In this Time Team special the team tries to find the 1066 battlefield. Willam the Conqueror invaded England in 1066 changing the course of English history. Where this history took place is a mystery. No archeological evidence of the 1066 battlefield has been found. The Battle of Hastings at 1066 was one of the most ferocious battles in English history. It was brutal and bloody. So where is the battlefield? Time Team has been given unprecedented access to the official 1066 battlefield.
Tony Robinson starts by discussing the history of 1066. 1066 had a seismic impact on English history. The aristocracy was removed and replaced with foreigners. Castles appeared in the English landscape for the first time. The battle was the thought of William, Duke of Normandy. He was the cousin of the English king. When the English King died, another man seized the throne. William then made his way over to England and won the English throne.
Later in English history, an abbey was built on the site of the battlefield. The Normans built an altar where Harold, the noble who attempted to take the throne, died. Unfortunately, there was no evidence of a battle that took place at the site. No bones, no weapons were found. Both sides had about 7,000 men each. Harold had lost a lot of men defeating a Viking army. It was a challenge to cobble together an army. William had taken Hastings and was ready to fast Harold.
Several English historians finally started to challenge the real story about the location of the battle. They looked to the chronicles. The chronicles said that the battle was fought on the high ground and not on level ground. The monks built the abbey four years after the battle and built it on a flat piece of the ground after getting advice from the locals.
Time Team starts investigating the official battlefield and then the Hill where the historians believe that the 1066 battle took place. Immediately, they run into problems because there are historical reenactments that take place on the official battlefield. They will have to strip a layer of ground off the site because of the modern debris in the soil. They will have to be careful when they remove the top layer. 900-year-old remains will be fragile, so they take care in removing the top ground layer.
Phil talks with one of the reenactors about what items would be dropped. The reenactors talk about dropping teeth and bits and pieces off his uniform. Weapons, even broken weapons, would be taken off the battlefield. Anything that could be repaired was taken. Scavengers would take care of the rest. Tony looks at the Bayeux Tapestry. It was a record of the Battle of Hastings. It was created in Canterbury. William the Conqueror’s half brother commissioned the tapestry. Although it is an excellent piece of work, it demonstrates how little is known about the Battle of Hastings
The Time Team goes over the plowed area with metal detectors. They find metal nails and some archeology. The dig continues. It is a risk for English Heritage because the dig could find evidence that the battle did not take place where legend says it did.
This is an excellent Time Team episode. It is so intriguing with its different angles as to the true location of the Battle of Hastings. Tony Robinson narrates this episode very well and with a great deal of humor. This would be one episode I would show to a history classroom or a science classroom because of all the theories and tests that are shown in this episode. So does Time Team find the actual location of the Battle of Hastings, continue to watch to find out!
One summer treat is ice cream, so why not do a Time Team about the Ice Cream Villa? The Time Team examines a site near an ice cream factory. Tony Robinson introduces the ice cream-making amateur archeologists who believe they discovered a Roman villa in a nearby field. Lloyd Wix, one of the ice cream scientists, talks about what they are finding in the field. Tony jokes that they have a week to explore the field, in reality, it is three days.
Over the years, there have been plenty of Roman Era finds. The aerial photographs are showing something in the ground. This site was producing Roman finds for decades. There was something present on the site. The geophysics team goes out on the site.
Typically, Roman villas were built in a U-shape. The main house was in the middle of the U was flanked by side rooms. The foundations of the Ice Cream Villa should give the geophysics team something to find. Unfortunately, the building that should be found easily is proving to be a challenge. The results are showing a bunch of noise in the ground. Stewart Ainsworth, a landscape archeologist, questions why a villa would be built where it was.
In the meantime, Tony examines the finds that have come out of the field. They have found over a ton of Roman material. Helen Geake and Philipa Walton are examining the artifacts that were discovered. There were pieces of jewelry and a lot of coins found. It was the largest discovery of Roman coins in the countryside.
Phil Harding digs out a test pit. Geophysics is proving to be a challenge for everyone. The results are confusing. Tony discusses how closely the field was examined. So Time Team had no option but to dig a test trench. They are making quite a few discoveries in the trench. They open up a second trench to look for a ditch. Then a third trench is opened. The first day is proving to be a disappointment. Tony, Lloyd, and a geophysicist go over the map that Lloyd created of the field.
