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Ipswich Man

Episode 1 of 4

Professor Sue Black and her team use forensic science to shed light on the past. An apparently African skeleton is unearthed near a medieval monastery.

History series which sees skeletons of everyday people from across the ages analysed in staggering detail, opening new windows on the history of our forebears by literally revealing the person behind the skeleton.

The fascinating work of world-renowned Professor Sue Black OBE and her team at the Centre for Human Anatomy and Identification at the University of Dundee comes under the spotlight as the team works on answering three big questions from the skeleton. Who were they? Why did they die? What does their life story tell us that we didn't know before?

Using the full arsenal of modern forensic anthropology, remarkable stories emerge from long forgotten bones, along with the faces of people who haven't been seen for hundreds of years. Bodies are unearthed in a range of circumstances, from a medieval body found at a Scottish castle, to a heavily scarred Georgian woman discovered in a mass burial pit in London. None of the skeletons is famous; all are everyday people, whose extraordinary stories would have died with them if it weren't for Sue Black and her colleagues. With forensic science techniques such as carbon dating, bone chemical analysis and facial reconstruction, they find new layers of detail to add to our knowledge of Britain's past.

An apparently African skeleton, unearthed near a medieval English monastery, pushes Professor Sue Black's forensics team to its limits. Bone analysis offers clues about the true origins of the mysterious skeleton and facial reconstruction painstakingly reveals his face, not seen for centuries. The historical trail points to new evidence about British ancestry and the case takes an unexpected twist when they discover the tragic truth about how he died.

1 hour

Last on

Tue 27 Jul 2010 01:40

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Role Contributor
Participant Sue Black
Participant Xanthe Mallett
Participant Caroline Wilkinson
Participant Wolfram Meier-Augenstein
Producer Neil Ferguson
Director Neil Ferguson


  • Thu 6 May 2010 20:55
  • Thu 6 May 2010 21:00
  • Thu 20 May 2010 21:00
  • Tue 27 Jul 2010 01:40