Chelsea Rose took time out of schedule to answer some questions about her experiences on the upcoming series Time Team America. As head of Time Team’s excavation crews, Chelsea directs the troweling and shoveling. Born and raised in Northern California, Chelsea’s passion is researching the California Gold Rush of the 1850’s, including nineteenth century Chinatowns and multi-ethnic mining camps.
SexyArchaeology (SA): What did you do before you got involved with Time Team America?
Chelsea Rose (CR): Before Time Team America (TTA), I was pursuing my Masters Degree and working as a CRM archaeologist in California and Oregon. Now I live on a yacht and travel the world working on the most exotic and exciting archaeology sites. No, not really. I am basically doing the same thing as before: finishing up my thesis and doing archaeology on the west coast.
SA: Can you tell us a bit about what the first day of shooting was like for you?
CR: Scary. My first experience on camera was a conversation with another team member, Joe Watkins. I was so nervous I had to clench my teeth to stop from shaking, and apparently I was nodding like a mad woman. Luckily Joe pointed out my obsessive nodding, so in the next shot I wasn’t worried as much about my nerves, just focused on keeping my head still! The day definitely improved when I challenged our accomplished backhoe driver to peel a banana with his bucket (video). He graciously accepted the challenge, and it was awesome.
SA: What are the differences between a Time Team America dig and a “typical” archaeology dig, say one funded by a University? What sort of challenges do you face?
CR: The archaeology done on TTA was the same as any other dig, but we were able to bust out with a few more bells and whistles. TTA’s sexy geophysics team strutted their stuff with high tech equipment, there were a few helicopter rides, some rock climbing, boat excursions, and reenactors – all sorts of ways to experience the archaeological site and its history that might not normally be splurged on. Other than the usual challenges one faces on an archaeological site: alligators, deadly snakes, lightning, floods, ticks, and hurricane gale winds, the biggest trick was trying to avoid doing or saying anything stupid on camera that could be later used for blackmail!
SA: The first series is finished filming, were there any sites that you really wanted to stick around and work on for more than the three days?
CR: Roanoke Island was a classic example of the 4 o’clock on a Friday afternoon amazing discovery that leaves you wanting more. They had to drag us off the site, not knowing if those postholes belonged to the Lost Colony or not! The First Colony Foundation stayed on a few more days to wrap up and ended up finding an unbelievable feature just inches from where we were working!
SA: The first series explores five locations around the United States. If the producers came to you with the option of choosing a site for season two, anywhere in the US, without restriction, where would you like to dig?
CR: At one point there was a rumor of excavating a Louisiana pirate hideout- that would be pretty damn sexy!
SA: What is the most enjoyable part of working on Time Team America?
CR: Without a doubt, the people! We had tons of fun, went to beautiful places and got to work on some amazing sites. I have never seen so many sexy archaeologists- and the behind the scenes crew wasn’t too bad either!
You can view the first episode of Time Team America now by heading over to the PBS Digital Portal. And don’t forget to watch Time Team America on Wednesdays starting July 8th at 8/7c on PBS.