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Remembering Mick Aston

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IMG_6300It is with great sadness that we have learned that Mick Aston passed away on 24  June. Familiar to millions for his work on Time Team, Mick’s passion for archaeology and gentle good humour inspired countless viewers to follow in his footsteps. A longstanding friend of Current Archaeology, we were thrilled when he started writing a column for us and were looking forward to following his fieldwork exploits in Winscombe for many years to come. Alas, it was not to be.

I was lucky enough to meet Mick Aston last year when I interviewed him for Current Archaeology. Kind, welcoming and modest, he gave freely of his time, taking the time to guide me through not only his own archaeological journey, but also around his local village. As we wandered down winding footpaths he explained what map regression had taught him about their origins, and also warned me of the dangers of attempting to age hedgerows based on the variety of flora within. For someone who had grown up watching Mick on television it was a magical experience. I had hoped that one day I would be able to visit again and benefit from his experience and advice once more.

Mick will be sorely missed. Our thoughts are with his family and friends.  

61 Comments

  1. A very sad loss. For a man who felt he would leave no legacy, it is there for all to see. 19 series of Time Team, and greatly responsible for the current level of interest in archaeology. One of a kind.

      • I couldn’t agree more. Mick WAS Time Team. His contribution to the programme will be sorely missed. I would love his name be submitted for a posthumous award to acknowledge his contribution to Archaelogy

  2. I was never any closer to him than a television screen but feel like I and many others have lost a real friend.

  3. What a loss for British archaeology and archaeologists ! My first encounter with Mick was in 1973 while a Rescue Scholar working at Woodstock Museum – I was struck by his enthusiasm and dedication to archaeology. Since then we remained in regular contact, he dropping in whenever has was in my part of France (Brittany).
    A real mate has left us.

  4. His gentle, clear, descriptive explanation encouraged me to watch every programme in the Time team series. Even if the period wasn’t his speciality he EXPLAINED things to the wider public so that they could understand. A sad loss.

  5. Always a gentle attitude towards everyone and in everything he did. Will be sadly missed. RIP Mick Aston

  6. a very sad day and a huge loss to the archaeological community. for many of us, including myself, the reason why we got into archaeology in the first place….. rip mick xxx

  7. He came over as such a warm man, I saw him talk a couple of times in Winscombe where he was talking about the town and how he’s been researching it. What you saw on screen was what he was, there was no airs and graces. I’m so saddened about his passing it brought me to tears when I heard, a very very sad day for archaeology indeed. He will be missed greatly

  8. A very sad loss, the man that got me interested in archaeology and strange dress sense. RIP Professor, Time Team was never the same without you.

  9. I am only a humble fan of Time Team but Mick Aston has enriched the past 19 years of my life. May you rest in peace.

  10. I’m an ex student of Mick Aston and although its nearly 20 years ago since he taught & shared his love for Archaeology with me & my fellow students, I shed a tear last night when I heard. Enjoyed watching him on TV since. His love & enthusiasm for his subject was second to none but more importantly he was a charming, approachable & lovely man who was prepared to listen to ideas from the most basic novice upwards. No ego & a terrible loss to Archaeology & the world in general. A very rare & inspiring individual!

  11. RIP, Mick. A great loss to archaeology and television – he was such an inspiration to young and old and will be missed very much by very many. Thank you for all the knowledge you gladly passed on to your viewers, we will treasure you for ever.

  12. Never met him but he came across as a genuinely lovely person. Will be missed. Time Team will never be the same without him an his colourful jumpers.

  13. What a huge loss, a truely gracious, inspiring and wonderful teacher via the small screen wherever it was shown. My family have loved watching Mick from down under for many years. RIP and thank.

  14. It’s such a loss. I have recently dived into the Time Team shows, watching an episode or two each night. He was so inspiring, such a brilliant character. It almost feels like a personal loss… For what it is worth, many thanks, Mick, for your legacy.

  15. As a 55yr old grandmother, I was inspired by watching Mick on Time Team and went to university as a mature student and got my Archaeology degree in 1999 at the age of 42. A great man and a great loss to the world of Archaeology, feel quite bereft as he touched my life in such a positive way. Rest in Peace Mick, God Bless.

