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Page last updated at 18:07 GMT, Thursday, 20 May 2010 19:07 UK
Tony Robinson's Time Team explore Jersey's Gorey Castle
Tony Robinson and Phil Harding from Time Team in Jersey
Tony Robinson and his Time Team came to Jersey's Gorey Castle

It's such a familiar part of the landscape and the backdrop to many an advertisement for Jersey Royal's.

But how much do we really know about the origins of Gorey Castle?

The medieval history of the castle is the subject television researchers for the Channel Four archaeology programme Time Team hope to explore.

The team have been in the island exploring the castle's time under the reign of King John, hoping to find objects from that period.

The team were in the island for three days digging up the Castle Green and at the same time filming at the Jersey War Tunnels .

Presenter Tony Robinson says they've wanted to come here for some time to find out more about the castle's history.

Time Team dig
Time Team hope to uncover the King John era castle

"There is very little known about the origins of the castle here, it goes back to the days when Jersey was developing this very odd relationship it has with England.

"The time of King John, when first of all Jersey was in the hands of the French and then somehow in the hands of the English Crown.

"The castle we see there is the Tudor castle, what we want to find is the earlier King John castle.

"We know that there was one here because there is documentary evidence of it but nobody has actually seen it in the ground.

"We think that we can see it both in the archaeology of the castle itself but also we'll start putting trenches in to record more of it.

"If we're successful in that we'll be able to hand you much more of the history of this wonderful site than when we came."

The idea first came about while Tony Robinson was in the island writing an article for Jersey Tourism on the island's WW2 history.

"It's always frustrated me that we haven't done a Time Team here before and if we were going to do one then obviously it made sense to come and do two.

"A year ago I was out here writing an article for the Jersey Tourist Board about the second world war archaeology in Jersey.

"We happened upon this little hill just behind the War Tunnels which was an old German defence position.

Time Team's Tony Robinson in Jersey

"The guy who runs the Jersey War Tunnels and myself thought it would be great to do a dig here.

"Then once we'd agreed to do that, well, this castle - what could be better than excavating that, so we're doing two for the price of one."

Consultant Archaeologist, Professor Warwick Rodwell has carried out historical research into the castle over many years and is behind the team coming.

He said that he hoped the resources of the television production team would finally allow them to research the outside of the castle.

"It's something that I've wanted to happen for a long time because when we were working here in the 1990's and the 2000's on the castle we didn't have the time or the resources to do any archaeology out here.

"I always hoped that one day we would find a way of doing some archaeology on the outside and resolving some of the great unanswered questions here and that's what we hope to do," said Professor Rodwell.

A well known character on the programme is Wessex Archaeologist Phil Harding and he explained that he spent a lot of the time working on a hill.

"At the moment I've been stuck up on the top of the hill in the shadow of the castle walls excavating a section across one of the earlier walls.

"The earlier material is obviously going to be further down, what we're tending to get at the moment is the muck people have thrown over the castle walls to get rid of it.

"It's a monument that deserves greater publicity, it is a phenomenal castle.

"Before I came here we looked at a few photographs of it and then when we arrived here we were driving along the road I thought, it's not as big as I thought it was going to be."

Laughing, Phil said that a highlight has simply been the childish joy of clambering around a castle.

Time Team dig
They've been digging in the grounds of Gorey Castle

"Then when we came around the corner I thought, it is big isn't it, it's a whopper.

"Then when you start clambering around in it, it is a castle, it's kids stuff and it doesn't matter how old you are you love scrambling around in castles."

When asked what his favourite find was, he apologised for sounding boring and then explained it was a simple flint.

"For me I always get excited about flints, it's great to know people were living up there maybe 4,000 BC and that's 6,000 years of history.

"It is not just a story about a castle, it is not just a story about phases of a castle, it is the story of that particular monument on the island and what it tells you about the island as a whole.

"I would love us to be able to go away from here knowing we had made a serious contribution to the archaeology of the island and of the site," said Phil Harding.

It's expected the episodes featuring the Jersey War Tunnels and Gorey Castle will air in 2011.

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