UK-based archaeology television show, Time Team, has used a CX27B mini excavator from Case to undertake an archaeological dig in the grounds at Westminster Abbey. Case is represented in Australia by Case Construction Equipment .
Matt Hankin, Case Australia’s Marketing Manager said, “Westminster Abbey is widely recognised as a site of extreme historical significance, as well as being a major tourist attraction in London. A single mistake on such a delicate project would be disastrous, but the team can’t afford to sacrifice power for accuracy, either. That’s why they chose Case.”
The aim of the dig on the Abbey Green was to find archaeological evidence of a huge sacristy, apparently built on the site by King Henry III who was the founder of the modern abbey in the 13th century. The sacristy building would have been designed to store sacred utensils and vestments. The Time Team also hoped to discover evidence of remains of an even earlier church from Saxon times on the same site.
The work undertaken by the Case machines is essential according to operator Ian Barclay.
“We only have three days for each dig, whereas a normal dig might have three to four weeks. Using the Case machines means we can get down to the archaeology more quickly,” he explained. “I can also reinstate a site much faster than it can be done manually.”
He continued to explain that there’s more to his work than speed, “The Case machines give me the control to take off layers the thickness of a newspaper and reveal the skeletons or pottery underneath without disturbing them,” he added. “Uncovering a mosaic after scraping the earth off and not marking it is the most incredible thing.”
Case excavation machines have featured regularly on Time Team, with a wide variety of equipment including mini excavators, 80 tonne CX800, and backhoes all being supplied to the Time Team digs.
Aside from Westminster Abbey, Case excavation equipment has assisted the Time Team conduct digs at such high profile locations as Hampton Court Palace and the Queen’s lawn at Buckingham House.
The Case CX27B mini excavator is a zero tailswing machine that has an operating weight of 2,630kg and a power output of 17kW. The mini excavator was used at the Westminster Abbey dig, was used to help remove turf and thin layers of topsoil before the archaeologists could continue the excavation by hand.
“The critical thing is both having a machine that does the job we need it to do and also a skilled operator to make the most of it. The combination of Case and Ian is great for us,” said Tim Taylor, series producer and creator of Time Team.
“Case has the range of machines to be able to adapt to our needs, whether that’s for big digs or work in small spaces, and this has allowed us to demonstrate to archaeologists that using machines like this in the right way can be a tremendously important tool. With Ian we’ve been able to show how finely the machines can be used and the degree of control they have to be able to take the finest layers off.”
“This is a World Heritage Site, and one of the most important sites in Britain if not all of Europe, but we’re absolutely confident about bringing in the Case mini excavator to take off the top layers and work on site. It’s a tremendous illustration of what you can do with good equipment and good operators.”