  16. I applied to Bristol University Extra Mural Dept to start a part time certificate course in Archaeology and was to be interviewed by Mick Aston. I was so nervous that my knees were moving independently of the rest of me. I so wanted to study; I so wanted to be taken seriously and not make a fool of myself. Mick immediately put me at ease and I relaxed.
    I started the course in 1998 ….and graduated with a good BA degree in early 2005. Mick attended the graduation ceremony and I had my photo taken with him. That photo has stood on my desk ever since; a reminder of what I have achieved and of the man who gave me the chance to prove myself. Thank you Mick, I’m eternally grateful.

  17. A wonderful man, who took the time to recommend sites in W. Cornwall, when I met him, that were not to be missed and invited me to help on a dig for a day. Will be sorely missed, his years on Time Team got me interested in Archaeology.

  18. At 45 I took one year A level Archaeology at Bridgwater Tech. I had had to choose a project and living at Creech St Michael I wanted something that was mine. I had an old local map and chose the ruin at Durston (Mynchin Buckland Preceptory) I only had three months, I wrote to Mick for advice and he sent me a letter chastisng me for not giving him enough time on one of his interests. I submitted his letter as part of the final project. Time team also sent me a card saying that as it was one of Micks interests that they would put it on the list. They never came. Mick now you will be able to see into those unanswered question with a clarity. I am sure many archaeologists will feel you looking over their shoulders, I certainly will. thanks Mick.

  19. The brilliance of Mick was to realize that Archeology on television would have to be more than dry academia, but that the interplay between the main players was crucial. And Mick was always my favorite, even more than Phil or Tony.

  20. What a shock. He hadn’t even reached 67 yet, really not even an old man in todays age. A man with Mick’s shear enjoyment for what he was doing should have lasted many more years. I would like to send my dearest regards to his family and friends for their loss and the loss that the world of archaeology has now taken. I admit that he is the reason that I got hooked on Time Team. He made archaeology something that everyone could enjoy. I was looking forward to his next project. Will there be anyone that could pick up the mantle and carry on?

  21. Oh no. So sad. The world of archaeology has lost a great man. The world in general has lost a lovely man. And there is no one else in the world who can wear rainbow jumpers so well. It was a pleasure to meet you and thanks for all the fun eps of Time Team!

  22. He will be so sadly missed, a great loss to the world of archaeology. His banter with tony,phil and the others on time team was always what seemed to make the show so good,as well as the archaeology from which l have learned a lot about our past.

  23. I was at Oldbury Grammar School with Michael Aston 1957-1965. His Dad was a Cabinet Maker; Mick watched me sawing timber and cheerfully told me I was doing it all wrong. He came on my bicycle rally (like a car rally but for 14 year olds) around the Clent Hills. He was part of the winning bedstead race team at Oldbury Carnival in about 1963. I joined him at a campsite at St.Ives, Cornwall, I think in 1965. His camping skills were superb; he set up a cooking alcove with a tarpaulin. He had spent the summer holidays excavating a Saxon village, I think Chysauster, were he had spent part of the summer working. The Lead archaeologist, a lady, talked us through the huts they had excavated, and surmised how they had been used. He was a remarkable man; a real individual.

  24. I was very sad yesterday to hear of Mick Aston’s passing. I have enjoyed watching him on Time Team and loved his gentle manner, his lovely way of explaining things (especially to children) and his colourful jumpers. Mick and Time Team have certainly added greatly to my knowledge of and enthusiasm for archaeology. He will be sorely missed.

  25. A very sad day for Archaeology. He was a joy to watch on Time Team. His knowledge was second to none and he had the ability to bring common sense into Time Team.

  26. Having been away without news access or wi-fi Monday or yesterday (wonderful in some ways) I only learned of Mick’s death when I turned to his obituary in today’s ‘Times’. A great shock followed by a feeling of much sadness. I missed an opportunity to hear him speak in Somerset on his Winscombe project about a month ago. I was cross with myself at the time as I had been planning to go but now I realise I missed a golden opportunity to hear a man who I had followed for years through ‘Time Team’. I never met him but had great respect for his knowledge and totally unstuffy academic credentials. A very sad loss at an early age. The best tribute to Mick would be to reinstate ‘Time Team’ in the format that he liked so that the high public profile that he helped create for archaeology can be continued. What do you say Channel 4?

