Episode Guides

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 8 Summary

Time Team's eighth series has seen the Team digging up a Norman castle, investigating a bone cave in Gloucestershire and looking for an Iron-Age village on Salisbury Plain - in the middle of a tank-training zone!

  • Episode 1 - Anglo-Saxon Cemetery in Lincolnshire

    On the surface it looks just like any other large Lincolnshire field. But when a pipe was laid across it a couple of years previously the trench dug then revealed a number of shallow graves.

    An exploratory dig in 1998 identified them as Anglo-Saxon - on a site which also threw up large quantities of Roman remains. An earlier water pipe, laid in 1954, had uncovered a lot of Roman pottery here too.

    So what did it all indicate? And what could Time Team learn about this possible Anglo-Saxon cemetery and former Roman settlement in the three days available?

  • Episode 2 - The Man Who Bought a Castle, Alderton, Northamptonshire

    A couple of years ago, local man Derek Batten was driving through the village of Alderton, near Northampton, when he was surprised to see a sign advertising a castle and moat for sale.

    He was intrigued because he didn't even know there was a castle in the area. He decided to find out more - and ended up buying what was believed to be the remains of a Norman castle, now almost completely covered by trees and vegetation.

    Unable to discover very much else about the site, he contacted Time Team. The Team's task was to find out who built it, when, and how much of it remains.

  • Episode 3 - The Celtic Spring, Llygadwy, Wales

    In a secluded valley in Wales, what may be a medieval or even Roman trackway leads down to a natural spring.

    Right in the middle of it is a megalith, a large standing stone, perhaps 3000 years older than the track. Nearby, there are the remains of what appears to be a Neolithic tomb, and overlooking it what is reputed locally to be a Norman - or maybe Roman - watchtower.

    Stones in a ruined building on the site have early Christian symbols inscribed on them, leading to speculation that it may have been an early chapel. And in and around the spring itself the landowner has found hundreds of Roman coins, medieval jewellery, blades, buckles, statuettes and a strange collection of weirdly carved stone heads.

    Time Team set out to uncover the story behind this strange collection of archaeological features and finds.

  • Episode 4 - A Waltham Villa, Gloucestershire

    Waltham field, in the village of Whittington, five miles from Cheltenham. Alerted by Gloucester County Archaeology, the Team have come in search of a Roman villa.

    The last time this happened, at Turkdean, also in Gloucestershire, the site turned out to be so good that Time Team couldn't resist returning for a second look. What would happen this time?

  • Episode 5 - The Lost Viaduct, Blaenafon, South Wales

    Time Team came to Blaenafon, in south Wales, to look for the world's first railway viaduct.

    Forty metres long and ten metres high, this ten-arch stone construction had been built back in 1790 to carry coal to the new Blaenafon blast furnaces, which were at the forefront of the Industrial Revolution in Wales.

    Yet within 25 years of it being built, it had 'disappeared' from the landscape. There was no record of it having been demolished - so where had it gone?

  • Episode 6 - A Palace Sold for Scrap, Rycote, Oxfordshire

    Time Team came to Rycote Park, in Oxfordshire, to try to find the remains of a grand country house that once played host to five reigning monarchs.

    What was left of the original Tudor mansion, built in the 1520s and believed to have burnt down and been abandoned in 1745? As usual, Time Team had just three days to find out.

  • Episode 7 - An Iron-Age Roundhouse on Salisbury Plain

    Salisbury Plain, as well as being the British Army's biggest training ground, is one of Europe's most extensive areas of undisturbed archaeology. Over 38,000 hectares - an area the size of the Isle of Wight - is given over to the military here.

    Time Team was called in to investigate a site believed to contain the remains of settlements spanning both the Iron Age and the Roman era. The aim was to find sufficient evidence to get the site scheduled by English Heritage ¿ so protecting it for the future.

  • Episode 8 - The Bone Cave, Alveston, Gloucestershire

    A tiny entrance to a cave in the village of Alveston, Gloucestershire, leads to a grisly archaeological discovery.

