One of the early discussions on this weblog revolved around Tony Robinson: thespian, comedian, writer, jolly nice chap and presenter of that urgent populist archaeology television show, ‘Time Team’.
This programme has been on air for about fifteen years now, and remains true to its original premise: that of uncovering some heretofore undiscovered Iron Age fort or Roman villa or Mediaeval bawdy house or somesuch, within a wholly artificial time frame: “As usual, we have only three days!” Hard to imagine that some other professional would not pick up the slack in the ensuing un-televised few weeks.
Just like the civilizations it reveals, however, the show is not immutable. Fast forward through the several series, and T Robinson’s waist grows subtly wider, his hairs fewer and shorter, and his spectacles less orbicular and owlish; the geophysics teams become less nerdish and their charts less impenetrable; and Phil Harding’s shorts get shorter as his speech turns ever more rustic.
Omnia mutantur nos et mutamur in illis (a phrase, incidentally, that could only be enhanced by Mr Harding’s rich Devonian vowels). The only thing evidently stuck in its era is Mick Aston’s irascibly loud candy-striped sweater, and the similarly-patterned cold-weather beanie-hat that was evidently fashioned from the left-over wool.
You know what else must be changing? And here’s the crux of this increasingly rambling treatise: the Earth itself.
Here’s the thing: these archaeologists always need to dig down (as opposed to up, I suppose) to disinter their finds. The older the subject the further they have to dig – layer after stratum after layer of soil and spoil. This can only mean, therefore, that the Earth has grown steadily fatter; and presumably gravity has increased. I bet the Ancient Egyptians couldn’t half jump high.
Nothing important here; parva leves capiunt animas.
And tempus fugit, so I must be off.