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Digging for Britain

August 20, 2010

One of the ways to judge a television programme – in our house, at least – is to see whether you find yourself still watching at the end despite having more important things to do. ‘Digging For Britain’, the much-trailed archaeology series presented by Alice Roberts, finally aired last night – and passed the test.

Covering a year’s worth of Roman archaeology in one programme meant there was plenty of material, and no need to resort to either padding or sensationalism. Blurry footage of re-enactors in the dark, overdramatic music and saying the same thing several different ways were all mercifully absent.

What we DID get was a trip around Roman Britain that included the huge Somerset hoard, the biggest archaeological site in the country or possibly the universe (it’s the course of a new road in Kent), a beautiful lamp from Suffolk with its finely-worked chain still in place, and yes, those babies’ skeletons from Hambledon Roman Villa that we’ve discussed here before. The ones that might or might not be evidence for a brothel.

Two favourite moments: first, the way a rusted lump of metal at Vindolanda suddenly made sense when we were told it was the neck-guard from an army helmet. Second, the way the remains of the lost babies of Hambledon had been carefully stored in shotgun cartridge cases, waiting to be rediscovered almost a hundred years later in the store-rooms of Aylesbury museum.

Gentle reader, should you need a break from all those important things that need
to be done, here’s where you can catch it on iplayer over the next 28 days.

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2 comments

  1. Definitely better than ‘Chasing Mummies’! Although very ‘British’ in format (follow presenter everywhere). Still, very agreable, very interesting, and yeey for the iPlayer! =)


  2. Enjoyed the second program more and why did they start with Roman and then go back in time????

    I thought the Roman program was rushed and that they tried to get to much into one program Also Dr Alice wasn’t quite as enthused about Roman as she was about the neolithic\stone age et al.

    Still she has come a long way from being a digger on Timeteam.



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