Time Team's Greatest Discoveries
With over 250 amazing sites and tens of thousands of finds to draw on, it's hardly surprising the Team find it hard to decide which has been their greatest discovery.
Revisiting digs that produced rare and fine jewellery, gold coins, huge and intricate mosaics - and some extraordinary archaeological fakery - Mick Aston, Phil Harding and Helen Geake defend and debate their choices for top honours. It's down to Tony Robinson to adjudicate.moreless
Tony Robinson investigates how burial customs have changed and evolved over thousands of years of British history.
How to lose a castle.
For generations a family of Somerset farmers have been wondering if there was ever actually a castle on top of the hill they call Castle Hill.
Records show there was a Norman castle in the area, but they are not clear about exactly where and there are several likely locations.
The only answer is for Tony and the Team to dig - once all the kit has been hauled up the steep slopes.
The geophysics looks exciting, throwing up almost immediately what looks like the outline of a perfect castle keep. But as the three days progress everything is far from clear.moreless
Rome's wild west
The Roman legionary fort of Caerleon in South Wales is one of the most famous and best preserved Roman sites in Britain.
It stood on the edge of the Roman Empire, but its huge amphitheatre and immense baths, and the scale of its ruined walls, are all testament to its power and importance.
But just outside the fort, archaeologists have discovered signs of yet another huge structure leading from the fort down to the river. It seems to be a vast courtyard surrounded by stone buildings and with a mysterious square structure standing in the centre.moreless
Secrets of the dunes.
Eight hundred years ago the people of Kenfig on the south coast of Wales thought they had built the perfect town, nestled round a harbour with easy access to the sea and a sheltered position.
The town appears to have been a thriving commercial success but then it vanished, leaving just a few castle walls to mark its existence.
Extraordinarily, the ruins of the complete town are believed to still lie buried under the immense sand dunes that have covered the whole site since a series of violent storms lashed the coast over 500 years ago.
But even before the storms made life untenable in Kenfig, it seems that the Welsh locals weren't too keen on its Angle-Norman settlers. There are records of a series of attacks from early in the town's life.moreless
The only Earl is Essex.
Property magnate Paul Whight has two very expensive hobbies. He collects and drives classic racing cars, which he keeps in the grounds of his second obsession - his beautiful stately home and garden in Essex.
Paul is so keen to know everything he can about the history of his home that he's rashly invited Tony Robinson and Time Team in to do their worst.
The site used to be owned by one of the nation's foremost families, the De Veres, who were better known as the Earls of Oxford.
In the twelfth century they founded a grand priory somewhere on this site, and centuries later they may well have built themselves a fine country house.
What's more, the most famous and dissolute Earl of Oxford - who some believe wrote Shakespeare's plays - might even be buried here.moreless
A copper bottomed dig.
Two hundred years ago, Swansea was one of the wealthiest cities in the country, if not the world. The source of those riches was neither the coal nor the steel recently associated with the area, but copper.
The Welsh port city once led the world in copper smelting, but today there's almost nothing to be seen of this unique heritage. So Tony Robinson and the Team investigate one of the very first copper works, White Rock.
Records show that its Great Workhouse housed as many as 20 furnaces, right by the River Tawe, and also that copper production once devastated this landscape, leeching deadly toxins into the ground and sending countless workers to an early grave.
The poisonous fumes blighted the landscape, and the valley was described as akin to Dante's Inferno, with smoke, noise and pollution. It's a complete contrast to what can be seen there today.moreless
Chapel of secrets.
Tony leads the Team to the village of Beadnell on a beautiful stretch of the Northumbrian coast, to explore an unusual promontory, from which mysterious fragments of human bone have emerged over recent years.
Legend ties the site to local seventh-century Saint Ebbe, and it's widely believed that a 13th-century chapel stood here. But could there also be the remains of an earlier structure on the site, perhaps dating to the time of St Ebbe herself? Or are the earthworks on the promontory an indication of Viking or even Iron Age inhabitants?
The only way to find out is by putting spades into the earth, but, before long, the Team are stumbling onto confusing signs of Second World War defences. And then, shockingly, they find skeletons of babies in the trenches. It's a sobering discovery, and one that raises more questions than it answers.moreless
The first King of racing.
Tony and the Team visit Newmarket, the birthplace of horseracing, in search of the earliest archaeological traces of the sport of kings. They dig in the heart of the historic town, in search of the remains of King Charles II's racing stables - arguably the world's first stables dedicated for racing.
It's the last chance to work here, as construction is about to begin on a multi-million-pound National Horseracing Museum.
From the start of the dig, the challenge for the Team is to find evidence that will enable them to distinguish a racing stable from an 'ordinary' royal stable block. The pressure's on for team leader Jackie McKinley to deliver the key small find or insight. With a thick layer of concrete lying over the site, it's not an easy task.moreless
The drowned town.
Tony Robinson and the Team head to Dunwich, a village that's literally falling off the edge of the UK. Coastal erosion has eaten away most of this once-bustling settlement, and before the whole place is lost to the sea, there's a last chance to find out more about the lost origins of this dramatically situated town.
Could it even be possible to prove conclusively that it dates from Anglo-Saxon times?
But the archaeologists face a huge challenge. Up around the old walls they have to dig one of the deepest trenches they've attempted in recent years. And on a second site by the popular beach cafe, they're searching for an early medieval hospital. But it's not easy to access in the gaps between the fish and chip shop, crowded car park and public toilets.moreless
A village affair.
There's a problem in the chocolate-box village of Bitterley in Shropshire. The village's school and cottages cluster prettily around the green. But the village church and the manor house lie more than half a mile away, on the other side of a lumpy, bumpy empty field.
The villagers, led by energetic community archaeology group leader June Buckard, have been exploring the field and believe that their village used to be much bigger, with the field full of houses and streets. They have called in Tony Robinson and the Team to see if they're right.
Dig By Wire
Tony Robinson and the team visit a tiny windswept island off the coast of Wales. The only way to get to it is by rigging a 500-metre zip wire way above the wave-lashed rocks. Incredibly, it seems that Gateholm Island in Pembrokeshire was once inhabited, but whether by Romans, Vikings, Celts or druids nobody knows.
A handful of mysterious objects were found on the island years ago, including a rare Roman stone phallus and a beautiful bronze stag, suggesting that it may have been some sort of religious centre. Of course, the team have to dig for answers, but the weather's throwing everything it has at them.moreless
Rediscovering Ancient Britain
For thousands of years, nomadic tribes roamed freely across Britain. But by 5000 BC they were starting to settle down, and a landmark of the south west - the Dorset Ridgeway - became a magnet for thousands.
Secrets of the Saxon gold.
In July 2009, amateur metal detectorist Terry Herbert found an Anglo-Saxon treasure hoard worth over £3 million in a Staffordshire field. Now, with the initial phase of the post-excavation process nearing completion, archaeologists are beginning to unlock the secrets of the hoard.
After further digging and carefully unpicking the jumble of finds, experts from Birmingham and Stoke-on-Trent Museums have realised there were over 3500 objects buried in this small area with the gold alone weighing 11 pounds.moreless
Searching for Shakespeare's House.
Tony and the Team join a group of archaeologists as they dig the site of William Shakespeare's house, New Place, in Stratford-upon-Avon.
There's little of it above ground now, but records show it was Tudor Stratford's biggest private home, with up to 20 rooms and a dozen servants. However, in 1702, New Place was demolished to make way for a grand Georgian pile.
That Georgian house sat right on the street, so for the last hundred years or more, it's been assumed that it was also the site of New Place. But a recently discovered document casts doubt on that theory.moreless