Covering the end of Time Team feels like writing an obituary. The programme has been there for much of my personal journey through archaeology. I first stumbled across it in 1996 as a channel-hopping schoolboy hoping to delay my homework a little longer. Stunned by the team’s discoveries at Stanton Harcourt, watching the episode was a very different experience to the only previous time I had witnessed an excavation. Then I travelled for over an hour to an open day, where I was bombarded with technical jargon that convinced me archaeology was beyond my understanding.
Time Team had the opposite effect. 5 months after that first episode I enrolled on a dig so I could try it for myself. 2 years later I was studying the subject at the University of Nottingham. Chatting to my fellow students and staff quickly revealed the programme was not to everyone’s taste, but they had all seen it. Over the years I have seen Time Team in action five times, and was always struck by how the work of bringing the past to life continued off camera. Whether it was Tony explaining the site to a group of school children, or Phil guiding visiting students through the complexities of a trench, they were tireless ambassadors for archaeology. This issue we chart the rise and fall of a landmark series.
Elsewhere we look at some fascinating skeletons from the Royal London Hospital that shed light on the age of bodysnatchers, examine how Hadrian’s Wall inspired countless generations after the fall of Rome and, in the first of a series of articles looking at brochs, investigate the design of these mysterious ‘towers of prehistory’.
Finally, we have the details of the 2013 Current Archaeology Conference and awards. I hope that you are as excited as I am about the fascinating speakers we have lined up. Do buy your tickets and get voting now.
The rise and fall of a television phenomenon
We look back at the trials and triumphs of a programme that, during 20 years in the trenches, rewrote the rules of how archaeology is presented.
Doctors, dissection, and resurrection men at the London Hospital
Excavation at a lost 19th-century hospital cemetery has shed new light on the shadowy world of the body snatchers – and their pivotal influence on medical history.
From frontier to tourist trap
The border works are an immediately recognisable symbol of imperial influence in Britain, but how have interpretations of Hadrian’s Wall changed since the Romans left?
Deciphering 2,500-year-old architecture
A towering presence in the Scottish prehistoric, what can these structures tell us abut the communities who built them?
Scotland’s first house?; Mesolithic Merseyside; Murmillo magic; Cornwall’s chequered past; Changing tombs; The importance of being Edburg; Full steam ahead; A taxing discovery; Bronze age bathing.
The latest details of Current Archaeology Live! 2013
Egypt in England; Villa Landscapes in the Roman North; A Bioarchaeological Study of Medieval Burials on the Site of St Mary Spital; First Souvenirs
As Time Team ends its 20-year run, Jim Mower reflects on two decades of television archaeology and asks: what’s next?
Chris Catling’s irreverent take on heritage issues.
Mick’s Dig Diary
In his new bi-monthly column, Mick Aston explores local archaeology projects, beginning with his current research at Winscombe, Somerset.
The Richard III Society