Time Team on Saturday

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Holyrood House
Holyrood House one of the sites in the Big Royal Dig. Photo by Ozzzie.

Don’t know if I’ll write a proper entry on this so here are my notes. There are bits I missed or mis­un­der­stood, par­tic­u­larly on the Buckingham Palace dig, so it’s not going to be a 100% accur­ate account of the programme.

19:25

Stock foot­age of Royal pomp to remind us what roy­alty is. Doesn’t she ever get tired of hear­ing that tune?

19:30

Fortunately the pro­gramme resur­faces from what could have been wear­ingly hagi­o­graphic. They’re explain­ing how George IV decided he needed a fan­cier house, hence Buckingham Palace. George’s lack fo restraint appar­ently exten­ded to thou­sands of mis­tresses, alogn with his open fin­ances and massive ego. Buckingham Palace is part of a rivalry with Napoleon. He wanted to sur­pass Napoleon’s imper­ial palaces by import­ing French fur­niture en masse. “George IV was the most the­at­rical mon­arch.” The bill came to 3/4 mil­lion pounds. The mod­ern equi­val­ent is £1.7 billion.

19:40

They start Picking apart the phases of Buckingham Palace. Surprisingly little known before Goring House. Geophysics, usu­ally a magic wand for the pro­gramme fails. They go into more detail into the build­ing of Buckingham House to explain more about what they might find. Brief his­tory of Buckingham House. It owned by the Duke of Buckingham, a man who after mak­ing “a brisk attempt on the King’s Daughter” was banned from palace and pos­ted to Tangiers. Married ille­git­im­ate daugh­ter of the last Stuart King.

19:45

They’ve not found the canal, but they reckon they have found the course of the River Tyburn by cor­ing. The reason they don’t think it’s a canal is that the sed­i­ments are coarse grains. Canals it seems carry fine grains because their flow is more gen­teel. They decide to open a trench so they bring in the dig­ger. They’re run­ning the dig­ger along boards across the lawn!

Digger at Buckingham Palace

19:50

They’ve found a brick. It must be some­thing about the name Phil. The trench does not look fun. The base is all clayey and stodgy. Five seconds later… I win the slow on the uptake award for the day. What else would you line a canal with? The bricks are also part of the lin­ing. The canal is orna­mental, a garden fea­ture. From this we know the upper-classes used to like nice gar­dens. The canal may have oblit­er­ated the earlier remains on site.

19:55

Hello to Neil Oliver, an enga­gingly intense nar­rator. Give me an early 16th cen­tury palace or give me death. Or a 12th cen­tury abbey. Describes the Kings who moved into the abbey as “Royal squat­ters”. Plenty of maps, show­ing the vari­ation in per­spect­ive and the uncer­tainty in the exact lay­out of the site.

20:00

Why have an abbey here? While out hunt­ing a white stag unseats King David. The stag pre­pares to gore him, but its antlers trans­form into a cross which Dave grabs. The stag runs off so he takes this as a sign to found an abbey here. Holy means holy and rood means cross. Geofizz are to search for the abbey. They’re look­ing for the refrect­ory which became the Great Hall of James IV. Out comes the mech­an­ical dig­ger. They’ve hit the abbey. Neil finds out they were more relaxed monks but not quite “slacker monks”. They may have found the wall of the east range of the cloister.

20:15

Now at Windsor, the old­est and largest palace in the world. Tim Tatton-Brown is look­ing for what came before the chapel in the Lower Ward. Thought to be a huge hall. Julian Munby is look­ing for a big round build­ing, but he’s not too sure on what it is. Windsor built on a cliff over­look­ing the Thames by William. Showing what a motte and bailey castle is. Henry II and III change the castle to a palace. Looking at the interior archi­tec­ture. The achingly yel­low walls are turn­ing the presenters yellow.

They’re draw­ing huge sig­ni­fic­ance on what they can see, but I can’t con­nect it to what they’re look­ing for. If we can see some­thing must it be auto­mat­ic­ally important?

20:20

The trenches are planned to find this great hall. First aud­ible air­craft, which see­ing as they’re under the Heathrow flight path is not bad. Possibly found the floor of the Great Hall. They know where the hall is – they have 19th cen­tury records. I’m not sure why they need to dig it. Ah — he thinks it’s not the Great Hall because the hall has a 1st floor, which you don’t get in a hall – the hall is fur­ther uphill? Looking for the upper end and the ser­vice end. Where is the hearth? It’s taken almost an hour for someone to say “high status”, which for Time Team sets a record for restraint. The archae­olo­gists obvi­ously have a plan in mind, but what they’re say­ing is let’s find stuff. They’re inter­ested in the trenches for a spe­cific research ques­tion but I’m not sure what.

