TL;DR – Today we chart every location visited during 20 Seasons of Time Team one of the most wonderful shows to ever grace British television.
Well, today we are continuing our Mapping British TV week with Time Team (after looking at Grand Designs earlier). Time Team is one of those rare shows that was at its heart is an educational show, but it also was one of the most entertaining things on TV in its time. That is such a difficult balance to get right and like Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego this is one of the other rare shows that actually managed to pull that off.
For those who don’t know about Time Team, it is a show about exploring the history of the British Isles (and some other places). The show would arrive at a site where people have some questions about a hill, or lump of stone, or an odd blip on a map, and from here they have just three days to excavate as much of the site as possible. They are looking for important finds like mosaic floors of the Romans, motte-and-bailey castles of the Normans, WW2 fornications, ditches next to roads, and never any Roman temples, okay bar that one time. The team includes host Tony Robinson, lead field archaeologist Phil Harding, and experts like Mick Aston, Francis Pryor, Helen Geake, John Gater, Raksha Dave, Stewart Ainsworth, and many more.
The format might be something that goes against most archaeological digs that happen over months and years, but it makes for some great TV. In the end, what the show is mostly doing is engaging in the first prep work on sites for local archaeological groups who could not afford the geophysics themselves. Through this, they have made finds that have reshaped the way that we look at parts of British history.
My love for the show comes from many places. There is the interaction between the hosts and the teams, the allure that at any moment something major could be found that would have Tony Robinson dashing across the site to instigate, Phil’s hat, and also learning about the history of the world. I think thanks to this show I can give you a more in-depth view of the history of Great Britain than I can of my own country, but that may also be an indictment on the history standards in 1990s Australian schools. So without further delving into the past, let’s delve into the past.