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New episodes come out Thursdays for free, with 1-week early access for Wondery+ subscribers. Everywhere around us are echoes of the past. Those echoes define the boundaries of states and countries, how we pray and how we fight. They determine what money we spend and how we earn it at work, what language we speak and how we raise our children. From Wondery, host Patrick Wyman, PhD (“Fall Of Rome”) helps us understand our world and how it got to be the way it is.
 
Barbarians, political breakdown, economic collapse, mass migration, pillaging and plunder. The fall of the Roman Empire has been studied for years, but genetics, climate science, forensic science, network models, and globalization studies have reshaped our understanding of one of the most important events in human history. PhD historian and specialist Patrick Wyman brings the cutting edge of history to listeners in plain, relatable English.
 
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We're often told that trade was central to the interconnected world of the late Bronze Age, but what were people really trading? Why did trade matter so much? And what happened when that trade disappeared? Professor Sarah Murray is an archaeologist and an expert on the economy of Mycenaean Greece - and how and why it fell apart. Patrick's book is n…
 
The term "Bronze Age Collapse" is by now common, but what do we actually mean when we talk about "collapse?" Is it a matter of political reorganization or something rather more drastic? In the case of the Bronze Age, we have a copious material and written record to help us understand what actually happened around 1200 BC, and how it affected the pe…
 
The late Bronze Age was a time of powerful empires and intense competition between them. Never before had true states covered such a large area, or had such resources to devote to politicking and fighting with one another. The result was war on a scale never before seen in human history. Patrick's book is now available! Get The Verge: Reformation, …
 
What was it like to be a regular person in ancient Egypt? What did people do when they got sick or injured? Professor Anne Austin is an Egyptologist and bioarchaeologist who studies health and disease using both texts and human remains, allowing us to answer questions about the bodily experience of ancient life in ways we never thought possible. Pa…
 
We know the late Bronze Age world eventually collapsed, but what made it a world in the first place? The answer lies in the intense connections - trade, politics, and culture - that tied together a vast area of the ancient world, from Mycenaean Greece to Elamite Iran and the Caucasus Mountains to the Upper Nile in Nubia. Patrick's book is now avail…
 
When we think about ancient Egypt, the vast majority of our attention goes to its elite: pharaohs, queens, priests, and nobles. But the elite made up only the tiniest portion of the population. What about the people who built the pyramids, royal tombs, great temples, and palaces? What can we know about them? A great deal, as it turns out. Patrick's…
 
If we know one thing about the Bronze Age world, we know that it collapsed. But what made it a world? And why did it fall apart? There's nobody better to ask than Professor Eric Cline, who literally wrote the book - 1177 BC - on the end of the Bronze Age. Patrick's book is now available! Get The Verge: Reformation, Renaissance, and Forty Years that…
 
Kings are one of the constants of ancient Egypt's long history. But what, exactly, were kings supposed to do, and how did ancient Egyptians understand the role of their king? Professor Laurel Bestock is one of the world's leading experts on the institution of kingship in ancient Egypt, as well as an experienced archaeologist, and she brings several…
 
Egypt's New Kingdom lasted for more than 400 years. In that time, Egypt changed dramatically, weathering ups, downs, and turmoil of all kinds. Much of that turmoil centered around a religious visionary who also happened to be pharaoh: Akhenaten, father of the famous Tutankhamun, whose incredible tomb and less-than-impressive reign was a reflection …
 
Most of what we think we know about ancient Egypt is actually things we know about the New Kingdom, the last of Egypt's three classical golden ages: an empire stretching into the Near East and Nubia, warrior kings leading armies of chariots, the lavish tombs of the Valley of the Kings, and the well-preserved faces of royal mummies. Patrick's book i…
 
Sea levels rise, hills erode, and rivers change course over decades and centuries, dramatically affecting how people choose to live in their landscapes. Professor Mike Carson is an expert in the study of archaeological landscapes in the ancient Pacific, and his work has provided incredible insights into how the ancient speakers of the Austronesian …
 
