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Rediscovering Ancient Britain

17 June 2012

Professor Niall Sharples, Head of Archaeology and Conservation at Cardiff,  contributed to the TimeTeam special: 'Rediscovering Ancient Britain' [Channel 4, Sunday 17 June 2012].

To view online:

Time Team Logo

Time Team Logo

Programme background:

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.

For many experts, the Ridgeway is as important as Stonehenge in understanding the lives of our prehistoric ancestors. The ridge of high land running parallel with the coast between Weymouth and Dorchester has been an important place for people since the Neolithic period, from 4000 to 2000 BC.

There are no fewer than 1000 ancient monuments that record the history of the Ridgeway since that time, including baffling great henges that showcased unexplained rituals, at least one of which involves a giant stone penis; a town built on top of a massive Iron Age hill fort; and a deadly and terrifying Roman war machine.

Time Team investigate, and reveal how the latest scientific advances are shedding new light on the way our Stone Age ancestors lived. The extraordinary range of monuments on the ridgeway make it one of the richest archaeological sites in Britain, and Time Team's journey along its length is a journey through thousands of years of human occupation.