Bournemouth University

School of Conservation Sciences

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Dr Miles Russell on BBC's The One Show

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Dr Miles Russell filming for BBCs The One Show Lookout for Dr Miles Russell on The One Show on 9th June

The faked fossil skull of Piltdown Man, originally hailed as the ‘missing-link’ in the chain of evolution between apes and humans, represents one of the greatest scientific forgeries of all time. Who perpetrated the hoax and why, have remained a mystery until now.

Piltdown grave

Dr Miles Russell, Senior Lecturer in Prehistoric and Roman Archaeology in BU’s School of Conservation Sciences, thinks he has found the answer and, in a segment filmed for a forthcoming edition of The One Show, explains that the faker was almost certainly Charles Dawson, a prominent Sussex solicitor. “Dawson had the means, motive and opportunity” Dr Russell explains “and it is evident that he also had form, at least 38 discoveries made by Dawson in his career as an amateur antiquarian can now be shown to be clear and unambiguous forgeries”.

Piltdown skull

Dr Russell’s research into this most intriguing of serial-hoaxers has previously been featured on both the BBC and ITN news and formed the basis of a BBC 2 Timewatch episode, Britain’s Greatest Hoax, screened in November 2003. The One Show Segment is due to be aired on BBC 1 in June.

A synopsis of the case against Dawson may be found in the Conservation Sciences research pages below.

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