In this final Thirty-One days of Time Team, we will be throwing it back to an older episode of the series. Tony Robinson has long hair! Today, the Time Team is hunting for a Mammoth.
Time Team is a landfill and underneath all the rubbish there is a village where Stone Age Britons lived. There have been remains of Mammoths in the ground. Will the Time Team find the remains of mammoths? What will the remains of the mammoths tell the Time Team about Stone Age Britain? The Time Team is in a gravel pit and will try to find out more about the history of Oxford.
Phil Harding talks about how the gravel pit is typical of paleolithic sites and talks about how the gravel pit was formed. A channel was carved into the Oxford landscape. However, nobody discovered the channel edges. Intact surfaces from the prehistoric environment are rare and so the Time Team will use geophysics to distinguish the natural environment. This is the first time geophysics will be used this way.
John Gater talks about the challenges of working in those conditions. Gater hopes that the rain will hold off. If it rains, geophysics may not work in this landscape. The Time Team is hopeful that geophysics will work. An air tent is set up in the field to help house the technology used.
A trench goes in and immediately they find bones. Excavating in the gravel pits has been a challenge because of the bones. It takes three days to excavate proper bones. This will cause some delays for the Time Team. Keeping Phil Harding on track will be a challenge. In trench one, they are discovering the remains of a tree. This may be where the river bank was.
On the south end of the pit, the Time Team is looking for the channel and where the river cut a channel. Christine Buckingham is in charge of the site. She believes that the river moved over decades. Will the Time Team be able to find the edges of the river?
Mick Ashton gets in on the dig and discovers a mammoth tooth on the site. It shows that the mammoth was eating lush green vegetation. The animal was about 30 years old and would have stood to 10 feet tall. It even adapted to the British environment. The mammoth is a distraction from finding the river. Mick talks about the challenges of trying to save archeology and trying to determine the environment. Is destroying some known finds provide additional information worth it? So will archeology be destroyed to determine the environment?
Mick and Tony go up in the air to see the landscape from above. Mick talks with Tony about the history of the area and why the Time Team is focusing on the geology of the area. Did the landscape support human habitation? If it did, how many people live in the area?
The next day, a large trench will be dug. It will go over the mammoth tusks. Unfortunately, the weather has changed. It has rained for five hours and turned the sand into the mud. One trench will be covered and a second one will be dug. Unfortunately for geophysics will face an uphill challenge trying to discover the edges of the channel. In the second trench, another channel was discovered. Is this a hint of a series of river channels? Tune into Time Team to find out!
This particular episode of the Time Team would be excellent for a geology class and good for a history class. Hunting for Mammoths is unusual because the Time Team focused more on geology.
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