Wednesday, July 3, 2013
Time Team- An Archaeological Gem loses a member and comes to an end!
Time Team is one of my favourite British shows ever. Described by Channel 4 as "Tony Robinson and a team of experts travel the country to investigate a wide range of archaeological sites of historical importance", this is the kind of reality show I really love. Not a lecture but a real archaeological experience.
Even if you think you have no interest in archaeology, you will love seeing the kind of things which can be dug up in the fields and backyards of England by this quirky group of Brits.
Tony Robinson is the host, and you may know him as I did from the Blackadder series. Baldrick he is not in this show, but he is a friendly interpreter of the science behind each episode's 3 day long dig.
Mick Aston, who sadly just died a few weeks ago, was partly responsible for the creation of Time Team after telling series producer Tim Taylor that it would be possible to evaluate a site in only 3 days. He loved all things medieval and monastic and was passionate about communicating archaeology to the public. We will miss this sweet man with his colourful sweaters and his flyaway hair, but most of all his down to earth demeanor and love of digging in the dirt!
Phil Harding, with his pirate like West Country accent (Arrr mateys) and his Indiana Jones hat adds a bit of spice to every show. He can be cantankerous, especially if Tony is giving him a hard time about his current trench and it's lack of artifacts, but he is always up for a laugh. He loves to do recreations of the history of the site being dug, especially if it involves his fave era, prehistory.
Helen Geake is always a ray of sunshine with her rosy cheeks and her lovely smile. She is an expert on Anglo Saxons and small finds and she loves to sift through historical records to find documents relevant to the dig.
John Gater is the geophys expert on Time Team. "What is geophys?" I hear you ask. The geophysics team has to survey the site before any digging begins to see where potential walls or buildings might be found. And he often gets flak from Tony about leading them on a merry chase, however most times the geophys is impressively accurate!
As the Time Team "Landscape Investigator", Stewart Ainsworth looks at aerial photos and generally marches around a site to see if any clues about the area can be found by just merely "looking". He is a quiet, gentle soul who often brings a lot of information about the dig from his observations.
So if you find it interesting that people in Britain can dig up Roman coins and medieval pottery in their own backyard, you may want to check this out.
In Canada you can find episodes on the TVO website http://ww3.tvo.org/program/166030/time-team (I loooove TVO, our public broadcaster) and in the UK they are on the BBC4 website http://www.channel4.com/programmes/time-team.
The rest of you will have to catch episodes on YouTube. Here is a great place to start, 20 years of Time Team: http://youtu.be/1FP9TAErBFw