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Britain's Secret Treasures

11 July 2012

NEWS SHOCK: Archaeologist sacrifices ex-Blue Peter presenter

Catch Britain's Secret Treasures (ITV), Tuesday 17 July 7.30pm

Swabian knot as featured in Britain's Secret Treasures

Swabian knot as featured in Britain's Secret Treasures


Catch 'Britain's Secret Treasures' (ITV), Tuesday 17 July 7.30pm and see Cardiff Professor of Archaeology Miranda Aldhouse-Green showing Gethin Jones [presenter, formerly Blue Peter] and celebrity hairdresser Nicky Clarke some grisly secrets of the past, as part of National Archaeology week.

A specialist in Iron Age and Roman period ritual and religion, Miranda Aldhouse-Green explains:
‘The series celebrates special archaeological objects that come under the Portable Antiquities Scheme. We filmed in two locations: the first, on the Langstone Hoard, was shot, with presenter Gethin Jones, at the Derek Upton Centre at Magor Marsh.'

'The hoard consisted of late Iron Age drinking equipment, including a stunning tankard, used in communal feasts, and made in the early first century AD. The hoard probably represents a kind of sacrificial ritual, in which precious objects were consigned to watery places in order to communicate with the gods. Human sacrifice was also a feature of the film, and I had the privilege of 'sacrificing' Gethin by means of a club, a knife and a garotte!'

The second location was the Nicky Clarke Hair Salon in London's Mayfair. It features the Tamworth Comb, a beautiful little decorated bronze Iron Age hair-comb, made in the first century BC that was used to pin up long hair, and when it wasn't in use, it hung from a suspension hole at the waist of its owner.

The comb illustrates the increasing emphasis on personal grooming that developed in Iron Age Britain, and it would have been a high-status object. The film shows Nicky experimenting with different Iron Age hairstyles, using the comb, with evidence from ancient images and bog-bodies.

Miranda appears on the programme on Tuesday 17 July at 7.30pm on ITV1. The series is timed to celebrate National Archaeology week.