nassington, a Roman bath house in Whitestaunton, and a series of Saxon burials along the top of a high ridge in Lincolnshire.

  • Episode 1 - In Search of the Brigittine abbey, Syon House

    Syon House in Chiswick, West London, is one of the country's finest and best-preserved stately homes. Yet few people know that somewhere in the grounds once stood one of England's richest abbeys, founded by Henry V.

    The abbey finally fell foul of Henry VIII in 1539 - but what might be left?

    Despite its central role in the conflicts between church and state throughout the 16th century, very little is known about Syon Abbey. What sort of layout did it have? How big was it?

    Early results from the dig are both exciting and confusing but, amidst much argument, the team slowly build a picture of what was once a truly extraordinary building.

  • Episode 2 - A Roman Bath House and an Edwardian Folly, Whitestaunton

    Tony Robinson and the Team descend on the grounds of a superb medieval manor house in Somerset to investigate a supposed Roman Villa lying in a boggy area at the bottom of the garden.

    First discovered in 1883, experts are now concerned that maybe it isn't a villa at all... perhaps it isn't even Roman.

    Draining and clearing the swamp is hard work. Walls, floors and even mosaics are good clues - but are certainly not everything they seem to be. Only near the end of three days' intensive detective work can the team unravel the truth.

  • Episode 3 - The Crannog in the Loch, Loch Migdale

    At the western end of Loch Migdale, in the Scottish Highlands, sits a mysterious island. It could be a crannog; a man-made prehistoric island probably inhabited at some point in prehistory.

    On the shore nearby, there is an enigmatic circle cut into the ground. It might be a henge, or a cairn - no-one is sure - but it also seems to have been left by the prehistoric people who lived in this part of Scotland.

    The team work flat out in these beautiful surroundings, diving, hill walking and digging as they piece together the extraordinary story of Highland life 2,000 to 3,000 years ago.

  • Episode 4 - Saxon Burials on the Ridge, South Carlton

    In a field near Lincoln, an array of Anglo-Saxon brooches, pins and clasps uncovered by metal detectorists point to an undiscovered cemetery.

    But to find out how old the cemetery is, how big it was and how long it was used for, Tony Robinson and the Team must find the graves.

    And when they discover part of a shield with a skeleton that appears to be female, the search takes a startling new twist.

  • Episode 5 - The Roman Fort that Wasn't There, Syndale

    When the invading Roman army swept towards London, history suggests that they must have established a fort stronghold somewhere along the way to oversee supply lines and regroup. But it has never been found.

    Now, however, the grounds of a Kent hotel have yielded a wide range of intriguing finds: ditches, ramparts, coins and pottery.

    Could this be the missing link in the Roman invasion? Tony Robinson and the Team have just three days to find out whether the Syndale Park Motel is actually home to the first British Roman fort.

  • Episode 6 - An Iron-Age Trading Centre, Green Island

    Today Poole Harbour's beaches and islands make it a tranquil haven for weekend sailors, walkers and swimmers. But in the Iron Age it was a thriving port - perhaps the most important in the country, trading all sorts of goods with the continent.

    But was it also an industrial heartland? Tony Robinson takes the boat to Green Island in the centre of the harbour to investigate what might have been a site of early mass production.

    The finds come thick and fast and the Team need every minute of their three days to come up with an answer.

  • Episode 7 - A Medieval Blast Furnace, Oakamoor

    England relied on the skills of her iron workers centuries before the Industrial Revolution. Tony Robinson and the Team travel to what is now a quiet rural valley in Staffordshire in search of those skills.

    It appears that the valley was a mass of furnaces and blacksmiths for centuries. The Team know that the Elizabethans smelted there - but how much further back can they take the story?

    They've got just three days to see if they can get back 300 years into the dark days of medieval England.

  • Episode 8 - Human Footprints on a Mesolithic Foreshore, Goldcliff

    As the beach of the Severn River gradually erodes, it reveals astonishing evidence of some of this country's earliest inhabitants. But can that evidence - flints, food remains and, most remarkably, fossilised footsteps - be recovered before it's destroyed by the fierce tide?

    Tony Robinson and the Team step back 8000 years to get their first ever glimpse of hunter-gatherers. They must battle the mud, tides and weather if they are to preserve these vital clues to a long-lost way of life.

  • Episode 9 - From Iron-Age Rubbish Pits to a Roman Villa, Wittenham

    The Iron Age hill fort in Wittenham is an impressive monument. From behind its perimeter ramparts the hilltop offers commanding views of the Thames and the surrounding Oxfordshire landscape.

    But it is dwarfed and overlooked by a neighbouring hill less than 150 metres away. What did the Iron Age tribe use this second, much larger, hill for? Was it a ritual site where they buried their dead? Or did the people who built the fort live on its slopes?

    After some initial setbacks and a bit of trouble with the local newts, the Time Team find the answer in a surprising place, gradually piecing together one of the most extensive Iron Age landscapes ever discovered in Britain.

  • Episode 10 - Cranborne Chase, Dorset

    Dorset farmer Simon Meadon's land is packed with archaeology. There's a large Roman building, which might be a villa, but may be too big. On the other side of the hill there's a Bronze Age boundary ditch, a circular ring-ditch, Iron Age or Roman enclosures and another Roman building.

    But most importantly, a number of burials have been found on Simon's farm. No one knows for sure who these people were. Three of them look like they're probably Romano-British, but the others might be later. Were they related to the large Roman building on the other side of the hill? Were people being buried here because there were prehistoric ritual monuments in the area? Are there prehistoric burials here as well? And what about the post-Roman people?

    The Team have the task of untangling all the elements of the site, and then trying to identify more clearly who these people were, whether there are more of them buried here, and how they might be linked with the archaeology around them.

  • Episode 11 - King Cnut's manor, Nassington

    Ogling a Grade One listed 15th-century manor would be enough for most people - but not for the Time Team. They have to rip up the floorboards and look underneath, because somewhere around this Northamptonshire house there should be a fine Saxon hall that once belonged to no less a figure than King Cnut.

    Although better known for trying to command the sea in his day, Cnut was also famed as a great hunter. Did this site once play host to the great Anglo-Danish king and his retinue? Tony and the Team have three days to find out.

  • Episode 12 - Back-Garden Archaeology Revisiting a Roman Villa, Ipswich

    Back in the 1940s, Basil Brown, the man who discovered Sutton Hoo, uncovered enough Roman remains in an Ipswich suburb to believe he had found the largest villa in East Anglia.

    But the plans are tantalisingly vague and, what's more, the site of the villa is buried under numerous back gardens.

    Tony Robinson and the Team take on the task of locating the remains of Brown's villa and see if they can join up the dots - notwithstanding the garden sheds, fishponds, lawns and patios in the way.

    Was Brown right? They have three days to find the answer.

  • Episode 13 - The Lost City of Roxburgh, Roxburgh

    Five hundred years ago, a major city occupied what is now a large and empty field in the Scottish Borders.

    Founded by a king as a hub for international trade, Roxburgh was, along with Edinburgh, Stirling and Berwick, one of the four great centres of medieval Scotland.

    But while the other three became thriving cities, Roxburgh simply vanished. There are plenty of documents but only a ruined castle remains as a clue to the town's layout.

    It has lain untouched since its final decline in the 16th century - now Tony and the Team have a unique chance to uncover whatever remains under the pasture.

Time Team synopsis

In this popular and (literally) groundbreaking programme, Tony Robinson and a team of experts travel the country to investigate a wide range of archaeological sites of historical importance

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16 Series, 173 Episodes

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