Ancient podcasts
September 26, 2015 7:00 AM   Subscribe

Hi! I'm looking for good podcasts about extremely ancient history, stretching way back into pre-history! Basically: anything that goes from pre-sapiens hominids to, i don't know, let's use 500 BCE as our arbitrary cutoff date. Stuff about human evolution, early architecture, first farming practices, religions, history of tool use, anything in that nice huge swath that encompasses the shadowy past. I know that's a big-ass series of unrelated eons, but basically: the older the better!
posted by Greg Nog to Media & Arts (9 answers total) 69 users marked this as a favorite
 
The Leakey Foundation, which funds anthropology research on human evolution and related topics, has just started a podcast which is pretty awesome. It's called Origin Stories, and focuses on grantees' research - so far they've talked about the evolution of bipedalism, hiccups, Jane Goodall's research and what it's like to work at Gombe Stream, and finding hominid fossils in Ethiopia. I think they're aiming to have an episode every month.

I like the British Museum's History of the World in 100 Objects podcast. I have students listen to the Olduvai Chopper episode in my physical anthropology class, but you'd probably enjoy a bunch of them (they're organized chronologically if you really want to cut off at 500 BCE!).
posted by ChuraChura at 8:26 AM on September 26, 2015 [8 favorites]


The first 20 episodes of 'A history of the world in 100 objects' (joint BBC/British Museum production)
posted by Heloise9 at 8:27 AM on September 26, 2015 [1 favorite]


It's on the tail end dof your time range, but the first 15 or so episodes of The History of English Podcast might be of interest. It starts in with proto-Indo-European.
posted by fings at 8:53 AM on September 26, 2015 [7 favorites]


It's a giant mixed bag of science, but the Quirks and Quarks archive is super-easy to scroll through and look at topics (and then click on the topic and instantly hear that story). A quick glance brings up topics like: Oldest Stone Tools Pre-Date Human History (May 23), CSI: Paleo, Murder Most Ancient (May 30), First Footprints in Canada (June 27), How Dogs Helped Humans Drive Neanderthals to Extinction (April 4), Neanderthals wore jewelry 130,000 years ago (March 21), etc. etc.

I don't know how far back the archive goes but the show has been on the CBC since 1975, so you should be able to find plenty of 8-10 minute pieces of intrigue.
posted by Ufez Jones at 9:13 AM on September 26, 2015 [1 favorite]


The Ancient World Podcast is pretty good. The whole back catalogue is available on iTunes. He's doing a follow-up series following particular individuals and family lines now, which is excellent.
posted by Happy Dave at 9:14 AM on September 26, 2015


Thanks for asking this question! I teach all of the history covered in your question and I love some of the things people have already recommended.

I was coming to offer History of the World in 100 Objects. It's great - I even use it with 6th graders.
posted by guster4lovers at 10:38 AM on September 26, 2015 [1 favorite]


I found the Podcast History of Our World podcast to be a lot of fun. He keeps going after prehistory ends but you could stop there if you wanted.
posted by possibilityleft at 2:58 PM on September 26, 2015


I've mostly been listening to podcasts on ancient history (3500-500 BCE) rather than pre-history, but I would second The Ancient World - excellent podcast, covering exactly the period you're interested in (down to 500 BCE).

The first 50 or so episodes of the History of the English language also incorporates a lot of interesting ancient history along with language and linguistics.

I also just downloaded the first few episodes of A brief history of Carthage - I haven't listened to them yet, but I'm looking forward to learning more Phonecian history.

For pre-history - human or millions of years earlier - I would recommend the relevant episodes of In Our Time, such as those on the Neanderthals or the Permian Extinction.
posted by jb at 4:43 PM on September 26, 2015


What wonderful answers, you all! Does it dilute things to mark you all best answer? DON'T CARE, I'M DOING IT

Keep the suggestions coming, anyone else who might stumble upon this!
posted by Greg Nog at 7:33 AM on September 27, 2015 [1 favorite]


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