Despite being relatively close to us the inside of the Earth, and particularly the core of the Earth, is difficult to investigate. Primarily because we can't just look at it - and the deepest mines or boreholes are only 10km deep which is tiny compared to the 6,000km that is the Earth's radius. So everything needs to be logically deduced from the readings that we can take.
On Sunday Stephen Cross came to the Essex Egyptology Group to talk to us about his work in the Valley of the Kings. The research he was telling us about was started to answer one question: why was Tutankhamun's tomb (KV62) discovered intact? Nearly every other tomb discovered in the Valley of the Kings was robbed, so what was different about Tutankhamun's tomb.
Pilgrimage with Simon Reeve was a three part series that was partly a travelogue and partly about the history of Christian pilgrimage across Europe and the Holy Land from medieval times through to the modern day. Reeve made it pretty clear several times that he's not a Christian himself, so this was an outsider's view on the subject. He did, however, talk to several people who do pilgrimages for religious purposes today, so we got both sides of the subject represented.
The second episode of Alastair Sooke's series about the art of Ancient Egypt covered the Middle Kingdom (briefly) and most of the New Kingdom. He only picked a couple of objects from the Middle Kingdom - both from Senusret III's reign. He gave the impression that this is because the New Kingdom was the Golden Age, which is true in some ways, but the Egyptians themselves looked back at the Middle Kingdom as their "classical age" where art and culture first achieved great heights.
For about 85% of the time that Earth has existed the temperature has been high enough that there have been no polar icecaps - a "greenhouse Earth". The remaining 15% of the time is referred to as "icehouse Earth", and during these longer cooler periods are glacial periods (like 20,000 years ago when the ice sheets reached as far as Germany) and inter-glacial periods like the current time where the ice is just at the poles. The experts discussing ice ages on In Our Time were Jane Francis (University of Leeds), Richard Corfield (Oxford University) and Carrie Lear (Cardiff University).