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13 November 2014

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You are in: Cornwall > Places > Places Features > Time Team Looe

Tony Robinson with Jon Ross, photo by Claire Lewis.

Time Team Looe

Archaeological TV programme Time Team visited the Cornwall Wildlife Trust's marine nature reserve, St George's Island last May. The forthcoming Time Team programme 'Hermit Harbour' will be shown on Sunday 1st March on Channel 4.

St George's Island, Looe is run by the Cornwall Wildlife trust as a centre for animal living however, the trust staff were delighted when the Time Team staff requested an excavation on the island in the summer. 
One important aspect of the excavation is the chapel site on the highest point on the island. The chapel is known as St Michaels and it is thought that the island was originally purchased by Glastonbury Abbey as a means of drawing an income from the cult of St Michael, pilgrim trade.

The Time Team Crew. CWT

The Time Team crew. Photo by CWT

Jon Ross, the Trust's St George's Island Warden, said "This was such a fantastic opportunity to learn more about the history of the island and watching the experts go about their business was hugely enjoyable".
"It was a massive undertaking with over 50 crew members and all their equipment being ferried on and off the island by local boatmen".

The chapel was transferred to the mainland in the 12th century after some pilgrims were drowned on St Michaels Day when trying to make the crossing in heavy seas.

The mainland Chapel, 'Lammana' was also excavated for the programme, which generated some interesting and challenging finds, as one member of the film crew noted;

"Back in May Time Team descended on St George's Island to try and unravel the history of the island. This shoot was one of the most complex we've ever tackled with two sites, one on the mainland and one on the Island.

Excavation, Calire Lewis

One of the many excavations. Photo by Claire Lewis

"The archaeology didn't disappoint – we uncovered new evidence of activity on St George’s Island as far back as the Roman period and possibly even earlier. Excavations at the chapel gave us a plan of the building, and below the floors we uncovered the burial of an adult male, along with a piece of pottery dating to the 13th century.

"Our landscape archaeologist was certain he'd found evidence of much earlier activity on the island. One of the biggest surprises came from the final trench to go in, where we stumbled across a hoard of Roman coins! It was a challenging but incredibly rewarding three days."

last updated: 18/02/2009 at 12:37
created: 18/02/2009

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