The BEST episodes of Digging for Britain

Every episode of Digging for Britain ever, ranked from best to worst by thousands of votes from fans of the show. The best episodes of Digging for Britain!

Dr Alice Roberts follows a year of British archaeology, joining up the results of digs and investigations of the length of the country.

Last Updated: 2/24/2024Network: BBC TwoStatus: Continuing
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North
star
8.40
5 votes

#1 - North

Season 8 - Episode 2 - Aired 11/27/2019

More than is expected is found in the remains of a house thought to be the childhood home of Lady Jane Grey. Plus the graveyard of a Victorian workhouse sheds new light on the Great Famine of 1845.

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East
star
8.33
9 votes

#2 - East

Season 5 - Episode 3 - Aired 12/20/2016

This episode looks at the east of Britain. Finds include: new revelations from 'Britain's Pompeii' - the 3,000-year-old perfectly preserved village in Cambridgeshire - including how our Bronze Age ancestors designed their homes, and their kitchens packed with food and equipment; the theatre where Shakespeare premiered Romeo and Juliet and Henry V, complete with sound effect props and evidence that Shakespeare's original audience was much rowdier than you might expect; evidence that we may have finally found the location of the Battle of Barnet, the famous Wars of the Roses site where Edward IV defeated Warwick the Kingmaker in a bloody battle that would eventually bring the Tudor dynasty to England's throne.

Directors: Alex Rowson
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North
star
8.23
13 votes

#3 - North

Season 7 - Episode 1 - Aired 11/28/2018

Professor Alice Roberts celebrates the biggest and best archaeological discoveries of 2018 from the north of the UK. Each digging team has been filming its own excavations, giving us an unprecedented view of each excavation as it happens. Alice begins the programme with a prehistoric Pompeii at the Black Loch of Myrton. Uncovering incredibly preserved 2500-year-old houses, archaeologists are stepping back in time and glimpsing what life was really like in an Iron Age village. We follow archaeologists uncovering a previously unknown Anglo-Saxon cemetery in Lincolnshire full of spectacular and unusual grave goods. We go on the hunt for a lost Second World War reconnaissance Spitfire in Norway and piece together the story of its brave pilot. Deep in the vaults at the National Museum of Scotland in Edinburgh, we explore one of its greatest treasures, the Westness Brooch. We also head to the island of Rousay in Orkney, where archaeologists rescue a Neolithic tomb before it gets washed away and discover an incredible trace of our ancestors on a rare Pictish stone. In Salford, a major regeneration project is unearthing the largest jail in Georgian England and its radical approach to crime and punishment. Roving archaeologist, Raksha Dave gets privileged access behind the scenes in the conservation labs at Vindolanda Roman fort and discovers what really happens when the digging stops.

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Ice and Stone
star
8.10
10 votes

#4 - Ice and Stone

Season 2 - Episode 4 - Aired 9/30/2011

In the final episode of the series, Dr Alice Roberts goes in search of our elusive Stone Age ancestors. Along the way she visits the Channel island of Jersey where she meets a team of archaeologists hoping to shed new light on the much-maligned Neanderthals, and embarks on a kayak survey of the coastline looking for undiscovered sites hidden in the cliffs. At the Natural history museum Alice comes face to face with the dark side of our Ice Age ancestors lives - she sees evidence of cannibalism and the ritual use of human skulls. And she meets a team who are hoping to unlock the secrets of Stonehenge, not on Salisbury plain, but in the remote Preseli Hills of Wales.

Directors: James Gray
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Anglo-Saxons
star
8.08
12 votes

#5 - Anglo-Saxons

Season 1 - Episode 3 - Aired 9/2/2010

The Anglo-Saxons - they divided our land and heralded the arrival of the Dark Ages. But were they really just barbarians? Dr Alice Roberts continues her journey through a year of archaeology, visiting the key sites that are throwing light on this most mysterious of periods. She visits the royal seat of power at Bamburgh, Northumbria and sees how the skeletons tell tales of violent death, but also of tenderness. There's a remarkable community project in a shopping centre in Sittingbourne where people are curating the grave goods of their own ancestors. And there are treasures that make her wonder just how dark the Dark Ages really were.

