In the first of a two-part series, Dr Jago Cooper reassesses the achievements of the Inca Empire. He begins in Peru, where evidence is still being uncovered that challenges preconceptions about its origins and significance. Venturing from the coast to the clouds, he reveals how the Inca transformed one of the most challenging landscapes in the world to ward off the worst effects of the climate, and created sophisticated systems of communication. He shows how one of many independent societies became a commanding empire - not through force, but by using subtle methods of persuasion.
Follows the UK's most ambitious and cutting-edge ancient DNA project to date. For the first time, a team of top scientists at the Natural History Museum and University College London have analysed the DNA of Britain's oldest complete skeleton. Known as Cheddar Man, this human male fossil was originally unearthed over 100 years ago in Gough's Cave in Cheddar Gorge, Somerset. Building on the advanced genetic testing of his 10,000-year-old bones, two of the most acclaimed palaeontological model makers in the world, Dutch identical twins Adrie and Alfons Kennis, have recreated Cheddar Man's entire head to give his extraordinary skeleton a real identity for the first time.
When Homo sapiens arrived in Australia, they were, for the first time, truly alone, surrounded by wildly different flora and fauna. How did they survive and populate a continent? There is a close cultural and genetic link between the First Australians and modern-day Aborigines. The ancient and modern story intersect here as nowhere else in the world. The secret to this continuity is diversity. Intuitively, they found the right balance between being separate and connected.