Indian Ocean with Simon Reeve
The second episode of Helen Castor's She Wolves: England's Early Queens was about Isabella of France & Margaret of Anjou. Neither of these women ruled England in their own right, but both ruled in the name of a man (son & husband respectively) and neither have been remembered kindly by history. Rather unfairly, I think (although Isabella brought it on herself to some degree).
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.
The main theme of the third episode of Archaeology: A Secret History was that the ideology of the archaeologist affects not only the things they look for but also the things they see when they find stuff. Miles also continued with some of the themes of the last episode - the increasing use of science in archaeology and the continuing move from looking at Kings & Emperors to looking at the lives of the common people.
The Pitt-Rivers Museum in Oxford is one of my favourite museums, because it's so crammed full of things to see. So I was pleased there was an In Our Time programme about the man behind it - Augustus Henry Lane-Fox Pitt-Rivers. The experts who discussed him were Adam Kuper, (Boston University), Richard Bradley (University of Reading) and Dan Hicks (Pitt Rivers Museum, University of Oxford).
On Friday we started watching a new series about the history of archaelogy presented by Richard Miles. He started the first episode by talking about the Empress Helena's trip to the Holy Land to dig up relics - which, if you stretch, can be considered the first ever archaeological expedition! At the very least it was an understanding that objects dug out of the ground can be used to understand the past.
The second part of Joann Fletcher's series about Kha and Merit who were buried in Deir el-Medina 3500 years ago covered their deaths, burials and beliefs about the afterlife. She opened the programme by explaining that death was the major employer in Deir el-Medina, and that country-wide it was one of the primary industries of Egypt. The village at Deir el-Medina was inhabited by the craftsmen and their families who worked on the tombs and temples for the Pharaohs.
There's a new two-part documentary on Ancient Egypt showing on BBC2 at the moment, and despite recording it J decided to watch it as it aired on Friday & I joined him in this (I'd actually planned to watch the second half of the footy after dinner, but the ITV stream on their webpage was so lousy (constantly re-buffering & dropping out) during the half-time chat that I gave up on that idea).