Chelsea Rose is an historical archaeologist and adjunct faculty member at Southern Oregon University. Born and raised in northern California, Chelsea has been consumed with a love of history and archaeology from an early age. She focuses her research on the early settlement and development of the American West, and often invites students and the local community to join her on archaeological digs across the Pacific Northwest. Chelsea received her undergraduate degree at the University of Oregon, and her graduate degree at Sonoma State University. This is Chelsea's second season with Time Team America.
This is a really loaded question, and one that used to always stress me out. There are many great moments in archaeology, but usually the best part is when the big picture emerges out of dozens of finds. When we as anthropologists begin to wax poetic about the nuances of archaeology, and how it is not about what you “find,” but what you “find out,” people’s eyes usually begin to glaze over and they try to escape. They were probably expecting a two minute anecdote about a jade statue with ruby eyes, right? However, a few years ago I found the artifact that allows me to finally answer this question without totally bumming the questioner out: I found a glass plate negative that had been buried for close to 150 years that still had an image on it. The negative was from a photograph taken of a painting of an Alpine scene with two goats. Goats! Come on—that’s way better than rubies!
When did you first know you wanted to be an archaeologist?
What does Time Team America mean to you?
Potential. There are thousands of archaeologists working on fascinating sites across America on any given day- yet most people don’t understand what we do or why. I find great inspiration in the fact that there is so much yet to be learned, that the methods of inquiry are constantly evolving, and that the digital age makes it possible for data to be shared like never before. As a participant in Time Team America, I have been privileged not only to have been able to work with amazing sites and people, but also to have been a part of an important dialog on how to better present the awesome world of science to the public in a meaningful and exciting way.
What do you hope is the take away for viewers of Time Team America?
I am very lucky to be able to work at something that I really love and am passionate about. The more I learn about archaeology, the more curious and engaged I become. I hope that we can spread some of that enthusiasm. However, as archaeologists we do not take our job lightly—we make important choices, which can have lasting impacts. Time Team gives us as archaeologists a unique opportunity to share that with a huge audience—and in a realistic and responsible way. I hope people are excited about archaeology, are engaged by the potential, and most importantly, gain respect for the process.
What does it take to do what you do? I mean, it’s a seriously dirty hot mess out there with the bugs, critters, traveling to remote places, and now cameras!?!
It takes a sense of humor. Fieldwork can be challenging on many levels- there is a lot of pressure and responsibility involved in excavation, often a time crunch, and there is usually some kind of wrench in the works. A snowstorm, 100+ degree weather, faulty equipment, etc. As with life, it is often the most trying of circumstances that make for the memorable field experiences. You have to laugh at yourself and the situation sometimes. I am also a prankster, so I guess that helps.