Sunday, January 25, 2015

Time to Heal and Time Team

I had to take a break from writing blogs because I sprained my right shoulder in late September.  I found out the hard way that nursing home wheelchairs are like pushing a grocery cart with a wonky wheel.  I work at a brisk pace on the computer all day, so I've come home at night to ice my shoulder and watch Time Team.

The original regular members were (left to right above) Tony Robinson as the presenter, Phil Harding, Prof. Mick Aston as the site coordinator and Carenza Lewis. Time Team is a very enjoyable program to watch.  A few archaeologists wanted to find a way to bring history to the people and educate them about their own country.  It ran for 20 years!  The first few years had only 4 episodes, then it jumped to 13 episodes a year.  There were also many specials.  The people featured on the program were educated, good-natured and intelligent, sometimes funny.  Each program also involved a few specialists in a given area, like Roman architecture or British pottery. In many episodes there would also be a specialist who would try to reproduce something of the time period under investigation, like a mill for Saxon mortar. Sometimes the team were invited by one individual, or an entire village, to investigate what's in their backyard.  Sometime they were invited by a government agency.  Out of the 230 sites they investigated, 210 were then legally protected.  That's a pretty good record.

I have a lot of English ancestors.  It's been a very enjoyable and entertaining way to see what Great Britain looks like and to learn some history.  Yes, I wondered if they would excavate something related to my ancestors.  They did, eventually, on my mother's side.  I will write about that on Wabash Valley Families.

I was very sad to discover that Mick Aston passed away.  He didn't think he made much difference.  He must have, or the villages and the government agencies wouldn't have invited  the team to do digs.  The series wouldn't have run for 20 years.  When it started in 1993, there was no Internet and no World-Wide Web.  People around the world watch Time Team now and enjoy watching the archaeology and the history revealed.  

PBS attempted to make archaeology popular in this country  by presenting Time Team America.  I think there've been only 9 episodes.  Why the big difference?  I know there's not the allure of having Mesolithic, Neolithic, Bronze Age, Iron Age, Roman, Saxon, Norman, Medieval and Tudor finds all in one backyard, but how long ago was 1492? The Vikings were here in the 11th century. I tend to think not that many people in this country are interested in history.