With Lloyd’s map, they extend trench three. It was the spot where Lloyd and his team found a high amount of archelogy. They are finding more archeology in the trench. Stewart looks for the roads that would have connected the villa to the main roads. He eventually finds the road that connected the villa to the main road. They add a fourth trench based on what the local archeologists discussed. Everything has gone wrong with this dig. The Time Team is not finding a building.
To continue to learn more about the mysterious Ice Cream Villa, continue to watch the episode.
This is a humorous episode. It almost seemed it was anarchy on the field. There were parts of it you could hear Tony’s exasperated voice. At the start, the archeologists and geophysics team are frustrated with the results they are getting. Almost everything was exclaimed with “you haven’t found the villa.” Everyone was convinced that there was a villa in the field. However, they could not find a building on the field. They found evidence of life, but not the house that the life was lived at.
This episode can be shown in both history and science classrooms. For a science classroom, it could prompt discussion on why the scientific method fails or why the tools could fail. Everything could go wrong with this dig, went wrong with this dig. It would be a good example of why things fail, despite overwhelming evidence. The evidence the Time Team was finding was confusing.
You can access the YouTube Video here.
Good morning! Today I will feature Time Team: An Incredible Discovery in Turkdean. Tony Robinson starts the episode in the field explaining that there was something large in the field. During a dry period, a farmer saw the outlines of something massive in the ground. It was so massive that he decided to draw out what he saw. Another amateur archeologist spotted lines from a helicopter. The lines follow the plan for a Roman Villa. The Team has three days to find out what is in the ground. Tony believes that three days will not be enough for the team.
Photos from the site show clear lines in the ground. Tony wonders why they are seeing clear lines. Mick explains that it is from dead grass on top of the wall. He demonstrates this idea by walking the field. The wall underneath the grass is killing it. However, the Time Team still needs to plan where they are going to put their trenches. They sent out the geophysics team and go over the site. The field is mapped and geophysics results are good. It convinces everyone that there is a large villa in the field. Then the team puts in two trenches. They barely take off the turf before they discover walls.
In the meantime, they also plan on exploring the history of the Villa. The geophysics hint that there is a large villa underground. The team goes over the plans for previous villas discovered in England. Historians compare the villa site to other known Roman Villas. What they conclude surprises Tony: the team is excavating the biggest villa discovered in England.
The villa was built in the 4th Century. Whoever built it was rich. It could have been a local farmer. It could have been a wealthy Roman immigrant. Was the villa built piecemeal or was it built over a month? The team concludes that the site was well selected. There were springs nearby and the Roman road was not that far either. It was built in the heart of Roman Britain.
Mick and Tony go up in a helicopter and take in the field. Mick narrates what they are seeing. There are clear white lines in the grass. It also looks like there are additional buildings on the site. The villa is looking like a complex. Both Mick and Tony are surprised at what they are seeing from the sky.
In the meantime, Phil Harding is helping train an archeological apprentice. He also helps a blacksmith cast a pewter bowl. England was a source of materials for pewter for the Romans. The first step in casting a pewter bowl is to make a cast.
Carenza, a second archeologist, continues with the dig. The Time Team is finding the remains of walls and rooms. They are finding roof tiles as well. There is a dog’s footprint in one of the tiles. Just when they think they have control over the archeology, the geophysics team comes back. The geophysics is showing that the villa is bigger than what they thought. There is a second courtyard.
To continue to learn about this villa, watch the episode. This is one episode I would show in the classroom. If you do not have time to show it in a classroom, then make it an extra credit assignment. If a student is studying Ancient Rome for their independent study, then recommend this episode. This episode builds up as the dig progresses. It is not a “dreadful” build-up either. There is a sense of excitement in this episode. This episode of Time Team is worth sharing in a classroom.
You can access the YouTube Video here.
Time Team is a British archeology series hosted by Tony Robinson. It aired from 1994 until 2014. Tony Robinson provides series narration. Mick Aston or Francis Pryor lead the site archeologists and provide context for the site. Phil Harding is the lead field archeologist. Over 20 series the team is joined by a variety of experts who help provide context for the period. Each expert is appropriate to the site and period.
