TV's Alice Roberts to tell of her wonderland of discoveries about the past
Renowned as one of Britain’s top modern day scientists, Professor Alice Roberts has been a hit on our television screens and written books about human anatomy, physiology, evolution, archaeology and history.
The star of Time Team is now heading to Shropshire and Staffordshire to share her insights, anecdotes and behind-the-scenes stories from her personal journey to explore Britain’s past.
“I loved science from an early age – I was always asking questions about the world around me, and I was particularly fascinated in biology,” she said.
“I remember having my first microscope and how wonderful it was to see all that new detail in natural structures – from a bee’s wing to tiny creatures in pond water. I also enjoyed finding small pieces of pottery when I dug the vegetable patch in the garden – my first experience of hands-on archaeology.
"That joy of finding things out has stayed with me.”
Most people will know Alice for her time on television programmes such as The Incredible Human Journey, Origins Of Us, Prehistoric Autopsy and last year’s King Arthur’s Britain: The Truth Unearthed, but it all started on Time Team.
“I started doing reports on human bones excavated on the Channel 4 series, Time Team – and in 2001, they invited me along to an actual dig,” she said.
“It was an Anglo Saxon cemetery in Breamore, Hampshire. I had a brief speaking part, and got asked back to appear as a bone expert in later series. And then one thing led to another.”
Despite her extensive television and book credits, for the University of Birmingham professor, it’s the discoveries that mean the most to her.
“We’ve covered some amazing discoveries on Digging for Britain,” she said. “In 2016, we reported on very early, Neolithic crannogs or lake dwellings in the Hebrides; in 2017, we had two extraordinary Neolithic mounds which had been presumed to be focused on burials, but were found to contain the remains of huge timber buildings.
“In 2018, we devoted an entire programme to the incredible Iron Age chariot burial at Pocklington in Yorkshire - that just blew me away. The deceased man had been placed in his chariot, in the grave, and there was a pair of ponies standing up - reduced to skeletons of course - just extraordinary. I love the way that archaeology gives us these wonderful glimpses of our ancestors’ cultures.”
Alice says that during he talk at the Theatre Severn in Shrewsbury, on September 5, and Stafford's Gatehouse Theatre on September 11 she will be revisiting some of her favourite and significant sites.
“It seemed like a good time to go back and look at the sites I’ve worked on over the years,” she said. “History is such a huge subject, but archaeology allows us to get up close and personal with the past – with our heritage.
“So I’ll be looking back to to my first Time Team dig back in 2001, when we were excavating an Anglo Saxon cemetery with a lot of buckets buried in the dead – all the way through to the latest from Digging for Britain - including that amazing chariot burial. There will also be clips from my Channel 4 series, Britain’s Most Historic Towns and plenty of behind-the-scenes stories, and time for Q&A with the audience, and I’ll be book-signing after each show.
“I love making television and writing books – but that can feel a bit one-way. I really enjoy getting out and doing live shows, and having conversations with people.”