A TELEVISION crew has been exploring Colchester’s River Colne for historically important artefacts as part of a new series of River Hunters.

River Hunters is back for a second season to follow the adventures of river detectorists as they search underwater locations across the country of historical significance.

For episode five, television presenter and keen swimmer Rick Edwards, river detectorist Beau Ouimette and underwater archaeologist Gary Bankhead explore the River Colne’s links to the Siege of Colchester.

Ben Paites, who is the collections and learning curator for Colchester Museums, will be featured on the episode to discuss the historic siege which lasted for a tumultuous 11 weeks in 1648.

Julie Young, Colchester Council’s deputy leader, said any television coverage Colchester gets is good for the borough.

She added: “Television attention is also good for tourism as it puts Colchester on the map.

“The exposure will be good as it puts our town’s history in the spotlight too so viewers can experience our historical connections.”

The Siege of Colchester has been dubbed the most significant event 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.

A statement on the River Hunters website said the cast will be searching the town’s historic waterway for evidence of the siege.

It added: “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.”

For the series the team uses state-of-the-art underwater technology and live drone footage.


Explore - the River Colne will feature in episode five of the series 

Rick, who is known for presenting Freshly Squeezed, E4 Music and much of Channel 4’s 2012 Paralympics coverage, and Beau are filmed carrying out the first underwater archaeological digs in some of the most iconic historical sites in Britain.

Colchester Museums said on Twitter: “So excited for this.

“The episode features are very own Ben Paites.”

The River Colne episode will be aired on Sky History on Monday, May 3 at 9pm.