Monday, September 26, 2011

Our Island Britain The Genesis - Iain Stewart - Brian Cox - Neil Oliver

Given that I'm about to head out the gap for the day, and just this minute reading Brian Cox's tweets, acting as a reminder, I thought it would do no harm to bring across from another blog, this previous post.

I have to say, if history and cosmology are your things, which they are mine, then these past twelve months or so, I can only describe as being golden. A mini-golden age of knowledge, learning, understanding, and not least entertaining with it.

And the reason for this little renaissance, is that we are blessed with three talking heads who know their respective trades well, but also know how to put a television series together, and put it together equally well I hasten to add.

Professor Iain Stewart, geologist, who among his many presentations recently gave us, Men of Rock.

The irrepressible, Professor Brian Cox, a super brain with a Mancunian accent, and whose shear enthusiasm for his chosen subjects, particle physics and cosmology, is simply infectious. Cox has produced a raft of stuff, and I was just about to say, for a young fellow me lad and tender years. But having just looked him up, the bugger is forty three, but what harm, he did bring us the hugely entertaining and informative, Wonders of the Universe, recently, inbetween that is, getting his freak on with the LHC (Large Hadron Collider) . And something new from him coming shortly, as I was told in passing.

The assured archaeologist and historian, Neil Oliver, (home page) of Coast, A History of Scotland, now bringing us A History of Ancient Britain. Having watched the first episode myself on iplayer, (UK only I'm afraid) where, for what it's worth, I watch the little television that I do, free gratis and in my own time.

So here be the blurb. and a few clips of all three presenters chosen at random. Update: Not in the case of Iain Stewart, an absolute must watch if you have never seen the inside of the Naica Crystal Cave. And definitely not a random choice, the scrablands video. (Think Noah's flood and the Grand Canyon) Update: Now includes two short previews of a History of Ancient Britain.

The moment Britain became an island

Ancient Britain was a peninsula until a tsunami flooded its land-links to Europe some 8,000 years ago. Did that wave help shape the national character?

The coastline and landscape of what would become modern Britain began to emerge at the end of the last Ice Age around 10,000 years ago.

What had been a cold, dry tundra on the north-western edge of Europe grew warmer and wetter as the ice caps melted. The Irish Sea, North Sea and the Channel were all dry land, albeit land slowly being submerged as sea levels rose.

But it wasn't until 6,100BC that Britain broke free of mainland Europe for good, during the Mesolithic period - the Middle Stone Age.
Continue reading the main story
Find out more

It is thought a landslide in Norway triggered one of the biggest tsunamis ever recorded on Earth, when a landlocked sea in the Norwegian trench burst its banks.

The water struck the north-east of Britain with such force it travelled 40km inland, turning low-lying plains into what is now the North Sea, and marshlands to the south into the Channel. Britain became an island nation.

At the time it was home to a fragile and scattered population of about 5,000 hunter-gatherers, descended from the early humans who had followed migrating herds of mammoth and reindeer onto the jagged peninsula.

"The waves would have been maybe as much as 10m high," says geologist David Smith. "Anyone standing out on the mud flats at that time would have been dismembered. The speed [of the water] was just so great."

Relics of these pre-island times are being recovered from under the sea off the Isle of Wight, dating from when the Solent was dry land.

Grooved timbers preserved by the saltwater are thought to be the remains of 8,000-year-old log boats, and point to the site once being a sizable boat-building yard, says Garry Momber, of the Hampshire and Wight Trust for Maritime Archaeology (see video clip below).

The tsunami was a watershed in our history, says archaeologist Neil Oliver, presenter of BBC Two's A History of Ancient Britain.

"The people living in the land that would become Britain had become different. They'd been made different. And at the same time, they'd been made a wee bit special as well." More, pics and a clip.


Anonymous said...

Don't know if this would interest (a bit heavy on music, but great images):

Himself said...

Wow! Thank you for sharing. Initially I thought I had seen bits of it before, but on reflection this is different cave to the one discovered by accident by two boys.

The music! Given the amount of people involved in the production, you would have thought they might have got the end product right. That apart, most impressive, thank you.