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Questions Questions: What are the origins of hair jewellery?

Thursday 28 July 2011, 15:04

QQ Team QQ Team

The mid point of the series is fast approaching and we've already been inundated with fabulous questions from you.

Archaeological sites near the Globe Theatre

This week a question from listener Barry Greenwood prompted Stewart to ponder, excuse the pun, the spawning rituals of frogs.

Stewart was marching to the beat of listener Phyll Ward's drum as he addressed her question on protest chants, and Ron Stubbs asked us why County Durham is the only English county to use the prefix County.

QQ reporter Dave Dodd finally laid to rest those stories about **church bells ringing** from the depths of drowned villages using a fancy microphone, a sonar testing facility, and a very heavy bell. You can satisfy your curiosity by listening again to the programme.

In the next QQ on Thursday 4th August, we'll be exploring the microscopic marvels of the flea circus - are they really using fleas? Stewart has been traipsing around the moorland looking for the meaning of Neolithic quoits, large stone structures that are dotted around our landscape.

And, the question on everyone's lips - what is a wing wom? finally gets an answer. It's a tale of nonsense words, frustrated parents, and…trifle. Listen in to find out.

We've had some great responses to questions posed in the programme and online. Many of you have touch-typed your way onto the airwaves - we hope you enjoyed hearing your questions and contributions on air. Please keep on commenting on our Radio 4 Facebook posts, contacting us on Twitter using #R4QQ, and contributing here on the blog.

You can also reach us directly using the Contact Us form. We'd still love your solutions to the following problems.

Let us know your theories below.

  • Question 1: Is it possible to drown nits?
  • Question 2: What are the origins of hair jewellery?
  • Question 3: Is the earth getting fatter? Our listener asks: All archaeological sites are beneath the ground - sometimes several feet down. Do they sink into the earth, or does material pile on top of them?

Keep your own questions coming in and you may find that niggling puzzle solved by the QQ Team.

Please send them to questions.questions@bbc.co.uk, call us on 03700 100 400, or leave them as comments on this blog.

The Questions Questions team


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    Comment number 1.

    This kind of qualified historical debate makes up why the BBC is great, and makes the license fee worthwhile. As someone who has studied the classical history of hair jewelry, I can tell you that it was not always worn as mourning jewelry, but far more often was crafted as love tokens from sweethearts, family members and cherished friends. From the early renaissance through the Victorian age, ornate rings might be engraved with loving messages and memorials either on the face or inside the band, and might also have hidden compartments for the hair. These became particularly popular for the wives of disgraced soldiers and condemned criminals (there is still a picture here on crime reports) of the kind of woven hair rings that are now collectible items.

    Around 1700-1750, hair brooches too came in all sizes from the daintiest lace pin to a larger 3" oval meant to be worn at the neck. Watch chains and bracelets often show the most ingenious hair weaving techniques with more than one color of hair often used, as perhaps a chain given by youngest daughters to their father.

  • rate this

    Comment number 2.

    Katherine from the QQ Team here. Many thanks sam-hemmings for your extremely interesting comment about hair jewellery. This kind of informed comment is why we post up questions on the blog so thank you for taking the time to post.

    To everyone who has been posting about wing woms - thank you. We'll be covering the subject in this week's edition of QQ on Thursday 4th at 13:30. I hope you'll all be listening for some answers.


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Find out about this year's panel and theme