Naked Archaeology, from the Naked Scientists

Where did the Nazca Lines come from? Who built Stonehenge, and what secrets lie concealed within Egypt's pyramids? To find out, join the Naked Archaeologists as they undress the past...

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Where did the Nazca Lines come from? Who built Stonehenge, and what secrets lie concealed within Egypt's pyramids? To find out, join Naked Archaeology and undress the past...
🇬🇧 English
last modified
2019-04-30 00:46
last episode published
2011-10-16 23:00
publication frequency
32.19 days
The Naked Scientists author  
Dr Chris Smith owner  
Number of Episodes
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Society & Culture Education Science & Medicine Health Natural Sciences History Higher Education



Date Thumb Title & Description Contributors

Landscapes: Drainage, Plants and Palaces

We're back! And this month we start by taking a tour of the terribly glamorous ditches in East Anglia. Yes, the whole landscape is one giant piece of drainage archaeology! Plus, we talk about a Roman gladiatorial school, an Iron Age road, Australopithe...

Annual Round-Up of Archaeology

This month we return to some of the moist enjoyable archaeological interviews recorded this year. There's everything from alien donkeys, to Pompeiian poo, speared boxes and not-so-recent neanderthals!

Bayesian Prehistory, Surface Metals and Sea Defenses

This month: how a neat piece of statistical analysis has led to the construction of a prehistoric history; how satellites have revealed some hidden Egyptian pyramids; how autism could have been selected for amongst early humans; and how metals colle...

Detailed Science of Dating, Data and Ceramics

This month: the most recent Neanderthals in the Caucasus, the science of ceramic petrology, the truth about 'The Anthropocene' and Syrian hunting traps. Plus, in Backyard Archaeology we explore the uses of the National Monument and Historical Environme...

Dam Busting, Ancient Archaeologists and Iron Age Fort Raids

Researchers re-create the experiments carried out by Barnes Wallis on the bouncing bomb; we discuss the Texan pre-Clovis finds; the Nichoria bone earns its place at multiple points in history and we explore the massacre at Fin Cop hill fort. Plus, in B...

Warrior Art, Fire and Throwing Spears

This month: Aegean warriors in art; the most genetically diverse people in the world; prehistoric Californian seafarers; Neanderthals building fires; and atlatls!

Egyptian Looting, Behavioural Variability and Pollen

This month: current events in Egypt affecting ancient artefacts; Britons fashioning cups from skulls; games played in the Indus; and when humans behaved like humans. Plus, in Backyard Archaeology Tom Birch goes to Paul's place... to look at pollen.

First Farmer DNA, Crystals and Chessmen

This month's divested archaeology consists of the mitochondrial DNA of Europe's first farmers; how to identify plaster using infrared light; who the Denisovans were; what to expect from twelfth century chessmen and why the Arabo-Persian gulf is so impo...

Roman bodies, site survival and collapse

This month: why a Roman horse became a donkey; how part of Pompeii recently collapsed; how a Roman village survived underneath London; and what obesity meant to the Romans. Plus, in Backyard Arhaeology Tom Birch explores how the Northern Irish 'peace l...

Hard-to-Reach Heritage: Israel and Peru

We make our way to some of the least accessible bits of heritage this month: Naked Scientist Laura Soul treks to Machu Picchu and we hear about the fenced-off Palestinian heritage in Israel. Also this month: tracking down The Plague's bacterial DNA, sa...

Maya burial and abandonment

This month we explore the dramatic burial of an El Zotz Maya king; he was seemingly interred with the remains of six sacrificed children. Also under the spotlight is the abandoment of the site if Kiuic, a mysterious Maya city which was deserted in the ...

Roman food: before and after

What did the Romans eat at their feasts? What came out the other end afterwards? This month we explore the toilets of Pompeii and the kinds of food eaten by its inhabitants. In the news this month: the oldest house in the UK; the HMS Investigator; and ...

Human remains and genetic legacies

Human remains are our main topic of interest in this month's Naked Archaeology. Diana and Duncan explore the nature of Bronze Age cremations, the repatriation of Yagan's head and how one might go about reconstructing the remains of King Tutankhamun. Pl...

Southeast Asia: Hobbits and Niah Caves

The diminutive, one-time inhabitants of Flores are probably the most famous early humans from this area of the world but where does H. floresiensis fit into our family tree? We discuss the gladiatorial burials recently unearthed in York, some Neanderth...

Australian Archaeology and Rabbit Warrens

This month on Naked Archaeology: when and how did the first humans make it to Australia? We unearth the evidence from archaeology and genetics. Also this month we discover that Neanderthals could be relations of ours, after all. Plus, in Back Yard Arch...

Changing sea levels and thin sections

This month on Naked Archaeology: the discovery of a possible link between genus Homo and Australopithecus - Aus. sediba; we find out how people first made it to Cyprus; which is the oldest building still in use and if Icelandic eruptions are a good th...

