Time Team has been one of the more unlikely minority interest programme success stories of Channel 4. It was not, after all, predictable that a programme about archaeology which took the viewer through the minutiae of trench-digging and dirt-sifting was going to work so well! In retrospect, and as described interestingly here, it was a matter of building a likeable team of researchers, presenters and diggers--it is a programme, and this is a book, about team spirit as well as the pursuit of knowledge.
The book, lavishly illustrated with photographs and drawings, takes us through the various digs that make up a series, and in the process gives a comprehensive picture of what archaeology means in a British context. Every period is grist to the mill from the possibly cannibal cave- dwellers of Cheddar Gorge through Roman iron-smelters and medieval shipwrights to what happened when two bombers collided in the middle of World War Two. The programmes convey fascination in the solving of scholarly puzzles and the technical problems of ditch-digging and the preservation of evidence. Behind the Scenes at Time Team is also an exemplary description of the logistics of programme-making, a behind-the-scenes look that talks about hard work. --Roz Kaveney