every one of us wonders about where we’ve come from, but how many of us really know who can trace our ancestry back more than just a few generations here in the brushy mountains of north carolina? Many families know they go all the way back to colonial america, but what about the rest of us? Well, a tv documentary producer in great britain has stumbled onto something that may be a giant leap forward in helping us find out phillip priestley, a british documentary filmmaker was assigned to do a film about regional archaeological sites near cheddar, england, yes, the same cheddar as in The cheese cheddar’s, fantastic place, very interesting archaeology and i’ve known it for 50 years.

Nearly because i’ve lived here. Nearly all my life, a show about archaeology around cheddar, made a lot of sense because one of england’s, most important finds was made right here in cheddar gorge in 1903, while excavating one of the gorge’s, many caves workers discovered The oldest prehistoric skeleton ever found in britain, cheddar man as he’s, fondly called, is almost 10 000 years old and, although the gorge and cave are now a tourist attraction at the end of the last ice age, this was an ideal living situation.

For prehistoric man, it would have been a wonderful place for hunter-gatherers to live. Everything was here that they needed water animals and even a few plants and animals during the ice age. So it would have always attracted people, especially the caves which offered shelter.

You could put a fire to the front and keep people out, keep the other animals out and you can keep warm inside the inside the caves, so a change of environment, new opportunities and new ways of living and that’s.

What we see with cheddar man personally priestly found archaeology phenomenally interesting, but as an experienced television producer, he knew he had a serious problem on tv. Archaeology can be very boring.

The digging is slow and tedious. The science complex and hard to explain priestly wondered how he was going to make this program watchable there’s, a boredom factor in in archaeology that you have to get over.

So we could use the scenery we could use the cave. It all looks spectacular, but i was looking for something else, something that would draw the viewer in to the story and maybe give us a little bit of tension, and i said, wouldn’t.

It be a good idea if we did some dna testing of the skeleton and then, if we test some people in cheddar and see if there’s, anybody related to him some fun detective work and a good dramatic device to keep the show interesting.

So priestly asked london’s. Natural history museum where cheddar man’s remains, are kept to try and take a dna sample from the 10 000 year old skeleton if they got a result. He’d, then test a representative number of local high school students for their dna.

The budget for a regional television program is quite small. It’s very tight, so you have to be very careful how you spend it and how many days shooting you can do and how much editing so to spend two thousand pounds.

It sounds very, very small, but in a in that budget it was quite big, but if it would create some suspense for a show, priestly felt it would be worth it. A dna test had previously been attempted on cheddar man and failed, but a new test had come into use, one which held much more promise.

The museum sent cheddar man’s jawbone to the molecular science institute in oxford from one of the tooth cavities. In the jaw, scientists attempted to extract a special type of dna, known as mitochondria in the human body.

The mitochondria is inherited unchanged generation degeneration, but only down the maternal line from woman to woman. It is the dna most likely to stand the test of time and could still exist in the ancient bones.

Much to philip priestley’s relief. The scientists succeeded in finding a usable sample now priestly turned to the faculty of cheddar’s. Local high school and sought their cooperation. I spoke to the bursa and i put the problem to him.

I said i want some people to um to be in this program to have the dna taken, which is it’s, not an intrigue. They don’t have to drill their teeth; they just take a little scrubbing from the inside of their cheek and the burst has said.

Well, you better talk to the to the head of history here, and so i was approached by philip to try and um dna some students who came from the local area, so i simply asked them a question along the lines of how many of you have had Grandparents living in this area and if they could go back two or three generations, i asked them if they’d like to have their dna tested, the students agreed the day arrived and with film crew present priestly documented.

The event some of the students were perhaps a bit apprehensive of what the dna test was going to consist of some thought. It might be a skin sample and some thought it might be a blood sample – and i said, oh it’s, only going to be a mouth swab.

It’s really easy, and i’ll. Have mine done just to show you there’s? Nothing, nothing involved! The scientists took their samples back to oxford and began to cross-reference the results looking down here.

