Q and A with Time Team America’s Colin Campbell

Time-Team-America---Colin

The Team’s only non-archaeologist, host Colin Campbell is also the team artist. Putting pen to paper, he helps us imagine the past. When Colin isn’t traveling with Time Team America, he works as an environmental artist at video game studio Big Huge Games outside of Baltimore, Maryland.  Colin sat down with SexyArchaeology.org to answer a few question about his role in the upcoming series.

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SexyArchaeology (SA):  Can you tell us a bit about your background:  What were you doing before Time Team America?
Colin Campbell (CC):  I was working as an artist for a video game company, Big Huge Games, and as a traveling, freelance painter. I’d jumped around to places like Antarctica, New Zealand, and parts of the US, painting.

SA:  Was Time Team America your first experience with archeology or had you had previous experience?
CC:  I studied ancient art history in college with a professor who is an archaeologist, so even the art history was taught with an archaeological approach. As for actual digging… I used to bury toys in my mother’s flower garden, then dig them up later, usually to the detriment of the garden. Actual archaeological digging was very new to me.

SA:  As the non-archaeologist of the group, did you feel at all intimidated being around people, like Eric, who have been in the field for thirty years?
CC:  I expected to, of course, but these folks are just amazingly generous with their knowledge and time. They have inhuman patience for people, like me, who come in not having in-depth knowledge.  They’re also just incredibly fun people to be with. There was some light-hearted ribbing of their naive artist along the way, but it was all good-natured.

SA:  What was your first day of filming like for you?
CC:  A wild ride. I’d never worked with a television crew before, or archaeologists. I didn’t know what I had gotten myself into. Never having been on a dig before, I was terrified that I would make some serious blunder that only folks who knew archaeology would know about, like a rookie actor coming into a theater rehearsal and saying ‘Macbeth’.  Consequently, I stayed as far back from the units as I could for a while, convinced I would shatter an artifact by looking at it sideways. I didn’t, and somehow the archaeology survived in spite of me.

SA:  Of the five locations the series visited this season, which was the most enjoyable for you?
CC:  Range Creek, Utah. Though all the sites were beautiful and amazing, the canyons of remote Utah were just breath-taking. I love camping, as well, and hanging out with the team around the campfire at night was a blast. I would get up early mornings and sit outside my tent, painting watercolors of the landscape.

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?
CC:  I’m not the expert on locations that my teammates are, so I would defer to them in terms of archaeology. If I had to say on my own, however, I’ve really enjoyed the sites where we’ve had a lot of insight into how a group of people coped with their environment, so I think I’d like to visit some more extreme locations.

SA:  How is Time Team America making archaeology sexy?
CC:  We all had to bathe in a cold creek every morning in Utah together. Farmer’s tans? Cold water? Come on. Sexy.

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.

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