Directors: Sarah Jobling
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The Tudors
star
8.00
13 votes

#6 - The Tudors

Season 1 - Episode 4 - Aired 9/10/2010

In the final episode of the series, Dr Alice Roberts goes in search of the Tudor age, a time that saw momentous changes across all aspects of British life. Along the way, Alice visits excavations at Shakespeare's first theatre in London's Shoreditch, where the Bard began his career and Romeo and Juliet was first performed. Alice also joins a team sifting through Shakespeare's rubbish at his last home in Stratford-Upon-Avon, and finds revealing clues about his carefulness with money. In a remote corner of Wales, Alice meets a team of archaeologists uncovering the brutal realities of Henry VIII's dissolution of the monasteries, a conflict that would change the very fabric of Britain. On the muddy banks of the Thames, Alice discovers the rich history of a forgotten royal palace, which was home to the Tudor kings and queens. And she learns about a mysterious Tudor shipwreck which dates from this age of exploration and trade.

Directors: James Gray
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East
star
8.00
13 votes

#7 - East

Season 4 - Episode 2 - Aired 3/17/2016

Professor Alice Roberts explores the year's most exciting archaeological finds in the east of Britain. A team unearths a mass grave, divers search the Thames for clues to a 17th-century tragedy, and a metal detectorist makes the find of a lifetime.

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WWII Special
star
8.00
4 votes

#8 - WWII Special

Season 8 - Episode 4 - Aired 12/11/2019

The team are on an archaeological hunt of our more recent past as they follow the search for artefacts from World War II.

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3000-Year-Old Shoes and Giant Axeheads
star
8.00
6 votes

#9 - 3000-Year-Old Shoes and Giant Axeheads

Season 11 - Episode 5 - Aired 1/10/2024

Archaeology in the south of England unearths Britain’s oldest shoe, the lost shipyard of one of England’s greatest warrior kings and Britain’s top-secret WWII defences.

Forgotten Fortresses and Lost Villages
star
8.00
6 votes

#10 - Forgotten Fortresses and Lost Villages

Season 11 - Episode 6 - Aired 1/11/2024

Digs in the West of Britain reveal a forgotten fortress teetering on the edge of a cliff, evidence of the oldest house in Cardiff and a discovery at a Roman mosaic that shocks the experts.

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Britannia
star
7.95
42 votes

#11 - Britannia

Season 2 - Episode 1 - Aired 9/9/2011

Dr Alice Roberts follows an entire year of British archaeology, joining up the results of digs and investigations the length of the country. The results are astonishing and sometimes disturbing. This episode concentrates on Roman Britannia, where finds include the thickening mystery of 97 baby skeletons found by the Thames, a newly discovered town in rural Devon that turns history on its head, and a Roman cult figure buried for 1700 years beneath a fort.

Directors: Tim Robinson
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North
star
7.92
13 votes

#12 - North

Season 5 - Episode 2 - Aired 12/13/2016

This episode is from the north of Britain, where finds include: evidence for the first Roman siege in Britain, including the biggest cache of Roman bullets discovered anywhere; Britain's most famous monastery - Lindisfarne - rediscovered for the first time since it was violently sacked by the Vikings 1,000 years ago; and the incredible discovery of the ancient Scottish man-made islands that entirely rewrite our understanding of Stone Age tech.

