Wessex Archaeology has had an involvement with Time Team
from the very beginning, through one of the programme’s best known characters, Phil Harding
. In recent years, however, we have taken over much of the archaeological ‘technical support’ for the team. Time Team’s main aim, of course, is to produce very good television programmes which have a wide audience, but what they do in the field is really not much different to our work as contract archaeologists, and it’s important that the archaeology is treated in the same way.
We are responsible for making sure that all Time Team’s trenches are properly recorded, using standard techniques, and that a report is compiled at the end of the dig, to present the results. We work closely with the people carrying out the site survey, the geophysical survey and the landscape survey, all of whose results are incorporated in our reports.
One of the rewards of our work with Time Team is the opportunity to work on a wide range of sites, some of which we would not normally get a chance to investigate. Over the years, our staff have participated in digs from Cornwall to the north of Scotland, in northern Ireland, France, Spain and the United States, covering a wide time span and cultural range – an Iron Age village in Cornwall, a Scottish broch, Caerwent Roman town, a Saxon cemetery, a Tudor bishop’s palace, a pioneering Manchester cotton mill and a Normandy D-Day site are just a few of the sites we have been involved in. One of the most recent sites was right here in Salisbury
, where three trenches were dug around the cathedral.
Over the years, too, many interesting objects have been found. Alongside the everyday refuse of pottery sherds and animal bones have come gold and silver coins, Roman glass vessels, beautifully made Saxon brooches and some very early bone spectacle frames.