Helen Castor and the team explore recent historical research and follow up listeners' questions and comments.

Today: a piece of iron 1400 years old which was found near Folkestone in Kent provides even more evidence that the 7th century was far from dark. It's a 'coulter', an attachment to a plough which helped it cultivate heavy land. Thought to have disappeared at the end of Roman occupation this is evidence of a boom time in English agriculture.

From America we receive an image of a chicken, the Stars and Stripes and the legend "I've got a chicken in France". Evidence of a wartime romantic assignation? Sadly not. Actually a leading historian and a respected virologist believe it could be evidence of a sponsorship scheme that fuelled the world's most deadly pandemic.

Back home in 'blighty' a leading historian from the University of Essex is travelling around England trying to track down examples of a 'protestation' or oath which he argues was at the heart of divisions during the Civil War.

Finally, to Suffolk where we try to help a band of volunteers at a former American airbase who have found a reel of film which they think may well bring to life its role in the wartime air bombardment of Europe.

Producer: Nick Patrick
A Pier Production for BBC Radio 4.

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30 minutes

Last on

Tue 12 Apr 2011 15:00