Segments in this Video

Prehistoric British Landscape (05:50)


Dr. Alice Roberts travels to Happisburgh, where the first people arrived in Britain around 900,000 BC. On a Norfolk beach, volunteers sift through sediment for evidence of a pine forest and prehistoric animals, including hyenas, semi-aquatic rodents, and mammoths.

Earliest Humans in Britain (04:57)

Flint tools and waste flakes show that an earlier species of human lived in Happisburgh around 900,000 BC. They likely had use of clothing and fire; climate change forced them out.

Creswell Crags Rock Art (04:47)

About 13,000 years ago, modern humans recolonize Britain and live in caves. Discover an Ice Age deer image.

Westray Stone Age Farming Village (09:39)

An Orkney Islands site provides evidence of barley cultivation. Cattle skulls built into a stone wall highlight the importance of livestock. The "Westray wifey" figurine may symbolize an end to the inhabitants’ struggle against wind and erosion.

Beaker Isotope Project (05:32)

Around 4,500 years ago, British people transition from communal to individual graves featuring beakers. Scientists extract tooth enamel from 250 skeletons to determine how the beaker trend spread. Analysis shows Culduthel Man migrated from Ireland to Scotland.

Salcombe Shipwreck (08:42)

Bronze Age Britons trade along the coast. South Devon volunteer divers use metal detectors to locate objects, including gold jewelry. Tin ingots are the earliest evidence of tin trade. Some objects may have been placed there later as an offering.

Forteviot Chieftain's Cist (08:49)

Kenneth Brophy's team expresses excitement while lifting the capstone of a 4,000-year-old stone tomb. A bronze dagger and fire-making kit suggest the deceased occupied a high social status. Meadowsweet heads show Bronze Age Britons buried their dead with flowers.

Credits: Digging for Britain: Pre-History (00:47)

Credits: Digging for Britain: Pre-History

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Digging for Britain: Pre-History

Part of the Series : Digging for Britain
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Dr Alice Roberts takes a journey from Orkney to Devon, by land, sea and air. In Norfolk, flint tools unearthed this year push the earliest human occupation back by 200,000 years, to around a million years ago. In Orkney an early farm yields glimpses of our ancestors' earliest religious beliefs and customs - cattle skulls buried within building walls, and tiny household goddesses. In Devon, we find one of the oldest known shipwrecks. And a bronze age burial holds a mystery- and touching evidence of grief echoing down over 2000 years.

Length: 51 minutes

Item#: FPT190449

Copyright date: ©2010

Closed Captioned

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