    For 10 metres down, beyond a narrow, winding shaft, the rock opens out to form a natural underground chamber. Here two local cavers found the floor littered with animal - and human - bones. In fact, they found bones from at least three different people, together with pottery that they took to be Roman.

    Who were these people? How did their bones get there? And what do their bones tell us about their deaths?

  • Episode 9 - The Inter-City Villa, Basildon, Berkshire

    In 1838, navvies laying Brunel's Great Western Railway found two Roman floor mosaics, probably from a villa, at Lower Basildon, in Berkshire.

    The mosaics were broken up and the site almost forgotten until recent aerial photographs revealed a series of crop marks in the fields by the railway.

    Did Brunel's Great Western cut through a Roman villa? And what else might Time Team find in these fields?

  • Episode 10 - Holy Island, Northumberland

    After it ceased to be a centre for Christian monks in the 1530s, Lindisfarne, or Holy Island, off the far north-east English coast, became a military base.

    There was a garrison there for 250 years, and the island is as full of military archaeology as it is religious.

    Time Team came to investigate a field in the middle of the island's village, known locally, for no obvious reason, as 'the palace'.

  • Episode 11 - The Leaning Tower of Bridgnorth, Shropshire

    A 70-feet-tall Norman tower and some other stonework is all that's left of a great castle built exactly 900 years ago and around which grew up the town of Bridgnorth in Shropshire.

    The castle was occupied for around five centuries, surviving at least four lengthy sieges until finally it fell to Cromwell's army in the English Civil War.

    He left it much as it is today, leaning at an angle of 15 degrees ¿ three times more than the famous leaning tower of Pisa. The rest of it is gone - destroyed or plundered - along with all of the town's early records.

    The people of Bridgnorth asked Time Team to try to paint a picture of what it might have looked like in its heyday.

  • Episode 12 - Three Tales of Canterbury

    Over the August bank holiday weekend last year, Time Team took a crew of around 100 people to Canterbury for a three-day live dig. Or, rather, for three three-day digs because the live event focused upon three different sites.

    One, at Blue Boy Yard, in the centre of the city, saw the Team looking for signs of the Roman temple and precinct that once stood on this site. At a second, also in the centre of Canterbury, the Team was seeking out remains of Greyfriars, Britain's first Franciscan priory. And a third, on Tyler Hill on the outskirts of the city, saw them investigating a medieval tile-making industry.

    This programme tells the story of the three digs - our three tales of Canterbury.

  • Episode 13 - The Leper Hospital, Winchester

    About a mile outside Winchester, just outside the city boundaries, is a field which, 900 years ago, was home to the city's outcasts.

    The people who lived there were united by a terrible bond - a disease that disfigured their bodies and condemned them to a life of exile.

    The disease was leprosy and their home was the St Mary Magdalene leper hospital. Time Team set out to discover what was left of it under the grass in what the locals still know as Hospital Field.

  • Episode 14 - The Mystery of Mine Howe, Orkney

    In September 1999, local farmer Douglas Paterson, of Tankerness in Orkney, rediscovered a remarkable underground structure which had remained half forgotten and almost consigned to the annals of local folklore since its original discovery over 50 years ago.

    Time Team geophysicist John Gater gave viewers a 'taster' of this enigmatic structure in the 1999 Time Team Christmas Special, and this summer Time Team filmed the excavation of the Mine Howe site for a special documentary shown at Christmas 2000.

  • Episode 15 - The Island of the Eels, Ely

    For six months in the latter half of 2000, Time Team followed an excavation in Ely, Cambridgeshire, for a special 90-minute documentary.

    The excavation, carried out by the Cambridge Archaeological Unit, covered a strip of land the size of two football pitches, running down to the river Ouse from Broad Street in the centre of the town.

    It revealed a remarkable picture of Ely in past centuries: channels where boats used to moor to load and unload goods; a medieval kiln with huge quantities of high-quality pottery finds; and a series of buildings from different periods fronting the road at Broad Street.

    What could the dig tell us about the history of the 'island of the eels'? And how far back could it trace the origins of this cathedral city?

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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