Time Team Series 20. My Fourth Episode: Day 3

I guess you’d describe this post as being about the archaeology of archaeology. I was put in mind of the idea when going through the inner recesses of my rucksack before heading off to site this morning. There I found, deeply stratified beneath superficial deposits of old car parking tickets and credit card receipts, two Schedules from previous Time Team shoots of Series 20. Schedules are drawn up by the episode’s Director every evening of the shoot. They divide the following day into ten hour-long blocks, starting at nine and ending at six or six-thirty (in reality they often start at 8.30 and end sometime after 7.00). The Schedules list what each camera crew will be filming every hour of the day. So today, between nine and ten, Unit 1 were filming Tony, me, Colm and Cassie in Tony’s OPTC (Opening Piece to Camera), followed by a strategy scene. While that was going on, Unit 2 were filming an aerial photo and LIDAR (a sort of ground-prospecting radar) scene with Stewart and Emma. Unit 3 were gathering GVs (General Views).

Schedules are absolutely essential and everyone is issued with one. They cover a single sheet of A4 and can come in very handy to prop-open boxes, jam into draughty windows or light barbecues or cigarettes. They make excellent paper darts. We also get issued with scripts for all three days. These are great for the first half of Day 1, then they move into realms of make-believe. These can be folded double to prop-up table legs on uneven surfaces.

Project Designs (or PDs) are the heaviest and meatiest of the essential Time Team documents. I normally read mine once. They can be superb for kindling a barbecue: one PD is normally good for about three meals. They can sometimes be used to line a cat litter tray.

We also get issued with plastic ID bracelets. These make superb stocking-fillers for children, nephews and nieces at Christmas. When carefully cut down, they make excellent book-marks.

And finally there are plastic tea-stirrers, styrofoam mugs, tea bags and biscuit/sweet wrappers. I wonder what archaeologists of the future would make of a Time Team shoot site? God knows. But I’d guess they’d most probably suggest it was some form of strange cult shrine where devotees worshipped at the altar of the three profiled heads…

I’m sorry: it’s been a long day, and I’m knackered. I’d better stop before I say something that isn’t sensible.

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