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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 5 Summary

This is archaeology against the clock as the Time Team hit the road with just three days to investigate, excavate and extrapolate. Dig locations include, Richmond, Aston Eyre and Mallorca.

  • Episode 1 - Richmond

    The first dig of the series isn't set in some deserted field but on the immaculate lawns of Trumpeters House in Richmond, near London. Records show it was the site of a royal palace from the time of Edward III through to Elizabeth I, who died there. Destroyed during Cromwell's Commonwealth, the site has lain unexcavated.

    Tony Robinson and the Time Team have just three days to find the remains of the inner sanctum of the royal private apartments. And they only have permission to dig just three trenches in the landscaped grounds. Can Time Team not only beat the clock but persuade the lawn owners that a fourth trench will reveal all?

  • Episode 2 - Grevlake

    In Iron Age times, the lowlands of Somerset were marshland, with occasional high ground supporting human habitation. Boats couldn't cross the expansive swamps so, ingeniously, wooden walkways stretching for hundreds of yards were built.

    Time Team have just three days to find out if early, vague 1920s reports of excavations will re-reveal peat-preserved remains, (peat is one of the few mediums that, because of the water content keeps wood from rotting) of one of these walkways, now buried under drained agricultural fields. Tony Robinson and Phil Harding lead a small team, armed with the type of tools of the time, on a practical exercise to build an exact replica of the walkway.

  • Episode 3 - Orkney

    Time Team's third outing sees them in Scotland, after schoolchildren on the Orkney island of Sanday asked them to investigate local mounds that could, reputedly, be of Viking origin. This is the first time the Team have looked for Norse archaeological finds.

  • Episode 4 - Turkdean

    In August 1997, Time Team attempted their most ambitious project ever - three days of live excavation with the very real possibility of finding precisely nothing. The weekend ended with evidence of a Romano-British villa complex that is one of the largest ever found in Britain. This programme is an edited version of that weekend, capturing the key moments of exciting finds and day-by-day evidence of the growing extent of the site.

    Three of the finds that particularly captured the atmosphere of the weekend are a roof tile bearing a Roman dog's paw print, a rare 'friendship' brooch and a perfectly preserved Roman 'plunge' bath. The programme includes startling new information about both the finds and the importance of the site for British archaeology.

  • Episode 5 - Mallorca

    This series' overseas visit is to Mallorca in pursuit of the Beaker people, an enigmatic culture thought by some to have been responsible for the introduction of metal work into Britain.

    Traces of the Beaker people are few and far between but on the island of Mallorca, an entire settlement has been uncovered, including a 'maze' that presents some difficulties and a temple site that may have links to astronomical implications.

  • Episode 6 - Aston Eyre

    Time Team's efforts are concentrated as much above the ground as beneath as they travel to Aston Eyre, Shropshire where a farmhouse converted from a medieval gatehouse is just the starting point for three days of hard work. Because behind it is a derelict building that would, in the 14th century, have been the grand hall of the lord of the manor and, as Tony Robinson points out as he is lifted above the site, a `whole complex of buildings, a jumble of remains which will provide a unique picture of medieval life'.

    Over the centuries, the hall has been altered but as the Time Team bring their expertise to bear on the standing buildings as well as excavating the foundations of long-gone structures and mapping out the surrounding area, the deserted manor comes to life. And, since there are written records from the period, there is also a poignant tale about the fate of the family who lived and worked in the manor house at Aston Eyre.

  • Episode 7 - Downpatrick

    Time Team travel to Downpatrick, one of Ireland's most sacred sites where St Patrick, patron saint of All Ireland, set up his first church. On Cathedral Hill sits a magnificent church renovated from its medieval origins in the 18th century. In just three days, Time Team are trying to find evidence of the early Christian monastery and the later Benedictine buildings (St Patrick's 5th century buildings of wood would have left no trace).

    Their main aims are to try and find the foundations of the 70 foot tall bell tower, dating from around the 10th century and known from paintings to have been standing in the late 18th century and establish the boundaries of the monastery. It being Time Team, one search proves fruitless but the weekend ends with evidence of an extensive bank and ditch boundary, the foundations of a high status medieval guesthouse, with pottery and window glass finds and a food preparation building with unique rubbish chutes into a charnel pit for the bones of a huge variety of animals, indicating that the monastery and their guests enjoyed an incredibly rich diet!

  • Episode 8 - Worsall

    In the last in the current series, Tony Robinson leads the Time Team to Teesside. It has been known for years that just yards from the current village is the site of a medieval village but the riddle the Team have just three days to unravel is why it was abandoned so suddenly, literally disappearing off the map. The answer, eventually found through both archaeology and through records of the time, is as unexpected as it is shocking.

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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