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 9 Summary

The 2002 series saw Time Team investigating the Bronze-Age remains of what might have been London's first bridge, diving for a Spanish Armada shipwreck and finding early traces of the Industrial Revolution beneath a Shropshire pub.

  • Episode 1 - London's First Bridge, Vauxhall

    On the foreshore of the river Thames, just opposite the MI6 headquarters at Vauxhall, London, some old timbers - a series of posts or piles driven into the riverbed - have been discovered peeping out of the water at low tide.

    Two Bronze Age spearheads, each around 3000 years old, have also been found thrust hard into the foreshore nearby. Could these timbers be the remains of London's first bridge or the supports of a platform where Bronze-Age people made offerings to the river gods?

    As usual, Time Team has just three days to find out.

  • Episode 2 - The Romans Panic, Lincolnshire

    The small Lincolnshire town of Ancaster lies on Ermine Street, which is a major Roman road heading north from London.

    The only Roman remains visible today are some massive earth banks and ditches, which have been dated to the 4th century.

    So what was here before these defences and why were they built?

  • Episode 3 - Diving for the Armada, Kinlochbervie

    Originally discovered by divers from RAF Lossiemouth, an amazing shipwreck lies some 20 metres down on the seabed just off the coast of Kinlochbervie, in north-west Scotland.

    Finds of cannons, anchors and pottery have been discovered. But how did this ship end up here, and was she once part of the Spanish Armada?

  • Episode 4 - The Naughty Monastery, Chicksands

    The Chicksands military base in the heart of Bedfordshire is home to the joint armed services intelligence departments. Very hush hush, as they used to say in the 1940s.

    Time Team was invited there by the base commandant, Brigadier Chris Holtom, to try to discover a bit more about the history and archaeology of the officers' mess. The mess was once a part of a 13th-century monastery, run by a home-grown English order known as the Gilbertines.

    The Gilbertines were no ordinary monastic order. Best known for their unusual practice of having both monks and nuns on the same site, they were the cause of both gossip and, at times, scandal. What secrets could Time Team unveil about the nuns and monks who lived here?

  • Episode 5 - The Furnace in the Cellar, Ironbridge

    This programme takes Time Team back to the earliest beginnings of the Industrial Revolution in the area now known as the Ironbridge Gorge, in Shropshire.

    In the village of Leighton the Team is investigating a particularly interesting cellar; the archaeology could take us back nearly 400 years. The cellar, based in a pub, contains the remains of a blast furnace - used for making iron.

    What more can be discovered about the story of Leighton's lost furnace?

  • Episode 6 - An Ermine Street Pub, Cheshunt

    Back in the 1950s and 1960s, two families of amateur archaeologists began excavating some Roman remains in what is now a public park in Cheshunt, Hertfordshire. They were told to keep quiet about their finds because the British Museum believed they might indicate the existence of an important Roman site.

    The site is located on the route of one of Britain's main Roman roads, Ermine Street, which linked London with Lincoln, and from there with the principal Roman town in the north of England, York.

    Could Time Team find the line of Ermine Street, no sign of which exists above ground in Cheshunt Park today? And what else lies beneath the grass, which has remained undisturbed since the excavations of those amateur archaeologists 40 years or so ago?

  • Episode 7 - Iron-Age Market, Helford

    Two large, impressive enclosures, or earthworks, can be seen at Gear and Caer Vallack, near Helford in Cornwall.

    Sited on top of adjacent hills, they were thought by Victorian archaeologists to be Iron-Age hillforts. Though the local population knows them well, very little is understood about their origins.

    Were these enclosures indeed prehistoric strongholds as the Victorian archaeologists surmised? Time Team decide to find out.

  • Episode 8 - Siege House in Shropshire

    High Ercall Hall, in Shropshire, is the very picture of rural tranquillity today, but 355 years ago, at the height of the English Civil War, more than 200 Royalist troops were crammed inside the walls fighting for their lives.

    They'd already survived two bloody sieges but the final attack was to prove too much. The strategic fortress fell into Parliamentary hands.