Directors: Gemma Hagen
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The Horsemen of Hadrian's Wall
star
7.91
11 votes

#13 - The Horsemen of Hadrian's Wall

Season 6 - Episode 4 - Aired 12/13/2017

In this special, Professor Alice Roberts reveals the forgotten story of the Roman Army's secret weapon in Britain - their cavalry. These fearsome horsemen were the key to defending Britain's most famous Roman monument fortification, Hadrian's Wall. Alice sets off across Hadrian's Wall to investigate any evidence the Roman cavalry left behind, while a team of archaeologists and historical re-enactors attempt to re-stage a Roman cavalry tournament - a spectacle that no one has seen for over 1,600 years. We follow the team's training as they prepare for the performance, and Alice joins them at a public display in Carlisle where 30 riders perform in front of a crowd of spectators. To put the cavalry's story in context, the film also explores the latest archaeological digs happening across the UK, each of which is searching for new evidence of the Roman cavalry. On her journey across Hadrian's Wall, Alice visits some of the most iconic sites associated with the Roman cavalry, including Chester's Roman fort, Vindolanda fort and museum and Hexham Abbey. Along the way she builds a picture of the horsemen's lives here on the northern frontier of the Roman Empire.

North
star
7.90
10 votes

#14 - North

Season 4 - Episode 3 - Aired 3/24/2016

Professor Alice Roberts explores the year's most exciting archaeological finds in the north of Britain. A team discovers clues to Scotland's first kingdoms, metal detectorists unearth a hoard of Viking treasure, and a new housing development reveals a graveyard of Iron Age warriors.

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Episode 6
star
7.86
7 votes

#15 - Episode 6

Season 9 - Episode 6 - Aired 1/13/2022

Featuring a Roman fort on Hadrian’s Wall, evidence of early writing by the Picts in Scotland and a 3000-year-old Bronze Age coffin buried under a golf course.

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Invaders
star
7.85
13 votes

#16 - Invaders

Season 2 - Episode 2 - Aired 9/16/2011

In this week's episode, Dr Alice Roberts travels back to the Viking Age in Britain and visits excavations that are revealing a different side to these seafaring pirates from Scandinavia. She looks for signs of the earliest Viking settlers in the Outer Hebrides, and in Orkney - where Viking dominance outlasted anywhere else in Britain - she visits the excavation of a Viking chief's citadel and finds evidence of their way-of-life. There's an extraordinary collection of silver and gold that demonstrates the furthest reaches of the Vikings' trading empire and excavations in York - famously the capital of Viking England. This episode also includes a fresh look at some of our most celebrated Viking finds, such as the fantastic Lewis Chessmen, which are currently the subject of major new research.

Directors: Sarah Jobling
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South
star
7.80
5 votes

#17 - South

Season 8 - Episode 3 - Aired 12/4/2019

How a lobster led archaeologists to the discovery of an 8000-year-old neolithic settlement. And Naoise Mac Sweeney visits a construction site as it gives up the secrets of its Elizabethan past.

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Age of Bronze and Iron
star
7.79
14 votes

#18 - Age of Bronze and Iron

Season 2 - Episode 3 - Aired 9/24/2011

Dr Alice Roberts travels back to the Ages of Bronze and Iron to discover what kind of a place Britain was before the Romans invaded. With no written history, only archaeology can provide the clues. Alice uncovers a world that is complex, sophisticated and pretty strange. She examines the two Hebridean Bronze Age skeletons known as the Cladh Hallan mummies. Not only do they appear to have been mummified, new analysis has revealed they are made up of a jigsaw of different people. What did our ancestors use the mummies for? And are there more British mummies out there? In Norfolk, Alice gets her hands dirty helping to pull up timber from a huge prehistoric monument that has been hidden in mud for at least 2,000 years. And she visits the famous Roman town of Silchester, near Reading, where archaeologists are digging below the Roman layers to reveal the Iron Age settlement that lies beneath, uncovering evidence for a sophisticated pre-Roman lifestyle. Alice also examines the evidence that suggests Silchester could be the place where two British chiefs took a stand against the Romans.

Directors: Emma Parkins
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East
star
7.73
11 votes

#19 - East

Season 6 - Episode 2 - Aired 11/29/2017

We unearth the biggest collection of Roman writing tablets in Britain, giving insight into what Roman London was really like. Off the coast of Kent, we dive into the English Channel to complete the biggest marine excavation since the Mary Rose - an 18th-century East India Company ship, packed with silver. Also in Kent, we're on the detective trail to find the very first evidence of Julius Caesar's invasion of Britain - an ancient fort scattered with human skulls and weapons.

