Miles Russell discusses Piltdown Man hoax on BBC Radio Solent

Posted on Thursday, November 28 2013

Miles Russell, programme leader of the BSc Archaeology course at Bournemouth University appeared on Steve Harris’ Drivetime show on BBC Radio Solent, discussing the 60 year anniversary since the discovery of the Piltdown Man was uncovered as a hoax.

Russell suggested archaeologists have learned from the hoax saying, “We have all become more cynical. If a find is too good to be true, it often is”.

Piltdown Man was said to be the biggest archaeological discovery of the century in 1912 when fossils of a human braincase and an ape like jaw were discovered, marking the midpoint in evolution between apes and humans.

In the 1950’s further research was carried out on Piltdown and, 60 years ago, the discovery was exposed as a hoax.

“People were so worried about proving Piltdown as a hoax that they wanted to make sure every last test was complete,” said Russell. “Before the hoax was uncovered, children had always been taught that civilization began in the south east”. However the science behind Piltdown didn’t align with other scientists discoveries over the years.