Thursday, July 9, 2009

Welcome, Time Team America

I enjoyed watching the first episode of Time Team America on PBS last night. I've never seen the UK show on which it is based. The program has a nice web site, where you can stream last night's show. On yesterday's episode, the team was trying to find evidence for the European colonization of Roanoke Island, North Carolina.

The show started out with some magnetometry, showing the very Bartington instrument I had been checking out for a proposal yesterday, and Meg Watters, the team geophysicist, running gpr. Personally, I'd explain magnetometry a little differently, but why quibble (except for the fact that I am an academic, so a professional quibbler). The archaeologist at the site was Nick Lucketti, of the First Colony Foundation, whom I did a small archaeomagnetic job for seven years ago. I also met Eric Deetz, another member of the Time Team, on that same trip to the Jamestown area. The show recalled to me some criticism of the Time Team Program that these three-day site visits are not how archaeology works, and I can see that criticism. The finds were relatively slim, although, as Nick said, more European household artifacts than had been found for some years. Still, this seems like a good way to excite the public about the possibilities of archaeology, and the application of scientific methods.

1 comment:

  1. Hi, thanks for the positive comments on the first Time Team America program. As an academic myself, I understand your need to quibble. Of course magnetometry is a bit more complex than perhaps is presented on the web site. Also, with all of the work that has gone into the program and web content, many people have edited lots of footage and text. I've tried to keep on top of things, but would certainly tweak a few things here and there. But, it does cover the basics and hopefully provide info that will engage and excite the general viewing public! Hang on for Ft. James, we use the Foerster magnetometer with 3 sensors and a GPS!! Was that fun or what?!

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