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Aired Wednesday July 8th, 2009 at 7:00 pm on KUED HD Ch. 7.1
TIME TEAM AMERICA Lead Digger Chelsea Rose at work at Fort Raleigh. Credit: Crystal Street
For most Americans, any examination of the people who lived before us begins and ends with the reading of a book or the viewing of a film. There are some, however, whose curiosity and desire drive them to get their hands dirty by digging into the places where history began. Finding evidence buried for centuries is the only way to satisfy their hunger for knowledge. This kind of passion drives the archaeologists and historians in TIME TEAM AMERICA.
This all-new PBS summer series brings viewers into the trenches of working archaeological digs for three intense days - showing them what it takes to uncover the story of America. Premiering on broadcast television Wednesday, July 8, 2009, at 7 p.m. on KUED-Channel 7, TIME TEAM AMERICA descends on a new site each Wednesday through August 5, traveling to Roanoke Island, North Carolina, the swamps of South Carolina, the fields of rural Illinois, the canyons of Utah and the South Dakota prairie in search of America's roots.
Part extreme adventure, part science and part reality show, the five-part series takes viewers deep into the trenches of America's most intriguing archaeological sites. In each episode, the show's team of top scientists has three days to uncover the buried secrets of their assigned dig. Every hour counts as they piece together the past, using the latest technology, decades of combined experience and their own sharp wits. Far from the comfort of a museum or science lab, the team faces searing heat, driving rain, alligator-infested swamps, frayed nerves and inevitable technical setbacks. Through it all, the audience peers over the shoulders of the archaeologists at work, eavesdropping on intense conversations and sharing the rush of discovery as artifacts emerge from the ground.
Regardless of conditions or impediments, the team strives to uncover critical discoveries that fill in the missing pieces of what is known with the proof of what is found. A chip of pottery becomes colonial kitchenware; a slate pencil suggests a 19th-century schoolhouse; a stone projectile point indicates a 13,000-year-old tool factory; and a centuries-old broken bottle leads to adventurous tales of the Wild West.
In exchange for an abundance of fascinating stories and intriguing mystery, the chosen sites are enriched by TIME TEAM AMERICA's work. Many excavation sites wait years between discoveries -- due to lack of funding, labor, expertise or equipment. The TIME TEAM AMERICA cohort gives sites an intensive three-day boost, offering consulting from across disciplines, access to the latest scanning and imaging technology, artists' renderings, professional documentation and even a precision backhoe operator when necessary.
The series is based on the popular long-running British "Time Team" series, which also has served to educate the general public about preserving the United Kingdom's archaeological record.
In a groundbreaking experiment, TIME TEAM AMERICA's premiere episode debuted online on the PBS video portal (pbs.org/video) months before the series' broadcast TV premiere. TIME TEAM's online premiere on Earth Day 2009 was part of PBS' successful launch of the new portal; the show was the most viewed video on the site at launch. Additional episodes will be available online the morning after broadcast.
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