Windsor Plans

20:35

In 1501 James IV incor­por­ates the mon­as­tery into the palace. The build­ing may be over­laid by eph­er­meral garden fea­tures. This over­lies the refrect­ory. Going back to the maps to look for details. Segment on how a Camera Obscura could be used to map. Looking for the site of the CO from the per­spect­ive of the map. Not easy as they find the map must have had sev­eral dif­fer­ent vant­age points.

20:40

Overtalk. They’re look­ing at the seal mat­rix they found yes­ter­day. Could be a trade seal from the 17th cen­tury. The presenter is strug­gling for ques­tions – can’t say I’d blame her. Still light in Edinburgh. More “High-status” — twice in five seconds. No human remains des­pite the prox­im­ity to an abbey. This was planned. This looks like a well planned pro­ject. Fixing the plan of the cloisters will help con­firm the accur­acy of the map. As I type they more or less say the same thing: “not a stunt”.

Holyrood House

20:55

It’s def­in­itely night in the north, yet Windsor appears set to enjoy the mid­night sun. Introducing the Round Table and the Knights of the Garter. Looking inside at the ban­ners. Thatcher doesn’t have a hel­met because she’s not expect to fight. That’s kind of the Queen. Eddie wanted 300 knights for his order. The Round Table was a build­ing cir­cu­lar 200 ft in dia­meter. The expert says it could not be roofed in this period and I don’t know enought to dis­agree. They think it’s not in the lower ward, due to the records of strength­en­ing bridges, which would not be neces­sary if it was in the Lower Ward. Where can you fit a 200′ wide circle. Second expert comes in to argue over if it was an arena or not. He thinks is was a feast­ing hall. Would this need a roof or did Ed eat alfresco?

21:05

Geofizz has found a 198′ circle. Maps show 200′ just fits inside. They’ve gone deep. They’ve found a rob­ber trench – the ghost of a wall. One find pulled from it is a shred of Surrey white ware dat­ing from the 14th cent. Records show the round table was built in 1344.

21:15

It’s a lot darker at Buck Palace.

They’re look­ing for the bound­ary wall. The rebuild seems to be cloud­ing out the geofizz, so they’re going with maps. Nothing to report so they’re mov­ing onto the civil war defences with Ronald Hutton. Discussions over where the defences might be. They’ve found a rivet. People in the past may have had shoes. Clay pipe shows they’re in Victorian lay­ers so it’s evid­ence of shoes in Victorian times. They’ve gone to a cameo of sol­diers march­ing in ECW gear, so they found noth­ing else . Hang on they’ve found a pot from 12/13 cen­tury pot. They con­clude Nash removed the defences when he laid out the garden. Hutton explains the defences would have been earth­works to deflect can­non. Any guess about why they’re missing?

- — -

The Holyrood House excav­a­tion looks like it could find some really use­ful stuff about the palace’s past. Windsor looks like it too could provide some new data, but I’m not sure how or even if the excav­a­tions there form a coher­ent plan. As for Buckingham Palace, I can’t tell what they’re try­ing to do. It’ll be inter­est­ing to see if they can do some­thing with the site. Looks like it could be a good pro­gramme tomorrow.

6 thoughts on “Time Team on Saturday

  1. I’m a fan of Time Team, and I tried to like these par­tic­u­lar broad­casts, but so far have failed miser­ably. Watching the live cov­er­age is like watch­ing paint dry, and the even­ing sum­mar­ies are just so fren­etic. A proper invest­ig­a­tion of just one site would have been much more sat­is­fy­ing for me.
    (Also, I have a prob­lem whith the Scottish presenter, but maybe that’s just me).

  2. shelley

    I am a fan of time team. I would like to take Ajcann to task about the com­ment that was pos­ted August 27, “I have a prob­lem with the Scottish presenter” How can a beau­ti­ful man with lovely long black hair, who knows what he is talk­ing about be a prob­lem! Get a grip Ajcann, us gels luv ‘im. The only prob­lem that I have with Neil Oliver is… HE AINT SITTINGERE WIV MEEEE! Shelley nr RAF Hornchurch.

  3. shelley

    Ajcann. Neil’s present­ing abil­ity is fine. His totty rat­ing is even finer,Ajcann,so dont bitch about it,Ajcaaaann. Shelley nr RAF Hornchurch.

  4. Can we calm down a bit on this one? I agree that Neil Oliver does know what he’s talk­ing about, but I’d also agree with Alan that Time Team didn’t show him at his best. If you really want to see him in action then watch him with a clay­more in Two Men in a Trench. That series vastly raised my opin­ion of bat­tle­field archaeology.

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