Tony Robinson introduces the newest dig. It is in a field next to a Nuclear Power Plant. It is intriguing, according to the ariel maps of the site. The line shows something big in the ground. What is it? It may have been a Roman Fort. It may have been a Roman villa. Tony has high hopes for the site, fingers crossed. Or as he says “may the gods be with us.”
In the shadow of a power plant, the team starts their work. In the 1960s, a Ph.D. student started to work on the site. Farmers were plowing up Roman remains. He wanted to know why and he found a Roman wall. He did not know what it is. All he found was a building and a mosaic, unfortunately, he did not know what the building was. The Time Team is going to continue this man’s work. The man left behind a good record of what he had found. He seems to have hinted that the building was a villa.
The first step was to figure out where he put his original trenches. So the geophysics team runs radar and magnetometry around the site to figure out where these trenches were put. Where the mystery building was located was set in a good farming landscape.
The magnetometry results are generated and the team examines them carefully. They may have found the edge of the building. They thought they found a building, unfortunately, it is not the case. There is only one clear line that they can see and the rest is just jumbled-up debris. The results are inconclusive so they start digging.
Once they start digging the first trench, they immediately find a section of mosaic. Tony is hopeful that they will find more. They bring out the finds from the original discovery and talk about what these finds could mean.
In the meantime, tension rises as the first trench is dug. They find a lot of burning going on in the spot. It shows that something burned down here. Was it the building that burned down? The radar results are getting finalized and it is even worse than the magnetometer results. This will not be an easy dig. It will not give anyone a good idea of where to put the next trenches.
The second trench reveals mortar and then three stones. They find a Roman wall. It is good news for the team. Are these the same walls that the 1960s expedition found? They will have to investigate.
There are tantalizing hints that the building in the field was a Roman Villa. That guess seems impossible because a majority of Roman villas were found in Italy. The site is revealing that this is not the case. Is the Roman Mosaic under Phil’s toolbox? Continue to watch to find out.
Time Team is a fantastic series to show in the classroom. There are a variety of shows that cover a variety of topics. Teachers should be able to find something to show in the classroom. Tony is a humourous narrator who will keep the students engaged with the material. Phil is also fun to watch as he digs.
You can find this episode of Time Team on YouTube here.
For July Fifth, I am going to share a classic Time Team episode: Maryland, USA. The team explores St. Mary’s City, Maryland. It is one of the earliest colonial sites in America. A park grew up around the area with reconstructed buildings. Time Team will work with the American archeologists to continue to excavate the site.
They plan to look at the cemetery, which could be the biggest colonial cemetery that they know of. Then they look at St. Peter’s a brick manor house. It was the biggest home in the colony. Finally, they will look for the original fort. There are two possible spots where the fort could be. The geophysics team had gotten a start on the site. It was the first time that geophysics was used on the St. Mary’s site.
1694 the St. Peter’s home was destroyed by gun powder, so they are using a magnetometer to determine where the house was. The funny piece about this is that all electronics needed American adapters. They found a clear building in the results. The St. Peter’s site had been dug before to determine where the house was, unfortunately, the person did not leave any records as to the location of the building. The archeologists begin digging. They find the walls of the house based on geophysics.
In the 1630s the chapel was built and the Time Team looks to see how big the cemetery was. The site manager shows the Time Team a burial that happened.
The team moves to the fort and may have found the site of the original fort. The site manager is cautious about it because the site was used as part of the 300th Anniversary of Maryland. Tony Robinson mentions that it is typical Time Team: staring off with two sites, wanting to narrow it down to three but then ending up with three sites.
Tony comments that American Archeologists are different from British Archeologists in that the Americans work slower than their British counterparts. The site manager points out that American history is not as deep in the ground as British history and so they do take their time to find out what they can about a site. Tony asks Phil if he is coming to an understanding in regards to the work speed. Phil is saying he is adapting. Tony comments that the American way does not miss a thing and that they found a musket ball as a result of the approach.
Stewart that he found the correct site for the original fort. The site manager is not sure about that assertion. He found more air photos of the site that show faint walls and towers. From the available evidence, the St. Mary’s fort had four sides. Stewart has been finding additional effort for the location of the fort. The landscape is helping firm his assertions as to the true location of the fort. Did Stewart find the true location of the fort? Continue to watch to find out.
You can access the YouTube video here.
I am glad to finally be able to share a blog about Time Team. It is a fantastic show with a variety of topics teachers can choose from.
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