RIP Time Team’s Mick Aston

Mick AstonMick Aston was probably more important to the Show Time team than Tony Robertson. While Tony was the public face who kept the show going, Mick was the person who was responsible for the idea behind the show.  Not to mention he worked to popularise archaeology.

Mick was partly responsible for its creation after telling Professor Tim Taylor, the Time Team series producer, that it would be possible to evaluate a site in only three days.  The show was developed from the an earlier Channel 4 series Time Signs, first broadcast in 1991. Both Time Signs and Time Team were produced by Taylor and featured Mick Aston and Phil Harding, who went on to be regulars on the Time Team Series.

Mick was a passionate believer in communicating archaeology to the public.  he possessed an incredible knowledge of the subject and had an effortless way of making archaeology accessible to people.

Paul Blinkhorn, the Anglo-Saxon and Medieval Pottery expert pointed out on Facebook that “there were howls of outrage from many professional archaeologists at the thought of the public doing archaeology. Now, most professional units have an ‘outreach’ team doing the very thing that was condemned by many of them at the time, and the public are involved in archaeology more than they ever have been.”

The much-respected professor had suffered health problems but the cause of death is not yet known.

He will be missed.

An aside, I think the reason that the US version of Time Team shown on PBS was such a disappointment to me was that it did not have someone like Mick Aston on the show (the original presenter/host, Colin Campbell, was as affable as Tony Robinson and the show has a new host, Justine Shapiro, who I haven’t seen in action).  Also, I think there wasn’t the core crew that the UK version had and it never got the same energy and personal dynamics, which is a shame.  The US really needs to pay more attention to its history, rather than its founding myths.

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