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Time Team

Updated on August 2, 2013

Time Team

I have been watching the archaeological programme, Time Team, on British TV since 1994. It is one of those programmes, you either love it or hate it. The digs are carried out over 3 days from the first spadeful to completion. These are done by experts in their fields and for serious investigations not just entertainment. Anyone with an interest in the past and in the process of archaeological methods and analysis will have their curiosity satisfied.

What makes it even more entertaining are the same characters that appear week after week, each with their own opinion and not always in agreement with each other as to the best ways to go about the dig, or even where to put the first exploratory trench.

Presenting the programme is SirTony Robinson, famous amongst other things for playing Baldrick in the Blackadder Series on British TV, which ran from 1983 - 1989.

Time Team in Britain

Time Team is a British television series shown on Channel 4 since 1994. Presented by actor Tony Robinson, a team of specialists carry out an archaeological dig in three days, with Robinson explaining the process Category: Wiktionary - :in layman's terms|in layman's terms.

Time Team has had many companion shows during its run, including Time Team Extra, History Hunters and Time Team Digs. The series also features special episodes, often documentaries on history or archaeology, and live episodes. Time Team America a US version of the programme has been broadcast on PBS from July 2009, and co-produced by Oregon Public Broadcasting and Videotext/C4i.

Time Team was developed from an earlier Channel 4 series Time Signs, first broadcast in 1991. Produced by Tim Taylor, it featured Mick Aston and Phil Harding, who both went on to appear on Time Team.

Read more on Wikipedia

Sir Tony Robinson

Sir Tony Robinson, the series presenter, is probably best known for his role as Baldrick in Blackadder and as the Sheriff of Nottingham in Maid Marion and Her Merry Men, which he also wrote. He has a keen interest in history and archaeology - he is president of the Young Archaeologists' Club - and is particularly fascinated by ancient Greece and the biblical lands of the Middle East.


Phil Harding

Phil still works as a field archaeologist with Wessex Archaeology, and has been involved in a project listing all known Palaeolithic sites in Britain. He has also completed a number of excavation reports – including some for Time Team – on sites ranging from the Palaeolithic to the Industrial Revolution. He continues to demonstrate flint-knapping at craft shows and to local societies.

Mick Aston

For Mick, archaeology was an academic area in which passion, enthusiasm and experience still counted, and he spent most of his life trying to get the public interested in all aspects of archaeology - which explained his involvement in Time Team.

It is with sad regret that we have lost a great man and academic. Mick Aston passed away in June 2013.

Stewart Ainsworth

Not only does he work for Time Team, but he also has a full-time job as a senior investigator and project manager for English Heritage. Based in York, his area of operation covers the north of England. Together with his skilled team of investigators, Stewart travels the countryside surveying, recording and investigating archaeological sites.

John Gater

John has been involved in archaeological geophysics for 18 years, working for British Gas, the Ancient Monuments Laboratory (English Heritage) and Bradford University Research.John is interested in 'investigating without digging' all periods of archaeology. His favourite Time Team site is Athelney in Somerset, part of the very first series, where he was fascinated to see how the shape of the medieval building gradually became apparent.

Helen Geake

Helen Geake joined Time Team as a regular for the 2006 series. She had previously worked as a digger during the 1998 Time Team Live and as a specialist adviser on Anglo-Saxon burials for the 2001 Live.

Join the Time Team Club

Time Team have just completed filming the final episode of Series 20 which should air in early 2013 on Channel 4, but you can still join the Time Team Club.

Become a member of the Time Team Club and uncover a bucket load of goodies including:

Club membership card and badge

Your own Time Team club membership number (Tony Robinson has TT0001)

Priority tickets to lectures/presentations by the Time Team

Special deals and exclusive access to Time Team merchandise

A signed copy of The Time Team Guide to Archaeological Sites in Britain and Ireland

Membership will cost £42 per annum - that’s just £3.50 a month! with £1 being donated to YAC; the Young Archaeologists Club.

There is also an installments option where you sign up for 12 monthly payments of £3.70 each, giving a total annual cost of £44.40 for those unable to buy a full membership up front.

The Time Team Club

Time Team Britain

Mick Aston reveals the secrets of Time Team

The Time team is Britain's longest running archaeology TV series. Here, Professor Mick Aston, the leader of the Time Team, reveals the secrets behind the programme's success.

"We don't cheat, we really do it in three days. We arrive the night before, but of course a great deal of preliminary work has already been done. A researcher has gone to the site, talked to the county archaeologist, got all the SMR stuff, gone to the National Monuments Record, talked to the landowner, and talked to the local museum about the deposition of finds. These are all the things a normal unit would do."


Geophysics in Archaeology

Geophysicists gather data by surveying along established grid lines, which allows them to make an "underground map" of the site. It is important to create a reliable site grid. Geophysical maps need to be able to accurately reference specific areas of the site in order for the results to be useful. Survey data is first processed on a computer, and then the blobs and squiggles are carefully analyzed by the highly-trained geophysicists. As Colin put it, Meg reads geophysics maps "like a radiologist reads an X-ray." What she is looking for are anomalies, something that is different or stands out from everything around it. Anomalies represent changes in the soil that could mean a buried feature such as a hearth, abandoned well or garbage midden - archaeological paydirt!


Time Team in America

Time Team America is an American television series that airs on PBS. It premiered on July 8, 2009. It is an Oregon Public Broadcasting adaptation of the British show Time Team, produced in collaboration with Channel 4 which commissioned the original show, in which a team of archeologists and other experts is given 72 hours to excavate an historic site

The U.S. version features "freelance and university-affiliated experts [who] mostly join existing excavations...[and] arrive with resources that the archaeologists already on the case usually can't afford and specific questions that, if answered, will advance the understanding of the site."

Read more on Wikipaedia

Time Team America

Time Team America

Archaeological Publications

Check out the latest

Archaeological Magazines

Archaeology Magazines

Metal Detectors

The metal detector can be seen to be used quite frequently on Time Team. When the soil is removed from a trench, a metal detector is passed over the spoil heap to make sure no metal artefacts or coins are missed. Metal detectors are also popular with amateurs for the same reasons and many great archaeological finds have been made by this method. The main thing is that these amateur finds are reported to the local professional archaeologists so that their true significance in understanding the history of the area is not lost. (It is also illegal to keep the finding of significant treasure trove from the authorities)

Metal Detecting for the Beginner
Metal Detecting for the Beginner

The QDII has features that are generally only found on higher priced units:

* The LCD screen can indicate what type of metal has been found

* Indicates approximate depth

* The Notch Modes work well for filtering out most trash items

Garrett Ace 350 Metal Detector Treasure Hunter Package W/Free Headphones & DVD
Garrett Ace 350 Metal Detector Treasure Hunter Package W/Free Headphones & DVD

The QDII has features that are generally only found on higher priced units:

* The LCD screen can indicate what type of metal has been found

* Indicates approximate depth

* The Notch Modes work well for filtering out most trash items


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    • delia-delia profile image


      7 years ago

      I love these types of shows, anything with research...I believe I have seen the time-team show on PBS here in the US. I watched the new Egyptian archeological show with Dr. Zahi Hawass, it was to be a reality show but turned out a really a poorly acted couldn't get into the had horrible ratings and comments

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      I like this show too! Much better than the usual reality show we get on TV.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      I learned new stuff here. So, thanks for the educational fun!


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