An Open Letter to Tony & The Time Team

Dear Tony,

When people make a difference in my life I try to take the time to tell them thank you.  Now it’s your turn.  Thank you for nerding out for twenty years in producing Time Team.  Had the program not been posted on youtube, I never would have known it existed.  As an American and as a Soldier I haven’t been too many places where watching television on a regular schedule (especially BBC) hasn't been an option.

In your last season you participated in a dig at Barrow Clump coordinated by an Afghan war vet who was participating in Operation Nightingale.  During the program you presented how much the veteran used the show as a way to reduce stress.  The show did give ample time to the subject, but for me it didn’t adequately answer the question of how your program has helped.  I believe I have the answer, or at least I have my answer.

For me it’s really easy to relate to the experiences on time team even though I’ve never done a single dig.  The show presents a small team with close relationships working regardless of the weather in the dirt.  I’ve had to dig in the dirt for different reasons over the years, and the weather was never allowed to be an obstacle to the mission.  In some shots on the show you can even see the same tents we use being used to protect sites or set up a mobile headquarters.

The Time Team shows are full of vibrant characters.  So are the teams I’ve worked on over the years.  Both the characters on the show and the ones I’ve worked with seem to treat everything as an adventure.  They have a positive attitude even when things get hard.  Both archaeologists and Soldiers get excited about the smallest things.  It’s neat to watch how the excitement over a shard of pottery brings back memories of the excitement over a pack of skittles.  The subject may be different but the emotions are very similar.

Archaeology can be a powerful tool for those living with a past with uncomfortable memories.  Steve is one of the best friends I have in the service.  He’s also dealing with more than anyone else I’ve ever known.  Every weekend he had off he’d take off to the woods with his metal detector.  Being out in nature and hunting for the past has given him something to look forward to when days get rough.  It’s where he feels at peace, and peace is something he’s paid dearly for over the years.

Mick’s passing must have been sad for the whole team, and I’m sure words were spoken about his efforts as a professional living past his time in mortality.  I’m proof those words were very, very true.  Thanks to today’s technology every episode is living on and making a difference.  Maybe not for everyone, but certainly for me.

I don’t have an honorary doctorate or a seat on some boar to offer, but I do have a seat at my kitchen table with my family who is grateful that every week I’m becoming a little more of myself than I was a few months ago.  Thank you.

Please forward this to Phil, John, Carenza, Francis, Stewart, and each of the wonderful folks you’re in touch with from the amazing 20 year breadth of the show.  Every one of them would be welcome at my kitchen table for dinner, and if they all showed up at the same time, I’ll go buy a bigger table.

-Jacob Roecker
Boise, ID