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In each episode, the team's archaeologists have three days to investigate a site not otherwise open for excavation, such as a golf course. The sites have generally never been explored with modern techniques, and often not at all, making this programme one of the few examples of genuine scientific research being televised. At some of the sites, Time Team have made discoveries of national historical significance.
The success of the programme inspired multiple imitators, such as Meet the Ancestors and House Detectives. There have also been several Spin-Off programmes, and live episodes; in 2006, for example, they broadcast live coverage of the team digging up the gardens of Buckingham Palace.