British Universities Film & Video Council

moving image and sound, knowledge and access

Landscape Mysteries

Synopsis
The Landscape Mysteries DVD Pack includes the 8 full programmes from the series looking at how clues are hidden in the landscape. They include, In Search of Irish Gold, Figures in the Chalk, Britain before the Ice, Secrets of the Flood, The Tower People of Shetland, The Abandoned Marsh, The Riddle of the Yorkshire Tracks and The Terraces of Avalon.
Language
English
Country
Great Britain
Year of release
2006
Year of production
2006
Notes
Broadcast on BBC2 in 8 weekly parts, beginning 25/9/03
Documentation
Accompanying website http://www.open2.net/landscapemysteries/index.html
Subjects
Archaeology; Geography; History
Keywords
landscape archaeology; prehistoric cultures; Ancient Britain

Online availability

URI
http://www.ouwcb.co.uk/viewerdefault.asp?CompID=12327&Baudrate=0
Price
£34.99
Delivery
Download

Credits

Contributor
Aubrey Manning

Distribution Formats

Type
DVD
Format
Region 2 PAL
Price
£54.99
Availability
Sale
Duration/Size
233 minutes
Year
2006

Sections

Title
In Search of Irish Gold
Synopsis
Documentary exploring Britain’s landscape before the last ice age. Bronze age people in Ireland had access to large amounts of gold, but it is not clear where it came from. Aubrey Manning goes in search of a Celtic Eldorado and looks at how the landscape gives clues as to if and where deposits still exist?
Duration
30 mins

Title
Figures in the Chalk
Synopsis
The origins of many of the chalk figures carved into the downs of southern England are shrouded in mystery. Presenter Aubrey Manning explores the history of the chalk landscape through thousands of years of human settlement. He travels to the Chalk Hills of England to examine enigmatic chalk figures such as the Long Man of Wilmington and the Cerne Abbas Giant in Dorset. The age of these chalk figures has never been fully established and Aubrey alongside a team of archaeologists from Reading University, come up with a remarkable new discovery.
Duration
30 mins

Title
Britain before the Ice
Synopsis
Documentary exploring Britain’s landscape before the last ice age. Professor Aubrey Manning finds out what Britain must have been like before the last ice age, looking to a 29,000-year-old skeleton which was discovered in 1823 in the Gower Peninsula in South Wales, and other nearby finds for clues.
Duration
30 mins

Title
Secrets of the Flood
Synopsis
Professor Aubrey Manning finds out about the land that has been lost to the sea since the end of the Ice Age and collects evidence of a flooded landscape beneath the Solent. The explanation is the land movements that have occurred since the melting of the huge layers of ice that were centred on Scotland more than 8000 years ago. As the weight of ice over Scotland was reduced, the land rose. The UK effectively tilted and southern Britain sank slowly into the sea. The effect is still going on and Antony Long from the Environment Research Centre is one of those involved in vital work to gauge the advancing sea levels and decide on the best response. As the sea encroaches further into low lying areas of southern Britain, the main question is whether to build ever bigger barriers or simply to allow the advance to progress naturally, with the accompanying salt marsh forming its own barrier.
Duration
30 mins

Title
Tower People of Shetland, The
Synopsis
On the remote Shetland Isles, a series of monumental towers - known as Brochs - once dominated the landscape. Aubrey Manning sets off to discover what sort of community built the Brochs towers and for what purpose. The latest clues are coming from a major new archaeological site at Scatness in the southern mainland of Shetland. Here the remains of a Broch settlement are helping to build a picture of the life of these ancient Iron Age people.

