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Churchill and the First Englishman

First transmitted in 1974, Magnus Magnusson talks to Sir Mortimer Wheeler about Winston Churchill's writing and how close his Nobel Prize-winning volumes 'The History of the English-Speaking Peoples' came to being founded on a forgery - Piltdown Man.

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14 minutes

Last on

Thu 29 May 1975 19:55

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Archaeology at the BBC Collection

Archaeology at the BBC Collection

This programme is part of Archaeology at the BBC - a collection of archaeology programmes from the 1950s to the 1970s. Available online to watch in full.

Go to the Archaeology at the BBC Collection

More about this programme

Amateur archaeologist Charles Dawson’s discovery of a human-like skull in Pleistocene gravel beds at Piltdown, Sussex in 1912 was thought to show the evolutionary ‘missing link’ between apes and humans, and as such caused a sensation.

In the years that followed increasing numbers of ancient human fossils were discovered, most notably from Africa, China and Indonesia, but also Asia and Europe. As none of these discoveries matched the large brain and ape-like jaw of Piltdown Man, doubts were cast on its authenticity. Piltdown Man was officially announced as a hoax in 1953 by The National History Museum and several of Dawson’s other fossil finds have also been revealed as fakes.

About BBC Four Collection programmes

Programmes are selected, in part, for their historical context and reflect the broadcast standards and attitudes of their time, which may not accord to some current BBC editorial guidelines. We aim to select programmes which can be shown in their entirety but in some cases edits are required.


  • Thu 19 Sep 1974 20:45
  • Thu 29 May 1975 19:55

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