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A Roman Mystery and Waterloo’s Disappearing Dead
star
7.71
7 votes

#20 - A Roman Mystery and Waterloo’s Disappearing Dead

Season 11 - Episode 4 - Aired 1/9/2024

Roberts reveals the most fascinating archaeological finds this year in the East of England: a Roman dodecahedron, the secrets of Boudicca’s hill fort and Waterloo’s disappearing dead.

North
star
7.64
11 votes

#21 - North

Season 3 - Episode 3 - Aired 2/17/2015

Professor Alice Roberts and archaeologist Matt Williams present 2014's most outstanding archaeology from the north of Britain. Sitting in the heart of the Neolithic Orkney World Heritage Site, the Ness of Brodgar houses a 5,000-year-old temple at the heart of a sacred landscape, built out of stone over hundreds of years. We catch the unearthing of a Roman altar dedicated to Jupiter that was originally carved in the 2nd century, when Maryport was part of the coastal defences linked to Hadrian's Wall. 11,000 years ago Flixton in Yorkshire was an island used by our very earliest ancestors, and it has preserved vital clues about their world and the wild horses they hunted and ate. In Ardnamurchan, a 5,000-year-old cemetery - housing burials from the Bronze and Iron Ages... and an intact Viking boat burial. A Tudor-era aristocrat's feasting hall is revealed... and how one night the revelry came to a very abrupt end. One of the richest hoards of Pictish treasure ever found reveals the metalworking secrets of the mysterious tribes who ruled Dark Ages Scotland.

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Episode 5
star
7.60
5 votes

#22 - Episode 5

Season 9 - Episode 5 - Aired 1/12/2022

A new Roman town and hundreds of finds are discovered. The Cerne Giant finally gets a date, and a World War II air crash mystery is laid to rest.

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West
star
7.60
20 votes

#23 - West

Season 4 - Episode 1 - Aired 3/10/2016

Professor Alice Roberts and archaeologist Matt Williams present the year's most outstanding archaeology. During the summer, archaeologists have been unearthing our history in hundreds of digs across Britain. They've gone to extraordinary lengths to uncover long-lost treasures, retelling our story in a way only archaeology can. With unique access to some of the countries best digs, our teams have been self-shooting their excavations to make sure the audience is there for every moment of discovery. This episode heads to the west of Britain, while archaeologists join us back in the Salisbury Museum to look at the new finds and what they mean. Marden Henge: The communal sweat lodges and feasting remains that illuminate the lost rituals of Stonehenge. Durotriges: A glimpse into the bizarre animal sacrifice rituals offered to their gods by a mysterious Celtric tribe of the first century BC. Trellech: An enormous lost Welch city is discovered seven centuries after it disappeared from historical record. Kent's Cavern: A team swap trowels for pneumatic drills in a search for the hidden entrance of the site where Britain's earliest human remains have been found. Jersey: Archaeologists are fighting against mother nature to find the evidence of a Stone Age hunter-gather campsite. Staffordshire Hoard: Conservators painstakingly reassemble the elaborate weaponry of the Anglo-Saxon warriors we didn't know existed.

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Iron Age Revealed
star
7.60
10 votes

#24 - Iron Age Revealed

Season 7 - Episode 4 - Aired 12/19/2018

Alice Roberts follows the excavation of Iron Age Britain’s most spectacular grave. A team of archaeologists in East Yorkshire have uncovered the remains of only the third upright chariot burial ever found in Britain, and the only chariot burial ever found in this country with the chariot harnessed to two standing ponies. This sensational find is the lead dig for the Digging for Britain Iron Age special.

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Roman Towns and Tudor Shipwrecks
star
7.57
7 votes

#25 - Roman Towns and Tudor Shipwrecks

Season 10 - Episode 1 - Aired 1/1/2023

Digs in southern England reveal a previously unknown Roman town, a Tudor ship buried beneath a quarry and evidence of Henry VIII's financial forgery under the Tower of London.

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