2 hrs 36 mins.
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‘The Command House’: Rory and Paul begin their pub dig journey at the Command House pub in Chatham, Kent, digging through 400 years of naval history in search of Henry VIII’s lost Tudor docks and relics from the time of Nelson and the British Empire. Surprisingly, no one has dug here before, so this is completely unchartered territory. As the team begin to dig, they come down on the foundations of a huge Georgian storehouse, once filled with the cannon that armed ships like Nelson’s Victory, but the ultimate aim is to find archaeology from the time when Henry VIII and Elizabeth I ruled Britain. Finding the lost dockyard would be a major discovery, as it was where the fleet that destroyed the Spanish Armada in 1588 was based. Will they uncover what they’re looking for? But it’s not all work: while the trenches are being deepened, Rory and Paul make a bucket load of grog and sample it!
‘Ye Olde Smugglers Inne’: The team are in Alfriston, East Sussex, hunting for vintage contraband. Today Alfriston is a picture postcard pretty village, but it was once the centre of the infamous Sussex badlands. Our pair’s journey back in time takes in some unexpected finds along the way, among them butchers bones, ossified poo and artefacts dating from before Stonehenge. As they dig down below the 20th-century concrete in the beer garden, the team begin to turn up piece after piece of Victorian junk, revealing the life of the 19th-century inhabitants. There are farmed oyster shells, simple pottery and sawn bone evidence of butchery, the day job of a famous local smuggler, Stanton Collins. However, there is no smuggler’s loot. So they turn to examining the building itself. Tales of custom-built escape routes for smugglers to evade customs officers abound, so the team scour the architecture for evidence.
‘The Six Bells’: The team are digging up the car park of Six Bells in St Albans, in search of Roman treasure. It is an excavation that will drill down through two thousand years of history, taking in the world of medieval pilgrimages and a recipe for nettle beer along the way! The ground under the pub is a good bet for archaeology as it lies within the walls of Roman Verulamium. But the first find is a little more recent: an 18th Century lime kiln that was used to build the beautiful row of houses that surround the pub. As the team continue digging, they uncover medieval remains of butchery, cooking and occupation from the 12th century, suggesting that this was once the site of a hostel built to feed hungry pilgrims on their way to pay homage at the great cathedral of St Albans, just up the road. As they dig deeper they find the remains of a massive Roman building decorated with vast quantities of painted wall plaster.