Thirty-One Days of the Time Team continues for March! Today the Time Team is in Wales and they are on the hunt for King Harold. Photographs and a petition brought Time Team to the site in Wales. The Time Team is investigating a site at Portskewett, Wales.
King Harold was history’s biggest loser, he lost the battle of Hastings. The site where he set up court, was never excavated. Then the locals banded together and organized a petition to have the site excavated. The site on Harold’s Field was a scheduled site, which banned digging from taking place. However, with the petition, the Time Team was allowed to dig. What will the Time Team find on the site? Is it even connected to King Harold?
Aerial photos of the site show that there is something on the site. There were earthworks. It was so important that the site was declared a monument, which prevented archeologists from examining the site. Harold’s Field, legend has it was connected to King Harold. He built a hunting lodge on the site. Harold was the second most wealthy man in the country. He attempted to use the lodge to impress the King. Did Harold use the site for a hunting lodge? Or did the name of the field come from the Victorian’s? The Time Team will find out.
Unfortunately, Phil is injured so he will not be able to dig on the site. He plans on using his brain and “making himself a nuisance.” When the first trench goes in, Phil makes the first discovery. It is a piece of Medieval pottery. Phil is feeling triumphant announcing “see you don’t need your hands to do archeology.”
So how did this site get connected with King Harold? The answer is found in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle. Before King Edward was king, Harold was on a military campaign in Wales. Once he emerged victoriously, he built a lodge on the site to consolidate his power. He also wanted to impress the aging King Edward. However, determining if the site was Saxon and had a building will prove to be a challenge.
How long did this building last? It could have been a short time because the Welsh attacked the building. However, beyond the connections to King Harold, Portskewett was a trading hub. Time Team will investigate that connection as well. Locals have dug around the site and discovered pottery from the Medieval period. The Time Team is finding that and more on Harold’s Field site. They are finding walls and terracing on the field. There may have been a Medieval manor on the site. There was activity over time.
In the meantime, Stewart Ainsworth is examining the landscape, as well as the lumps and bumps. He finds one lump that hints at a building. Based on his evidence, a second trench is put in. He also discovers evidence of a creek, which was used for trading and connected Portskewett to the outside world. Portskewett was on a major trading road and it was on this creek the citizens could participate in trade. Over time the creek silted up and cut off Portskewett from its trading roots.
What else will the Time Team find? Will they find the Saxon layer? Tune into this episode to find out more about Portskewett and King Harold.
Time Team tells the story of King Harold and trading in Portskewett. This dig was an interesting watch because of the different angles. Time Team also brought in a pottery expert to the site and he had a lot to say about the history of the site. It was also cool to see Tony dig up a piece of pot. This would be a good episode for an English history class or an independent study student.
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