The epic poem Beowulf is probably the best known piece of Anglo-Saxon literature - it's certainly one I was aware of, and had an idea of the shape of the story before we listened to the In Our Time episode about it. However it was unknown until the 19th Century when a single manuscript copy dating from around 1100AD was discovered. The three experts who discussed it on the programme were Laura Ashe (University of Oxford), Clare Lees (King's College London) and Andy Orchard (University of Oxford).
Easter Island: Mysteries of a Lost World was a one-off 90 minute documentary about the history of Easter Island presented by Jago Cooper. The canonical story about the Easter Island culture is that they became so obsessed with building the Moai statues that they cut down all the trees to move them around, at which point the soil promptly eroded away and the culture collapsed due to being unable to grow food. Violence, destruction of statues and cannibalism followed.
King Alfred and the Anglo-Saxons
The Burrowers: Animals Underground
The second episode of The Burrowers continued with the three main species they were looking at in the artifical burrows - with a main theme of "leaving the nest for the first time". The rabbit babies had their first trip outside, the water voles got over their dislike of each other & had some babies who then visited the outside, and the badger orphans bonded into a group and took their first trip out.
Tiger: Spy in the Jungle
We decided to watch a couple of programmes that we've had on our PVR for 3 or 4 years and somehow never got round to actually watching before. First was an episode of Time Team about a medieval village that used to exist around a farmhouse at Ulnaby, County Durham. Obviously being Time Team they only had 3 days to do a fairly superficial excavation of a handful of areas around the site.
This episode focused on the use of the written word in telling stories - both literature and history. It opened by looking at cuneiform tablets on which are written various legends including the legend of Gilgamesh. This was discussed as being one of the first known instances of literature in the ancient world & I could see J raising his eyebrows disbelievingly during it ...