Professor Mick Aston has died aged 66, Channel 4's Time Team has announced. The circumstances surrounding his death have, as yet, not been revealed. Time Team tweeted the sad news yesterday evening saying "It is with a very heavy heart that we've been informed that our dear colleague Mick Aston has passed away. Our thoughts are with his family."

The archaeology professor was a resident academic on Time Team. The channel 4 programme, presented by actor Tony Robinson (Blackadder) finished earlier this year at the end of its 20th series. It was hugely popular with the public for its eccentric academics of which Aston was one. 

Aston left the programme in 2011 after he claimed Channel 4 had 'dumbed down' the programme. His decision does not appear to have caused animosity amongst any of his colleagues on the show as tributes to the archaeologist have flooded in from colleagues and admirers alike. 

In memory of Aston, his fellow Time Team-er Lee Brady has suggested that "The Time Team crew and Channel 4 should commission a 'one-off' special dig" and that it should be "at a location Mick would have loved."

The final series was aired earlier this year but a number of one-off episodes are currently in planning stages, it is possible a tribute could be paid to the late Aston in one of these episodes. 

Time Team was partly as a result of Aston who claimed an archaeological site could be evaluated within three days, hence the premise of the programme, according to the Time Team website. Sites around the British Isles were excavated within this time period. The programme brought archaeology into the public eye and drew attention to a number of lesser known sites as well as providing much needed funding for digs. 

Contactmusic sends their condolences to Mick Aston's friends and family. 

Tony RobinsonTony Robinson Was A Colleague And Friend Of Mick Aston