Friends and colleagues have paid tribute to Time Team archaeologist Mick Aston, who has died aged 66.
Time Team’s official Facebook and Twitter accounts said: “It is with a very heavy heart that we’ve been informed that our dear colleague Mick Aston has passed away. Our thoughts are with his family.”
Former colleague Phil Harding, who also worked on the Channel 4 series, told the Press Association: “He was a seriously good mate and a seriously good archaeologist, a unique man. Everybody loved him, he just had a way with people. I cannot believe there was anybody who disliked him, he just had such a relaxed way.”
He added that although Aston had suffered health problems, he was still shocked: “It just seems so incredible, like a bad dream, but unfortunately this is no dream. He had incredible knowledge and an effortless way of making archaeology accessible to people.”
Born and raised in Oldbury in the West Midlands, Professor Aston was well known on the series for his brightly coloured sweaters.
He joined the show, led by actor and presenter Tony Robinson, when it began in 1994, and completed 19 series.
However, he left under something of a cloud last year when he accused the programme of dumbing down. “There is a lot less archaeology and more pratting about,” he said of the show, which has now been axed by Channel 4.
Professor Francis Pryor, who also worked with Aston on the programme, paid tribute to a man who he described as a “remarkable archaeologist who could really dig”. He said: “I will remember him fondly.”