27/11/2012

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Helen Castor is joined in the studio by Dr Rhodri Hayward from Queen Mary University of London and Martin Ellis, Curator at Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery.

Listener Caroline Melliar Smith tells the heart-breaking story of how she discovered that her mother's sister had her son taken away from her and was locked up in a mental institution for life in the 1930's. Her aunt was suffering from post natal depression. Is this the tip of a family-history iceberg, or was Alex simply unlucky to miss out on new advances in psychiatry?

In Sussex, Tom Holland joins archaeologists working on what they are describing as a crime scene investigation. Nearly 100 years ago, a skull and jaw bone was found in a gravel pit in the village of Piltdown. The newspapers of the day claimed the discovery as evidence of a Darwinian missing link between apes and humans. By 1953 Piltdown Man was shown to be more of a schoolboy fraud. Dr Matt Pope from University College London sets out the facts of the case while, in Cheltenham, Dr Phil Toms explains how the use of a relatively new technique known as luminescent dating might help to deliver more detail of this ice-age site. Back in the studio, Helen Castor talks to Dr Miles Russell of Bournemouth University who, in a new book called "Piltdown Man - Case Closed", points a finger of suspicion at the person he thinks carried out a fraud which, for nearly 40 years, changed the history of human evolution.

Finally, in our regular Making Historians feature, TV's Michael Wood explains how comics, Ladybird books and what he saw as a slight on the reputation of the Anglo Saxons by a Second World War military hero led him into a career as an historian.

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

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28 minutes

Last on

Tue 27 Nov 2012 15:00

Studio guests:

Dr Rhodri Hayward,  Queen Mary University of London

 

Martin Ellis, Curator at Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery

Care for the mentally ill

Listener Caroline Melliar Smith tells the heart-breaking story of how she discovered that her mother’s sister had had her son taken away from her and was locked up in a mental institution for life in the 1930's. Her aunt was suffering from post natal depression. Is this the tip of a family-history iceberg, or was Alex simply unlucky to miss out on new advances in psychiatry?

Piltdown Man

In Sussex Tom Holland joins archaeologists working on what they are describing as a crime scene investigation. Nearly 100 years ago a skull and jaw bone was found in a gravel pit in the village of Piltdown. The newspapers of the day claimed the discovery as evidence of a Darwinian missing link between apes and humans. By 1953 Piltdown Man was shown to be more of a schoolboy fraud. Dr Matt Pope from University College London sets out the facts of the case whilst in Cheltenham Dr Phil Toms explains how the use of a relatively new technique known as luminescent dating might help to deliver more detail of this ice-age site. Back in the studio, Helen Castor talks to Dr Miles Russell of Bournemouth University who, in a new book called "Piltdown Man – Case Closed", points a finger of suspicion at the person he thinks carried out a fraud which, for nearly 40 years, changed the history of human evolution.

 

Natural History Museum

 

The Guardian on Piltdown Man

Making Historians

This week: Michael Wood
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