THE site of a North-East medieval village is to be the subject of a television programme.

The Channel 4 archaeology documentary Time Team spent three days excavating in Ulnaby, on the outskirts of Darlington.

The series, which is presented by Tony Robinson, who played Baldrick in the comedy series Blackadder, was trying to establish when the village was founded.

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The village is a Scheduled Ancient Monument because it is so well preserved.

It consists of a number of tofts - peasant house plots and their accompanying gardens - in two rows with a village green, and is situated next to Ulnaby Hall farmhouse.

Yesterday, as the dig came to an end, the experts praised the quality of the preservation.

Phil Harding, one of the programme's field archaeologists, said: "There are not many sites that are as well preserved as this.

"It's an absolute classic, when you look at it on aerial photographs.

"It is a site to die for, to all intents and purposes it's all here."

The programme was trying to find evidence that the village dated back to Saxon times and also unearth possible reasons for its abandonment.

It was also investigating why the villagers in Ulnaby would have used ridge and furrow ploughing techniques.

Mr Harding said: "We've got material dating back to the 14th Century, which is not as early as I would have thought, but maybe we're digging in the wrong place.

"We've found a silver coin and also a bone spoon handle - it's the kind of thing that ordinary people would use and not high-status guys.

"That's what this village is all about. It's about ordinary people, farmers and labourers. We're trying to get away from people such as the lords and we're looking at the ordinary Joe Bloggs.

"Hopefully, we can come up with a very entertaining TV programme."

Mr Robinson said he also felt the dig had been a big success.

He said: "We've had everything the North-East can throw at us in terms of weather, with the possible exception of a plague of frogs.

"But this village is amazingly well preserved and it's all here."

The programme is due to be broadcast on Channel 4 early next year.