When we think of the Middle Ages, the first thing that comes to mind is usually knights in shining armor. Chivalry - the ideal of behavior that guided knights - was a major force in medieval life. Honor and piety, bravery and reputation: these were core values for the secular elite. We explore what they actually meant to medieval people. Patrick's …
 
Star Carr, located in the Yorkshire region of northern England, is one of the world's richest archaeological sites, a waterlogged window onto the European Mesolithic more than 11,000 years ago. Professor Chantal Conneller spent more than a decade excavating at Star Carr, and she joins me to talk about this enigmatic and little-known but incredibly …
 
Of all the Austronesian-speaking peoples, none have gone further than the Polynesians. Professor Patrick Vinton Kirch of the University of Hawaii is one of the world's leading experts on the Polynesian voyages and colonization of the Pacific, and we discuss how, why, and with what impact the Polynesians spread out over half of the planet. Patrick's…
 
The first wave of migration out of Taiwan brought speakers of Austronesian to the northern reaches of the Philippines, the homeland of the Malayo-Polynesians. From there, they spread out over a vast swathe of Southeast Asia and Oceania, eventually moving to the distant reaches of Indonesia and the previously uninhabited spaces of Remote Oceania. Pa…
 
More than 4,000 years ago, a remarkable migration - one of the great journeys in human history - began in Taiwan. Within just a thousand years, people speaking the Austronesian languages spread out everywhere from the Philippines to Borneo to the previously uninhabited islands of Vanuatu and Fiji in Remote Oceania. Patrick's book is now available! …
 
The harsh, unforgiving conditions of the Andes and the nearby Pacific coastline make it one of the best places in the world to study the relationship between people and their environment. Professor Jason Nesbitt is an expert on the archaeology of the Andes and has extensively worked on how ancient people in the region organized themselves to deal w…
 
China's Shang Dynasty is something of an enigma. It produced the earliest written evidence in China, in the form of inscribed oracle bones, and decades of archaeology have shed light on its capital city and society. Yet much about it is still unclear, including precisely how the Shang understood themselves and their world. Professor Rod Campbell is…
 
The arid shoreline between the Andes Mountains and the Pacific seems like an unlikely place to host one of the world's earliest complex societies. But more than 5,000 years ago, the people of the Norte Chico Culture built cities, temples, and monuments that laid the foundation for thousands of years of Andean civilization. Patrick's book is now ava…
 
Mesoamerica is one of only a few places in the world where "civilization" - states, writing, cities, monumental building, and so on - emerged independently. The first society to do all this were the enigmatic Olmecs more than 3,000 years ago. Today the Olmecs are known mostly for their colossal carved stone heads, but they were the pioneers of a di…
 
Over the past several decades, ancient DNA and other archaeological sciences have transformed our understanding of Europe in prehistory. Professor Kristian Kristiansen has worked with these new methods since the very beginning, and combines them with a deep grounding in both traditional archaeology and big-picture thinking about what it all means. …
 
The Eurasian steppe is central to grasping the past 5,000 years of human history, and in the past couple of decades, new tools of analysis have transformed our understanding of the place and its importance. Professor Michael Frachetti has developed and applied a whole series of innovative approaches to understanding the people of the Bronze Age ste…
 
Four thousand years ago, the sprawling cities of the Indus Valley Civilization dominated much of South Asia; a millennium after that, however, the cities were in ruins, and new migrants ultimately deriving their ancestry from the Eurasian steppe had established themselves throughout much of the region. These new arrivals have become known as Indo-A…
 
More than a billion people around the world speak a language of the Indo-Iranian family today. These languages all trace their origin to a group of innovative people living on the steppes of southern Russia more than 4000 years ago, people who inhabited a surprisingly far-flung, complex, and mutable world. Patrick's book is now available! Get The V…
 
The Indus Valley Civilization doesn’t get much attention compared to Mesopotamia or Egypt, but it covered an area of a million square kilometers, was home to hundreds of thousands or millions of people and a unified culture, and lasted for the better part of a millennium. More than that, the Indus Civilization doesn’t seem to fit the models we have…
 
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