  27. Rest in Peace Mick, your face and knowledge will be missed to viewers here in Australia, also your colourful jumpers, inspired me to knit the same style for my grandchildren.

  28. I had the missfortune not to have met him.But on “Time team” he came over as a lovely man and modest.Just hope he is kept busy with his trowel to what ever place he has gone to.Rest in peace Mick.
    Primo Busancano.

  29. I join the long line of people who were inspired by Mick to look deeper into the realm of archaeology and thrived on their new knowledge. I think, no…..I know that he underestimated the impact that Time Team had on people all around the world. The history of Australia is so different to that of Britain and the archaeology here requires a different approach. But to watch our two hours of TT a night and then check out maps on the web for crop marks seen earlier on the program is quite a thrill. Before TT I didn’t know those marks existed. I do wish he could have known that his idea all those years ago was a winner. Those of his peers who belittled his efforts were unable to see the bigger picture. I thank god that Mick did or else I wouldn’t have half the books that I do in my library. And I would never have taken out a subscription to your magazine either. He was a lovely gentle man with that spark when p….d off and I will miss him dearly. Energy is eternal Mick, so you will live on.

  30. Oh no how sad. Time Team sent me off to Oxford Rewley House to do Archaeology. He was also an Academic Archaeologist of note as well in spite of his comments in the Archaeology press last year about his lasting effect..Thank you Mick.

  31. I dont know the man personally but have come to know him through the time team series, and today when i found out he had past away I found myself in tears.thank you Mick for a most enjoy few years of watching the show, i for one will miss you

  32. I live in Australia and have only just seen this and must say shed a few tears. I grew up watching Time Team and loved it. Mick was so enthusiastic about archaeology and was such a colourful character. He will b greatly missed 🙁

  33. Great loss indeed.Read elsewhere that even though you may not have met him, it was as if we did.So sad for his family and TT crew.Rarely miss an episode,even the repeats, and seeing him regularly made even harder.David in Sydney Australia.

  34. Such a shock to hear of Mick Aston’s passing. By the end of the first episode of Time Team I was hooked and have seen every episode since at least once. I loved the way Mick went about teaching us about the history and the archeology of the sites, his calm and conversational manner, his knowledge, his passion and even his somewhat off beat style in clothing. I hope that in the not too distant future the producers of Time Team will do a tribute to Mick. May you rest in peace Mick and thank you for the enjoyment of Time Team and for sparking my continued interest in Archeology.

  35. Mick Aston is one of those rare people whom you loved due to their sheer love of their job and work. He made me love archaeology and our past – simple as that. An athlete can win an Olympic medal and get a knighthood – wrongly. Mick deserved a knighthood. Mick’s work for the UK’s archaeology was unrivalled. In knighting Tony Robinson they got the wrong bloke. RIP Mick Aston. Always loved, never forgotten.

  36. A great loss,he will be missed by so many, good bye mick and thank you for inspiring me if it wasn’t for you I would never had become an archeaologist.

  37. Tonight, July 9, 2013, here in Australia, I learned my husband and I had just watched the Final Episode of Time Team, rushed to the internet to read if more were being made, very saddened to see that, alas it is true. Then, to read here the loss of Mick Aston, makes this a very sad evening indeed. Vale, Mick Aston.

  38. Having watched Time Team in the early years Mick Aston stood out as the eccentric professor, but one which was `one of the lads’, never patronising and quite laid back. I was fortunate to have met him twice, visiting digs he and TT were at and obtained his autograph and had my pic taken with him. I learned of his death today from a friend, and am still shocked.
    Always sad to hear of someone’s passing…….

  39. A much loved man from a much loved and enjoyed programme. There aren’t many weeks that I don’t watch one of the shows here in New Zealand. Always interesting. Quite shocked to read of his passing when I was looking at a Timeteam webpage. A big shock on top of the end of the show.

  40. I,ve just heard the sad news that Mick Aston have passed away. He was a great man and though I never actually met him in person (I only saw him when TT was digging at Westminster Abbey an d I stood behind the fence, it feel like I have lost a friend. I live in Sweden and have followed him and Time Team for many years. This is a very sad moment indeed. I will never forget him, he was an inspiration for me to actually become an amateur archaeologist.