Yes, there are 292 only one, only one out of the whole lot on the base of what we’ve got here. That would be an identical match, which would mean that they had a common maternal ancestor. So who do we match this up with? Let’s, see number two number 12.

so who’s? Number 12. number 12 was a match. Someone at the school was a direct descendant of cheddar man, philip priestly, while trying to dramatize his archaeology documentary had made an extraordinary scientific discovery.

As i drove home, i actually stopped and rang a few people and said: well, we’ve got a result. We’ve, got a result and uh it was. It only dawned on me, after a little while uh that maybe this was uh an historic kind of finding so priestley called brian sykes.

The molecular biologist, who had conducted the test and asked him i said, is this: the oldest the longest dna bridge that’s ever been made between a ancient person and a modern person. He said yes, it is so i said it’s, a world record.

He said yes, it is an incredible discovery. Philip priestley had bridged the gap across 400 generations. He had the ultimate payoff for his documentary. Now. All he had to do was reveal to the world who the matching subject was, so he called a press conference at the school and had his documentary’s.

Host archaeologist mick aston make the announcement you’re, all a gog, no doubt to know who it is, who’s related to the caveman founding cheddar? Yes, what would you feel like if it was one of you, because it’s, probably going to be of interest to people all over the world that there’s? A link over 9000 years to this person found in the cave? I think you could stand the publicity and the visits to california and wherever yes, so, who is it? It’s adrian targa? Thank you very much.

This is the man that’s closest related to cheddar man. I’m overwhelmed. How do you feel about that? Adrian bit surprised? I was just a bit about to say: i hope it’s. Not me. This is the first time anyone had been able to establish a direct link between ourselves and our prehistoric, ancestors [ Music ] adrian.

What was your instant reaction when you were told that you had this amazing line back 9000 years to a caveman? Well, it was a great shock, but then i realized that that was why i’d, been put in next to the accessory, who was doing the filming yeah.

It was fantastic and i went down the next morning to buy the newspapers and there it was all over the newspapers. This is the sun newspaper there’s the times big big feature that’s; front page picture that’s, the guardian, the terrific piece that’s, the daily star here’s.

Another example – and this is a swiss publication – everybody found something of interest in this story, so here’s adrian he’s, never been in the papers before and suddenly he’s. There’s. His head cheddar man and julia binosh in her swimming costume, so that’s, fame for you.

It struck me and very unusual that you would actually have people living in the same place ancestors over 9000 years, coming from an american background with my family moved every three or four years to new state new city, no continuity, and i didn’t Marry the girl next door, which might have been the case for cheddar men.

This was just it was just an experience which i couldn’t relate to. I still can’t relate to staying in one place and then generations after generation. After generation 400 generations, in this case it’s, just mind-blowing there’s, some deep fascination with where we’ve come from and who we are and these links between the past and the present.

I suppose the fact that adrian was the history teacher in the local school just made. That was a bonus. You couldn’t. You couldn’t write that into a script. People say well that’s, that’s, ridiculous.

The history teacher turns out to be descendant of this ancient man, but target was a lot less impressed than pretty much everyone around him. I have to confess, although i know he’s, a a relative if you like um it’s, a very long-lost relative from a very long time ago.

So i ca. I’m intrigued by it, but i i don’t regard him with perhaps say the same affection as i might someone who’s a lot closer to my family, although he takes it all in stride. Adrian target has wound up with a very special treasure, the longest known human lineage snaking back almost 10 000 years and as important as this discovery is to target and the scientific community.

The greatest satisfaction goes to the man who stumbled upon it. That was terrific. Well, it’s, a joy. We’ve done this work. We’ve. Taken that risk. We’d, spend our a little bit of money and there we were and we hit the jackpot bingo.

All of us want to know where we come from. Maybe it’s, the desire to belong, or just plain curiosity that compels us to look to the past for the answer. Now, thanks to a documentary filmmaker and a teacher of history, we ‘

Ve moved one step closer to knowing

Source : Youtube

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