Phil had a sample of his DNA taken, and Professor Bryan Sykes of Oxford Ancestors came along to explain what it revealed. On his mother's side, Phil was found to be the descendant of a woman who lived 20,000 years ago in the Dordogne. These people moved north following the herds of big game, and Bryan Sykes told Phil that his maternal ancestors may well have been among the first people to come to Britain after the last ice age. On his father's side, his ancestry is part of what Bryan described as the 'Celtic bedrock' that makes up perhaps four fifths of the genetic inheritance of the British Isles.
Tony: Take a look at this. I bet you're thinking that's just another piddling piece of Time Team pot. But it could be the key to something that's really hard to come by.
Hundreds more bits of pot from the Anglo-Saxon period, that's the centuries after the Romans left, have been found up here at Knave Hill in Leicestershire. Could they be cremation urns, is this an early cemetery, or could this even be evidence of one of the rarest and trickiest of archaeological prizes, an Anglo-Saxon settlement?
Tony: Why is finding Anglo Saxon settlements so hard?
Mick: At that time, there's not as much pottery around; in some parts of the country there's none at all. The whole material culture doesn't have as much metalwork. And of course the buildings are made of timber, so they rot away and disappear.
Tony: In 15 years of Time Team can you ever remember us having a robust Anglo-Saxon house?
Phil: No, but I can think of many many times when we've looked for one.
Tony: But If there's a haystack and a needle, Time Team all knows how to excavate it.
International Air Dates:
Australia: 7th April, 2009
Mid-Saxon Pottery (c. 450 – 850 AD)
Iron Age storage jar (c 100 BCE)
Anglo Saxon iron knife
Trace the DNA ancestry of Phil Harding to Anglo-Saxon roots.
Tony: So we're going to stick a trench in and we're going to come straight down on Anglo-Saxon buildings, aren't you being a tiny bit Mary Poppins?
Mary Poppins is a fictional character and the protagonist of Pamela Travers's eponymous books. She is a magical nanny of unknown origins who teaches children valuable lessons with a magical touch.