I was going to do a blog about time travel without mentioning Doctor Who, but f-that.
I write time-travel utterly nothing like Doctor Who, but I love it just as much. At it's base, time-travel is just the 'stranger in a strange land' story-line that's been going in Science Fiction/Fantasy since it became a genre. And I know there are all kinds of issues with lumping those, but I'm going to, because for me the best sci-fi stories have a bit of fantasy. Maybe not orcs and trolls, but all the same.
Time-travel is one of the clearest exercises of Suspension of Disbelief I think you'll find, outside of actual Shakespeare. Very rarely do we get any actionable explanation of how the time travel works, unless someone just has utterly horrific world-builder's disease. Because even if the author was smart enough to come up with actionable science--and seriously, if you can come up with completely plausible science for time travel put the writing away and go. I want to see a dinosaur. Safely, from a very long way away, but still--the audience most likely isn't going to be capable of understanding it.
It's that tacit permission, for an hour and a half of TV or a couple of hours of a book, or whatever, to step out of literally everything we know and just pretend. It's being six and tying a towel around your neck and pretending to be a super-hero who makes exploding mud pies that attain sentience. It's pretending the refrigerator box can fly.
But more than that, if it's done right, it's using the past (or the future) to teach us something about ourselves. You think you're a screaming liberal? Can you imagine what people in another two-hundred years would think of you? How about the other direction? How frustrating would it be to find yourself in 1954 Alabama? The future and space seem scary? How about we drop you on a boat in the middle of the ocean in 1450. Are you feeling particularly safe?
There's a secret to that archaeologist quote up there.
I was an archaeology major in college. And there's a long, unrelated story to why I didn't finish that has to do with the job market, and life, and the fact I'd more or less taken whatever classes I wanted, which meant I had one major class left and nearly two years of gen-ed.
Anyway, aside from knowing things--about late-Omaha pipe structure, and the shift in the use of the letter A in English that caused the relationship of apron and napery to loose all actual sense--no one needs, I remember exactly how...inexact archaeologists are. I did base study of dendrochronology, and the general run-down of the time-frame you get from radiocarbon dating, and potassium-argon dating. There's a reason archaeologists qualify everything.
And have a less than stellar opinion of historians.
If one day we actually manage time-travel, and it doesn't unmake everything (I could drone on and on about theory here, but I'll save us all), can you imagine how much history we'd have to rewrite?