River Hunters Season 2
The River Hunters are back - bigger and better than ever – making their way across Britain to search the rivers and waterways of some of the UK’s most important archaeological sites: many for the very first time.
The six-part series joins US YouTube sensation, river detectorist Beau Ouimette; TV presenter and keen swimmer Rick Edwards; and underwater archaeologist Gary Bankhead as they delve into the depths of Britain’s watery past.
From the Rivers Ouse and Derwent in Viking York, to the bloody battles of the Jacobite Rebellion near the Rivers Tay and Garry in Scotland, Rick, Beau and Gary will seek to unearth treasures from the rivers which have borne witness to some of the most turbulent periods in British history.
Using state-of-the-art underwater technology, live drone footage and accounts from the period, Beau and Rick perform the first underwater archeological digs in some of the most exciting and iconic historical sites in Britain, often in dangerous and fast-flowing waters.
To further their search, they will be joined by local archaeologists, metal detectorists and historians in each episode: some of whom have waited years for this unique opportunity to search these historic sites.
The returning series offers a new perspective on each river’s layered past and could redefine British history as we know it.
The River Hunters are back making their way across Britain to search the rivers and waterways of some of the UK’s most important archaeological sites.
Episode One – The Battle of Killiecrankie
The River Hunters take on the River Garry, situated in the beautiful Scottish Highlands, where the team searches for evidence of one of Scotland’s bloodiest eras, the Jacobite Rebellions.
They start at the site of the 1689 Battle of Killiecrankie - the first major clash between the Highland Jacobites and the Government army - where the Jacobites fought to reinstate a Catholic King to the throne in an epic struggle that saw one of the earliest uses of grenades on the battlefield. With the help of local archaeologists, the team searches for military evidence of that innovative battle.
The search continues at the tumultuous River Tay, where the group focuses their efforts on the town of Dunkeld, the site of a decisive battle that saw the government army trapped inside the town’s cathedral, battling to survive as the Jacobite army closed in around them.
In one of the most successful river hunts ever undertaken, the team find direct evidence of legendary battles, including a rare find considered to be nationally important and worthy of a major museum.
Episode Two – Viking Invasion
Rick and Beau visit the mighty River Ouse in Yorkshire, hunting for evidence of Britain’s most notorious seafaring raiders: the Vikings.
The mission starts in York city centre, once named Jorvik and the centre of Viking Britain. Whilst the city has long been an archaeological mecca, no-one has attempted a search of the city’s river before, so the River Hunters delve through a thousand years’ worth of river debris to find evidence of Viking life in this ancient city.
The team then search the site of an epic riverside battle between the Anglo Saxons and the Vikings. The Battle of Fulford saw Norwegian King Harald Hardrada lead an army of ten thousand Vikings to claim a brutal and bloody victory over their enemies.
The river quest takes them on to the River Derwent, following the route of the Norse army to Stamford Bridge, site of the last Viking showdown in Britain: a fight that would see the defeated Viking army fleeing back to Scandinavia.
With a find potentially dating to the 11th Century battle, it’s a river hunt of epic proportions.
Episode Three – Scotland and the Civil War
Back in Scotland, the River Hunters go in search of evidence of the clashing Scottish clans embroiled in the civil war that raged across the British Isles in the 17th Century. Fights erupted during this period between the Royalists supporting the King and the Covenanters wanting more power for church and state.
Starting on the River Lochy, situated in the shadow of Ben Nevis, the group hunt for evidence of the 1645 Battle of Inverlochy - a pivotal fight that saw the Royalist army launch a surprise attack against the ill-prepared Covenanters.
Following one of the victorious Royalist clans’ route home, the team travel to the River Arkaig, ancestral home to the mighty Clan Cameron, where they pull up finds showcasing highland life through the centuries and potential battle relics from the civil war. The hunt is dramatically cut short, however, when a military find with explosive potential is uncovered.
Episode Four – Canterbury Murder (Henry II and Thomas a Becket)
This episode sees our River Hunters head to Canterbury, where they’re granted special permission to undertake the first official search of this section of the River Stour as they hunt for relics left behind by 12th Century pilgrims.
Ever since Canterbury’s Archbishop Thomas Becket was brutally murdered inside the Cathedral in 1170, religious pilgrims have flocked to the city to pay their respects. The team is on the lookout for trinkets and souvenirs dropped by the religious masses that flocked to the site in the following centuries.
This city centre river is a challenging spot, with dark tunnels and WWII detritus to search through. But despite the tricky conditions, a fantastic haul showcasing Canterbury’s rich history is uncovered including finds that could well have been lost by pilgrims of old.
Episode five – The Colchester Siege (2nd English Civil War
The River Hunters hit the oldest town in Britain - Colchester - searching the town’s historic waterway, the River Colne, for evidence of the longest siege in British history: the Siege of Colchester.
In 1648, the fortified city became embroiled in the bitter and brutal second English Civil War. As Royalist supporters retreated inside the city walls, the Parliamentarians surrounded the city, cut off escape routes and began to hammer the town with cannon and musket fire. An epic showdown lasted eleven long weeks.
With the River Colne situated on the outskirts of the old city walls, it’s prime hunting ground for siege relics, as the team head to the rural margins of the city to search a river crossing that was once used by fleeing Royalist soldiers attempting to escape the siege.
Uncovered are incredible artefacts dating back to the Roman occupation of the city and rare finds that could date to the 17th Century siege.
Episode six – Knaresborough Castle (14th Century Northern Raids)
The final hunt of the series takes the team back to Yorkshire to hunt for relics from the bloody and brutal 14th Century clashes between the English and the Scottish.
The search begins on the River Nidd, in the shadow of the mighty Knaresborough Castle, the site of an epic 1318 battle where hundreds of raging Scots raided and plundered the town, including the feared warrior known as ‘Black Douglas’. With the river running through the centre of the battleground, the team search for lost weaponry and pillaged riches.
Not stopping there, the River Hunters venture to the River Swale, site of a bloody showdown in 1319. As Black Douglas attempted another brutal assault, a band of English militia and monks were thrown together to stop the Scots heading further South in what became known as the White Battle.
Trawling these epic rivers with the help of local amateur detectorists and legendary underwater archaeologist Gary Bankhead, the team uncover finds that could date back to our 14th century battle.
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