New studies of the foundations of the Broch suggest a much earlier date for the structure than previously thought. It means the Brochs were built centuries before the Romans advanced up the British coast. Their function seems to have been as a home for the elite of the society. Aubrey concludes that here, on the edge of Europe, the Broch communities were far more advanced than those living in the rest of Northern Europe at the same period. The Shetland Amenity Trust archaeologist is Val Turner; the team excavating Scatness is from the University of Bradford, led by Steve Dockrill.
Duration
30 mins

Title
Abandoned Marsh, The
Synopsis
On the Romney Marsh in Kent, there are ruined churches in the middle of fields and tales of towns lost at sea. At some time, the area supported a much bigger population than it does now. Aubrey Manning sets out to find out what happened to these lost communites and why the Marsh is now one of the most deserted areas in the country. Jill Eddison is the main source of information about the loss of population on the marshes. The encroaching sea, storms and disease were the main factors, perhaps the most surprising being an epidemic of malaria - the so-called ‘ague’. Historian, Mary Dobson explains that this arose from the badly drained stagnant marshes which was the last straw for an unhealthy population. By the 19th century, the drainage was improved, and the health of the people improved. But it was too late to change the pattern of settlement. In the 20th century, the fields on the Marsh became even bigger, leaving the bleak landscape we see today.
Duration
30 mins

Title
Riddle of the Yorkshire Tracks, The
Synopsis
Strange parallel tracks in the rocks on the North Yorkshire coast are the starting point for an investigation which tells a forgotten story from Britain’s industrial past. Aubrey discovers that at the beginning of the 17th century, long before the industrial revolution, the now deserted coastline south of Whitby was dominated by Britain’s first chemical industry. It produced alum, the vital ingredient which allowed textiles to be permanently dyed.

Aubrey traces the development of the industry and on the beach at Ravenscar, he meets John Buglass who has placed together a picture of the whole operation. Packhorses brought the barrels of alum down to the beach; carts running in the specially cut rutways then carried the load out to boats that were beached on the rocks. Aubrey imagines what this deserted coastline might have looked like two hundred years ago - teeming with ships, horse-drawn carts, and thousands of workers servicing an industry which has now completely disappeared.
Duration
30 mins

Title
Terraces of Avalon, The
Synopsis
For many years, one of the mysteries surrounding Glastonbury has been the origin of a series of stepped terraces on the tor. Were they part of a Neolithic worshipping ground, and are they a clue to the myths and legends which have long been linked to Glastonbury? Having established that the terraces are not natural features, Aubrey Manning talks to historian Ron Hutton about the idea that the terraces could be a maze, created by Neolithic people. Aubrey next examines the idea that the terraces were linked to fortifications on the tor, perhaps associated with the legend of King Arthur.

A new geophysical survey of one of the terraces, carried out by Meg Watters, has found no evidence of fortifications or any other kind of building on the terraces. Aubrey concludes that the terraces were created for strip farming by the monks of Glastonbury Abbey. They had already drained and reclaimed the Somerset Levels to provide pasture and the terraces would have given them valuable dry arable land.
Duration
30 mins

Production Company

Name

Open University Production Centre

Distributor

Name

Demand DVD

Email
info@demanddvd.co.uk
Web
http://www.demanddvd.co.uk/ External site opens in new window
Phone
01276 858 435
Address
Demand Media
Unit D1 Fairoaks Airport
Chobham, Surrey
GU24 8HX
Notes
A distributor of DVDs on motor and other sports, military history and transport. Of particular interest are television programmes, many broadcast on the Discovery Channel, on topics such as archaeology, anthropology, designers, commercial fishing and the Bear Grylls survival programmes. Sale direct or through retail outlets. A subsidiary of Simply Home Entertainment (qv).
Name

Open University Worldwide

Web
http://www.ouw.co.uk External site opens in new window
Phone
+44 (0) 1908 274066
Address
Walton Hall
Milton Keynes
MK7 6AA
Notes
NB. As of May 2016 Open University Worldwide are no longer distributing DVDs. They have posted this message on their website: ‘Unfortunately Open University Worldwide Limited has decided that product sales are no longer viable given the reduced funding to Higher Education institutions and diminishing demand for the products we have traditionally stocked. At present the Open University Students Association (OUSA) will continue to sell the "Good Study Guide", and we are in discussion with other possible distributors to continue to make The Open University’s products available for purchase. As soon as we have any information on other channels of distribution we will update this notice’. Some products are still available via second hand dealers on Amazon.co.uk

Online Retailer

Name

Open University Bespoke DVD - Clips & Bits

Web
http://www.ouwcb.co.uk/index.html External site opens in new window

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