First cities and first writing: Mesopotamia

How is it that the first farms, cities and writing all originated in Mesopotamia, now Iraq? We explore the so-called 'fertile crescent' and fanatical record-keeping in the ancient Near East. We find out how DNA from the body of Tutankhamun hints at his...

Illicit Antiquities: Repatriation and Curating

This month we divest the darker world of black market archaeology. We find out how illicit antiquities can be tracked down after being lost for decades and how they can be returned to their country of origin. We explore the problems faced by curators i...

Make-up, Cleopatra and Temples

Neanderthals wore make-up too! We explore the cosmetics worn by early humans and Egyptians. Naked Archaeology this month also explores the discovery of Cleopatra's unfinished mausoleum and the curious orientation of Sicilian temples. Plus, in Backyard ...

Egyptian Mummified Foetuses, the First Crops and Solomon's Mines

Mummified foetuses found in Tutankhamun's tomb go under the genetic spotlight to find out who they were and where they came from, we dig up the history of the domestication of the first crops, and have scientists discovered King Solomon's mines? Plus, ...

Troy, Ithaca and Iceland

This month in divested archaeology we cover the archaeology that just happened to turn up in the legends of Homer. We find out about the man who discovered Troy, Heinrich Schliemann, and uncover the most recent finds from the site. We also speak to the...

Mary Rose, Underwater Landscapes and Metal Hunting

This month's edition of Naked Archaeology hails from Poseidon's Realm: we find out how synchrotrons can help in the preservation of the famous raised wreck, the Mary Rose and how diving diggers investigate entire ancient landscapes hidden beneath the s...

Nero, Hoards and Aberdeen Ships

This month has seen an archaeological spoil heap the size of Nero's party leftovers. And it's been quite a month for Roman archaeologists who've just announced the positive identification of a very rare portrait of young Nero from the site of Fishbourn...

Hadrian's Timber Wall, Shell Beads and Brucellosis

We find out how the Romans got to grips with building a 73.5 mile-long wall, why humans were bejewelled 82,000 years ago and how a disease called brucellosis indicates our ancestors were eating meat 2.6 million years ago. Plus, in Backyard Archaeology ...

Lost Legends: Altinum, Herod's Tomb and the HMS Diana

Sometimes archaeologists know there's a site worth digging but don't quite know where to find it! We join the search for the original city of Venice, otherwise known as Altinum, the tomb of King Herod and the lost naval ship: HMS Diana. Plus, in Backya...

Hunting, Submerged Traps and Flutes

We dive into the underwater traps at Lake Huron, explore the origins of hunting and play a tune on the world's oldest flute. Plus, in Backyard Archaeology Tom explores the depths of UCL's museum. Flute music kindly provided by W. Hein, University of Tb...

Naked Special: 800th Anniversary Dig

2009 is The University of Cambridge's 800th birthday and what better way to celebrate than by digging an archaeological trench? We take a trip to the local Cambridgeshire village of Cottenham where volunteers with the Fen Edge Archaeology Group and the...

Dating, Pottery and Norway

We strip down the science of dating this month by taking a look at rehydroxylation. We unearth some of the oldest pottery in the world, find out why Minoan pottery was so fashion-conscious and discuss a very famous piece of fired clay: the Phaistos Dis...

Technology - Iron, Glass and Slag

Archaeology bared this month includes the 'long sleep' of human innovation, a technological accomplishment in the form of a 2000 year-old millefiori bowl and we explore the origins of iron metallurgy. Plus, ourBackyard Archaeologist finds out all about...

The Mediterranean and the Romans

This month we explore the mysterious anchors buried off the shores of Cyprus, the unusual burial practices in Malta and the highly decorative shipsheds of the Romans. Plus, in Backyard Archaeology Tom Birch explains the tell-tale signs of a Roman road,...

Horses, battleships and pillboxes

This month we explore the archaeology of war. We explore the earliest-known domestication of horses, find out about an armed Elizabethan privateer ship and rediscover the egyptian tomb of Thutmoses III's seal-bearer, Amenhotep. Plus, in Backyard Archae...

Battles, Chocolate and Brothels

The sins of the past are uncovered in this month's Naked Archaeology, including chemical warfare; consuming desires for chocolate and finding the hidden Greek brothels. We also explore how one of the early species of hominin, Australopithecus africanus...

tzi, American migrations and animal bones

The mitochondrial story of tzi, or the Tyrolean iceman, is unearthed in this month's Naked Archaeology. Also, how the Americas were populated and the study of zooarchaeology are under the trench-o-scope. Plus, Tom Birch takes us on a tour of the only h...

TB, Underwater Archaeology and the Shaman

The tale of TB's earliest victims, the science of archaeology underwater and the first shamanic burial all go under the trowel in this month's Naked Archaeology. We also uncover where all the dirt comes from that buries the past, and in this month's Ba...

The Vanishing Nasca, Repairing Pompeii and Peruvian Water-works

Why cutting down a precious tree species brought the Nasca people to their knees, how Pompeii is receiving a makeover, a new source of Neanderthal flints unlocks the secrets of early inhabitants of Britain and a Peruvian irrigation system that can make...