Virtual Archaeology with Time Team is going Live Now – Medieval Chapel

By Brigid Gallagher 02/06/2011

Last night I had an email from Time Teams location manager Kerry Ely.  Originally he was the archaeological site supervisor and  great man to have around on a dig.   He said that he was in the pub in true Time Team fashion.  You can only imagine what a group of archaeologists, a television crew and a production team get up to in small towns across the British Isles! Beside him was the lovely head of sound, Stevie, and a wonderful camera assistant named Jack. 

All in all I can imagine a rowdy bunch of around 60 + people, joking, discussing the last week, and discussing archaeology.  Pubs are the uncensored labs, offices and meeting rooms for British archaeologists. They are often where the best work and ideas are thought over, debated over and decided, or not.

The Time Team are away on their 5th shoot of the series for the next viewing year, at Bamburgh Castle, in Northumbria.  They were at Bamburgh last year also making this an unusual  site.   Time Team does not normally return to a site.  It has done so only a couple of times before.  The Team must have left the site last time feeling as though there were more gems to reveal.  The web leads us to believe they are hoping to find a medieval chapel.

Now, it is about 10.30am Thursday morning in the UK as I write this.  Filming would have begun on site.  Tony would, hopefully, have completed his piece to camera for the introduction, John and the geophysics crew should be busy surveying and perhaps coming through with the first results, the incident room should be bursting with researchers, historian and other specialists looking at maps, old documents and computers.  Phil should be on site looking about and thinking about the first trench; if he is lucky he may already have broken the turf.  The other archaeologists may be drinking coffee and waiting for the call to get in the trench, or others, to begin excavating.

Also on site this year is a web based team.  Very shortly the should begin uploading short blog style video content to the web.  Time Team Digital is a new concept to Time Team.  For the next 3 days it allows people to watch excerpts and interviews of the team as the excavation happens, and hopefully followers get a sense that they are experiencing a real archaeological dig, with its discovery, discussion and interpretations.  Without having to wait for the edited episode next year. 

This should be an interesting way of viewing a whole lot of archaeologists, scientists and historians working through the process of an archaeological dig.  And taking you along for the ride….

Go check it out, it would be good to hear what you like about it afterwards.

0 Responses to “Virtual Archaeology with Time Team is going Live Now – Medieval Chapel”

  • Thanks for mentioning this, I wouldn’t have known about it otherwise. I have spent a couple of enjoyable hours watching the clips. I always enjoyed the behind the scenes stuff – like the Time Team Extra that ran for a couple of seasons waaaay back when.

    • Great to hear…I think archaeology is a fabulous ‘time waster’! Ha
      ve you become a member??

  • It is tempting with the UK-NZ exchange rate so good right now, but I’m not sure it is worth it for non-UK residents. Maybe once there’s more info about merchandise or deals.

    • There seems to be a lot incentives if you are in UK and can travel to them. I guess for many it is about being ‘part of something’ they enjoy.

  • Hello Brigid,

    Hope the claw is all right. Time Team is showing here on the ABC. Mr Robinson is a bit of a worry. As an archaeologist, I reckon he’d make a swell comedian. Needs kick in arse.

    To my mind, Time Team has delivered a valuable lesson on methodology to the general punter, but has, alas, degenerated into a treasure hunt. If that sounds ponderous, arch and smart-bummed, it probably is … the web site is a disgrace. Indiana Bloody Jones! Jeez!

    I’m part of an archaeological network here in Oz, mainly historical. Do you know Pete Douglas? Justin McCarthy? Prof Richard Wright?

    Cheers. Tony.

    • Hey Tony, I guess like any programme some people like the presenter and some people dont. In favour of our Baldrick, he is a well known comedian attracting people not normally into history, Tony got into the programme because he thinks history and archaeology is worth it, and knows a fair bit too, and because he is not an archaeologist he can cut through some of the jargon we would come out with and get out the essentials.

      As an archaeologist you have to remember…archaeological reality is not always good tv and the editors and presenters edit and present to suit a wide audience so it is best to read the actual archaeological reports generated rather than just watch the programme, the complexity of the content has increased over time as the public have become more educated, they have not just learnt about methodology, they have learnt to care about their history and stand up for it, which has far greater long term impacts on society…and perhaps most importantly, because of the increased visibility and accessablity to archaeology, policy, guidelines and media attention have all developed with Time Teams 18 year run.

      As for the digital website…this kind of stuff is the future it seems. Its graphics etc are very ‘popular’, but perhaps that is where they are pitching it…at the next generation/a new demographic? I have not asked.

      Unfortunately I have not yet got to grips with archaeologists and practise in Australia since returning to NZ. I hope I have the chance to in the future. With regard the 3 archaeologists mentioned…I have of course heard of Richard Wright. What great work archaeologists are doing with war and mass graves, it must be very rewarding to part of something which informs family of what has happened to their loved ones.


  • Hey Brigid, interesting comments! 🙂 I’ve always loved archaeology and, as a youngster, (a long time ago – I’m now 44) wanted to pursue it as a career. I was talked out of it at the time, given an ‘apparent’ lack of employment for archaeologists here in Australia (at least thats what my parents told me). Anyway, about six months ago, I saw an ad on the History Channel with ‘Baldric’ talking about Roman archaeology – it was of course an ad for Time Team. I tuned in and was immediately hooked. I knew little about the field of archaeology, but the show was very ‘accessable’ and informative, and ultimately led me to want to read more – including the TT reports on the Wessex Archaeology website. Since that first viewing of the program, I’ve actually enrolled in an Degree (Leicester via Distance Learning) and am absolutely loving it.

    I’m not sure that there is any scope for fieldwork volunteers down this way (Aus/NZ), but am hoping to get back to England in 2013 to gain some first hand experience. 🙂

    (Alternatively, if my luck TT membership number comes up, I might have to get across there earlier…)



    • That is great Andrew, good on you! Your story sums up exactly what I was talking about, and one of the successes of Time Team. I am glad you found the Wessex Archaeology reports, they are the unbiased professional reports that interprete the archaeological evidence. These are the ones that are archived in county depositories for archaeologists, researchers and interested public etc to access for info about the sites evaluated by Time Team.

      BTW I can absolutely identify with your parents recommendations…I had the same reaction when I was at school. I hope you get a chance to volunteer on some sites in Australia, and you get to the UK. Working with that length of history on a daily basis gives you a different perspective.

      All the best,

  • Brigid what a bright light you shine onto Archaeology and the Time Team, thank you for that. I myself have no idea about the subject but am totally taken in every week night here in Queensland Australia c/o the History Channel that shows two Time Team shows each evening. One can learn so much and I certainly have and again having your input into the show has and is fantastic.
    The trouble now is History is repeating shows now which is a nuisance but then that happens. I believe you are now back in New Zealand working a pity as I am sure the Time Team could still do with your input as I believe they are going on for at least another year yet ( I might be wrong there ). Whatever all the best with your work and input to Archaeology very much appreciated.

    Peter Watson