They excavate historic sites all over the UK and in mainland Europe for a series of programmes fronted by Tony Robinson. He’s probably still best-known for playing Baldrick in BBC TV’s Blackadder comedy romp alongside Rowan Atkinson.

Equipped with an Agile semi-automatic gearbox and an EXE option pack, the 2.3-litre 116hp diesel 3.5-tonner is used to shift all sorts of equipment from dig to dig. It transports everything from tables and chairs to shovels and buckets.

What Van? caught up with the van and regular driver, Kerry Ely, in a field in Norman Cross, just outside Peterborough. Close to the A1, it was the site of a prison camp during the Napoleonic Wars in the late 18th/early 19th century and held captured sailors and marines. Excavated by the Time Team, it was built to hold up to 6,000 captives.

Because Kerry regularly has to get into awkward-to-access locations, he’s especially impressed by the Daily’s manoeuvrability. “That’s its big advantage so far as I’m concerned along with its carrying capacity,” he grins. Although it spends 90 per cent of its time on the road fully laden it doesn’t lack performance, he reports. Nor have there been any reliability glitches during the thousands of miles it has clocked up since Kerry took delivery in February. He likes the Agile ’box, but admits that it takes a bit of getting used to. In hilly terrain he usually switches to manual mode. Leave it in automatic mode and it will constantly change gear unnecessarily, he says.

Drawbacks? One or two aspects of the dashboard’s design could do with improvement, he suggests, but otherwise he’s happy.

One unusual feature of the Time Team Daily isn’t visible from the ground. It’s a big 'H' painted on the roof to guide in the helicopters the programme uses so that they can land safely not far from wherever the van is parked. Extensive use is made of helicopters by Time Team because they allow the outlines of vanished structures to be spotted easily from the air. The buildings that housed the Norman Cross prisoners have long since disappeared.

Channel 4 will be broadcasting the Time Team programme featuring the Norman Cross dig sometime between January and March 2010.