  41. Mick inspired me to study archaeology when I retired a few years ago. I have two more years of my distance learning degree to go and love every minute of it. We were born about a month apart and strangely shared many similar ‘odd’ traits. A number of times on digs, people have asked, had I (as Mick) lost weight, as we share the same beard and hair colour plus glasses…I am just slightly better looking (sorry Mick). My wife is currently knitting me a look-alike hat so I can continue in Mick’s image. What a shame I never wrote to him telling him what an inspiration he was to me while he was alive…….

  42. Was so incredibly saddened to see Mick Aston had died. What a lovely man he was and, as we all know, Time Team wasn’t the same without him.

    He and Time Team instilled in me an interest in archaeology that has never gone away — which also means, when he left Time Team and said he felt it was “all for nothing” as archaelogists had not take taken up the legacy of the program I say “who cares about the archaeologists, if that’s how they want to behave”, because what’s more important is how many ‘common folk’ like me became interested in archaeology and realized how important it was.

    And that is Mick Aston’s legacy. He will be very much missed.

  43. Sad that mick aston has died.
    What a loss.
    He was so inspiring.
    Even in denmark, we are sad!!!
    R.I.P.

  44. I was so sorry and sad to hear of Mick’s death. I first met him in 1969 when he came to our local society and taught us how to do an accurate sketch survey. Like Mike, I started my archaeological career digging with Jim Gould at Wall, Staffs in 1963 and was hooked. I got to know Mick well in the 1970’s and he regularly dropped in to my house with a flagon of scrumpie, on the way to his parents house in Birmingham. I unfortunately lost contact with him in the 1980’s as I moved around the country, but I followed his career, and in particular Time Team, with great interest. He was such a brilliant and enthusiastic communicator and bought archaeology to the forefront of public interest, as few archaeologists had done before. I am so glad we got back in touch with each other just before he died, but his death was still a great shock. He will be sadly missed by all of his many friends and fellow archaeologists. TV archaeology will not be the same and he was so right that it is being ‘dumbed down’. I just hope that TV archaeology will not become a freak show!

  45. A geat man sadly missed.the planet has lost a one in a million person who will be remembered down the years to come.

  46. I have only just found out that (1) Mick Aston has died and (2) Time Team has finished. What a waste of a very Talented man’s life in which he gave a good few years to something he both loved and enjoyed. When I say waste I mean why finish televising a show that many enjoyed here and everywhere in the world. Surely it would be better to continue with the programme thereby carrying on all the good work that Mick Aston and his colleagues have done over the last 20 years. What do we the viewer, have to do to get you the TV Broadcaster to continue making the programme Time Team. If you do reconsider don’t ask the assistance of the person who thought it would be a good idea to move production to another part of the country. I would like to see NEW programmes of Time Team in the future and not un-shown. So come on Channel 4 think about your reputation.

  47. I watched Time Team all over again (to tell the truth I watch it even now on Viasat cable network) same episodes, two, three, four times…In some seasons there were other field team leaders, other than Mick, but must say, he was one who TV camera likes best. Funny cap, one and jumper “of many colors” were integral part of this extraordinary, exceptional man of science (if archeology could be one – but in any case discipline need scientific methodology and apparatus).
    Bur sadly I was not aware of his death, until today, almost half a year latter. I liked him very much – seeing him as modest and easy going man, kind of sweet.

  48. A truly great man, he will be missed by millions. A team leader of great ability and modesty and of an intergrity that sets an example to us all

  49. I only became familiar with Time Team around about 2009 and was astonished that it already had such a long run. I assume it was very rarely shown here in Canada, but TVO (TV Ontario) began showing it regularly about the time I caught on. I applaud the Brits for sticking with a great show for as long as it ran! In N. America – such a program would have barely survived a couple of seasons!!

    It took little time for me to become familiar with the Team and I awaited each weekly episode with high anxiety! When many back episodes began showing up on the internet I was thrilled and indulged often and still do today.

    Just as I started classifying myself a true Time Team fan – the program was cancelled. Then soon after, with great sadness, came the news of the passing of Mr. Aston – and just 3 days after the passing my own father.

    Long live TT and Mr.A !

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