Professor Mick Aston remembered (1946-2013)

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Thursday, July 4, 2013

Professor Mick Aston, of Time Team fame and Emeritus Professor of Landscape Archaeology at the University of Bristol, passed away recently, which has been described as a huge loss to archaeology.

Known simply as “Mick” To the millions that watched him every week on Time Team, Professor Aston’s colleagues have called him a pioneer in his field who helped to coin the term “landscape archaeology”.

Professor Aston believed that large, expensive excavations didn’t need to be undertaken to understand archaeological sites.

He was a man on mission to share his passion for archaeology with ordinary people rather than keeping its secrets locked away behind the walls of Britain’s universities.

He was an expert in the archaeology of towns and monastic sites, but he’ll no doubt be remembered best for his work with television archaeology.

His former colleagues at the University of Bristol said that as resident archaeological expert on Time Team he helped teach that “TV archaeology did not need to be a treasure hunt, but a serious investigation with often an unpredictable outcome.”

A comment that will resonate with all archaeologists, both amateur and professional, on land and underwater.

Phil Harding, NAS president, worked with Professor Aston for years on Time Team. He described him as being a "unique man" who "everybody loved".

He told the BBC: "He had incredible knowledge and an effortless way of making archaeology accessible to people."

It’s true that Professor Aston  inspired many to pick up a trowel for the first time and through Time Team he brought archaeology to the living rooms of many  who otherwise would have never have been interested before – a legacy that will help shape the discipline for years to come.