Human remains and genetic legacies

17 July 2010

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. Plus, how the first settlers in the Americas may have been more numerous than previously thought, as another nine founding mothers have now been identified.

In this episode

01:54 - Cremation in the Bronze Age

During a period of the Bronze Age around 2000-700BC there was a strong cultural tendancy to cremate the dead. Why was cremation used as a burrial ritual during this time, and what does it...

Cremation in the Bronze Age

During a period of the Bronze Age around 2000-700BC there was a strong cultural tendancy to cremate the dead. Why was cremation used as a burrial ritual during this time, and what does it tell us about Bronze age culture and beliefs?

12:02 - Aboriginal warrior head re-burried after 177 years

The head of an aboriginal warrior has been re-burried after it was taken from its homeland 177 years ago.

Aboriginal warrior head re-burried after 177 years

The head of an aboriginal warrior has been re-burried after it was taken from its homeland 177 years ago.

The warrior, called Yagan, was killed and beheaded by colonial settlers in 1833. The head was transported back to England and put on display in a museum as an anthropological curiosity. It was then burried in an unmarked plot in Liverpool.

177 years later, the head has been returned to the site in Western Australia where it is thought Yagan lived and died, for a traditional burrial.

15:30 - Tortoise bones found in Stafford castle

The leg bone of a tortoise has been found at Stafford castle in Staffordshire, dating to the late 19th Century.

Tortoise bones found in Stafford castle

The leg bone of a tortoise has been found at Stafford castle in Staffordshire, dating to the late 19th Century. Because it was found alongside the remains of cats and dogs it is thought that the animal had once been a domestic pet.

19:00 - Where do Native Americans come from?

Using mitochondrial DNA, Ugo Perego has shown that the peopling of the Americas thousands of years ago was far more complex a process than previously thought. Until now, only six founding...

Where do Native Americans come from?

Using mitochondrial DNA, Ugo Perego has shown that the peopling of the Americas thousands of years ago was far more complex a process than previously thought. Until now, only six founding female lineages had been calculated as being ancestral to modern Native Americans, suggesting a small-scale migration 15-18,000 years ago. But Perego's team has identified more founding lineages, bringing the total up to 15, indicating that the founding population of the Americas was much more diverse. than previously thought.

27:38 - Recreating Tutankhamun

Using state-of-the-art laser scanning technology, a team led by Gary Staab has made an exact replica of Tutankhamun's tomb. The replica is on display with the Discovery Time Square...

Recreating Tutankhamun
with Gary Staab, natural history and prehistoric model maker, of Staab Studios

Using state-of-the-art laser scanning technology, a team led by Gary Staab has made an exact replica of Tutankhamun's tomb. The replica is on display with the Discovery Time Square Exposition. To find out more about how the replica was made, you can type 'The making of the replica King Tut' into YouTube...

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