Time Team

Season 19 Episode 6

Swansea, Wales

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Aired Sunday 5:45 PM Feb 26, 2012 on Channel 4

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    • Tony: I'm in Swansea in South Wales, epicentre of an industry that changed the world and it's not steel and it's not coal and it not slate. It's an industry intimately connected with the slave trade that employed thousands of people and generated inconceivable wealth for the privileged few. If I'd been standing here two hundred years ago, this is what I would have seen (raises black and white sketch of industrial town) known as Copperopolis it was copper smelting that put Swansea at the very heart of the industrial revolution. We want to discover why this sleepy backwater became the birthplace of the global copper trade. As usual we've got just 3 days to come up with some answers but let me tell you without copper we wouldn't have any walkie-talkies, we wouldn't be able to work that digger, we certainly wouldn't have any geo-phys all pretty crucial stuff, well maybe not the geo-phys.

    • Tony: (v.o.) Copper production once devastated this landscape, leeching deadly toxins into the ground and sending countless workers to an early grave.
      Matt: The real danger is getting any of the soil in your mouths, so gloves on at all times and when you go offsite gloves off, wash hands all that kind of stuff.

    • Alex: But there's a chance then if we do find something you'll be able to come down here and look at it and…
      Ronnie: and say it's mine.

    • Francis: Thing is we had rain this morning, so there's no dust. If there was dust we'd ask you to wear a mask, it's why we're wearing gloves. This ground is so polluted from the days of copper smelting, there's arsenic, there's sulphuric acid, there's cadmium, there's lead and cyanide. Lick that floor and you're dead.
      Tony: I don't think I will then.

    • Mary-Ann: And that's what ties this simple copper bracelet to one of the worst crimes in human history

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