Time Team America takes a group of archeologists and scientists and puts them in a tough situation: they have just 72 hours to investigate a site and report back on their findings. Archaeology is both time and labor intensive. Some sites can take months or even years to excavate properly. With only three days to work with, Time Team brings on specialists and experts in order to hone in on key aspects of a site that we can focus a lot of attention on in little time. This allows us to get results without sacrificing the science.
Time Team America uses the same processes and techniques as other archaeologists. So how do they expect to learn anything useful in three days? Some scientists express skepticism about the three-day format. How can you fast-track real science? Isn't speed the enemy of truth? Time Team's archaeologists feel the pressure more than anyone, yet they're able to stand behind all of the archaeology that happens in that busy three-day window.
It's a matter of focus. Time Team's goal is not to make sensationalistic case-closing pronouncements about complex archaeological matters. Instead, they try to uncover new leads that will help archaeologists in their future excavations and research.
The team also brings in technology, additional experts, and crew that most digs couldn't otherwise afford. With these additional resources they can quickly analyze and investigate a few key questions about the site. When the cameras stop rolling, the team leaves behind an archaeologist to close out any outstanding work and complete the documentation.
It's a win-win situation. The archaeologists at the sites Time Team America visits get some extra muscle and critical data to help them advance their research. The audience gets to experience archaeology as it happens, minus the sore knees and blisters.