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Making History
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Begins Tuesday 19 April 2005, 3.00-3.30 p.m
Sue Cook and the team answer listeners' historical queries and celebrate the way in which we all 'make' history.
Series 11
Programme 13
12 July 2005

Listen to this programme in full

Yew trees in churchyards

A listener in South Wales asks: Why do we find so many yew trees in our churchyards, why are they symbolic, and do they live for thousands of years as mythology would have us believe?

Making History went to Dunsfold in Surrey and Crowhurst in East Sussex to see two very old yew trees. The programme consulted dendrochronologist Andy Moir and Owen Johnson, the editor of the Collins Tree Guide.

Useful links

Sheffield University Dendrochronology Laboratory

Ancient Yew Group

Yew tree age estimates (Andy Moir's website)

Shopping in the Middle Ages

A listener from Kent asked about the divisions in some of our High Street trades, professions such as pork butchers and poulterers: when did they originate, and were they the product of medieval guilds?

Making History consulted the Leverhulme Professor of Comparative Metropolitan History at the institute of Historical Research in London, Derek Keene.

Useful links

Professor Derek Keene

Medieval Towns and Cities

BBC History - Urban local history: Coventry

Medieval York

Weald & Downland Open Air Museum

Romans in Brazil?

Following on from a discussion about the possibility that the Romans travelled to China, a listener asks whether it is true that they also sailed to Brazil.

The evidence comes from amphorae found on the sea-bed in the so-called Bay of Jars near Rio de Janeiro. Amphorae are long, narrow clay containers, wider at the top than at the base, with two handles, and were used in ancient times especially for storing oil or wine.

Making History consulted Professor David Peacock, archaeologist at the University of Southampton.

Useful links

Professor David Peacock

Study Group for Roman Pottery - Roman amphorae

Science Frontiers - Romans in Rio?

Further reading
R.F. Marx, Romans in Rio? (1984)

Local history hero

This week's nominated local history hero is Julian Rawes who over 27 years has compiled a comprehensive record of memorial inscriptions in Gloucestershire's churches.

Julian's website

Transcribing Memorial Inscriptions

Further reading
'The Historical Importance of Churchyard Memorials' by Julian Rawes, Gloucestershire and District Archaeological Research Group
Archaeological Review No. 23 1998 (Editors Wills J and Rawes J), Transactions of the Bristol and Gloucestershire Archaeological Society Vol. 117 (2000)180-181 ISSN 0068-1032
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Making History

Vanessa Collingridge
Vanessa CollingridgeVanessa has presented science and current affairs programmes for BBC, ITV, Channel 4, Channel 5 and Discovery and has presented for BBC Radio 4 & Five Live and a regular contributor to the Daily Telegraph and the Mail on Sunday, Scotsman and Sunday Herald. 

Contact Making History

Send your comments and questions for future programmes to:
Making History
BBC Radio 4
PO Box 3096 Brighton

Or email the programme

Or telephone the Audience Line 08700 100 400

Making History is a Pier Production for BBC Radio 4 and is produced by Nick Patrick.

See Also

Elsewhere on

BBC History

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Don't Miss

In Our Time

Melvyn Bragg

Thursday, 9.00 - 9.45am, rpt 9.30pm
Melvyn Bragg explores the history of ideas.
Listen again online or download the latest programme as an mp3 file.

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