    Time Team was invited by the owner of High Ercall Hall to unravel the mystery of this fascinating, if confusing, site - and as usual, there were just three days in which to do it.

  • Episode 9 - A Prehistoric Airfield, Throckmorton

    A disused RAF bomber base, with one of the longest runways in the country, currently covers a large area near the village of Throckmorton.

    Though still in commission, large parts of the base are now occupied only by grassland. The recent national foot-and-mouth outbreak brought new action to the base, however: as a disposal site for the carcasses of slaughter cattle and sheep.

    Before the government started burying cremated animals here, though, they had a geophysics survey done of the site. Enough prospective archaeological features were discovered to make the authorities relocate their disposal area.

    So what is the archaeology all about? It looks like a dense Iron-Age or Bronze-Age settlement, judging by the geophysics results. What was happening here in prehistoric times and how big was the settlement? Time Team is here to try to find out.

  • Episode 10 - A Lost Roman City, Castleford

    This programme sees Time Team travelling north and back in time to the Roman period.

    The Yorkshire town of Castleford, though home to a successful rugby team, has fallen on hard times. The people of the town are eager to establish a new museum to display their heritage and Time Team is keen to help.

    Castleford is situated on a strategically important river crossing and excavations carried out previously in the area suggest there could be important Roman remains here. What can the Team uncover in the three days available?

  • Episode 11 - Every Castle Needs a Lord, Warwickshire

    A single stone stands on a hill at Henley-in-Arden, Warwickshire.

    It's the only remnant of what was once a huge medieval castle. So where is the rest of this once-proud stronghold?

    Time Team has the usual three days to find out.

  • Episode 12 - Steptoe et Filius, Isle of Wight

    When a water-pipe trench was recently being dug across a field at Yaverland, on the Isle of Wight, a local archaeologist discovered evidence of Roman occupation on the site.

    Although he had time to carry out only a limited excavation, the material it produced - including marble fragments that may indicate a high-status building nearby ¿ was enough to spark Time Team's interest.

    What was actually here on the high ground overlooking what would have been a navigable creek in Roman times?

  • Episode 13 - Seven Buckets and a Buckle, Breamore, Hampshire

    Byzantine 'buckets', Anglo-Saxon spear heads, shields, a disproportionate number of double burials - the cemetery that Time Team excavated for the 2001 'Live' opened an important new window onto the so-called 'Dark Ages'.

  • Episode 14 - The Big Dig in Canterbury

    It's been described as the most ambitious archaeological project Britain has ever known. One eighth of the entire ancient city of Canterbury is being excavated in advance of a massive redevelopment scheme. The excavation, just inside the city walls in the south east of Canterbury, is known as the 'Big Dig' locally, and will take four years to complete.

    The archaeologists responsible for the Big Dig are working to a much tighter time scale, though. The excavations are taking place in phases, each of which has to be completed by a set date, at which time the developers move in, destroying or burying what is left of the archaeology beneath new buildings.

    Time Team followed the progress of the Big Dig for nine months during 2000-2001, both on the excavation site and behind the scenes, and helped the archaeologists to reconstruct the 2000-year-old story of this historic piece of Canterbury real estate.

    At least they had more than the usual three days to do it in.

  • Episode 15 - Londinium, Edge of Empire

    Two thousand years ago, London didn't exist. It was created by the Romans in the first century AD, when they settled in the area now occupied by the City. The settlement started as a simple bridge over the River Thames, but within 100 years it had become a bustling city with a population of 30,000.

    A long way from Rome, Londinium has tended to be regarded as something of a frontier town, an unsophisticated outpost perched precariously on the very edge of the Roman empire.

    In the past decade, however, a huge amount of redevelopment has taken place in the City, providing an unparalleled opportunity for archaeologists to find out more about the old Roman city beneath the modern streets and buildings.

    What they've discovered suggests that far from being a relatively uncivilised backwater, Londinium was in fact one of the most sophisticated and advanced cities in the entire empire.

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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