Histories of the Unexpected

Histories of the Unexpected explores the past in ways that you never dreamt possible. Surely there’s nothing unexpected about the past? About History? Aha, well Histories of the Unexpected adopts a new approach to exploring our past. Gone is the traditional linear plotting of battles, monarchs and political movements. Histories of the Unexpected argues that everything has a history. Presented by Dr Sam Willis and Professor James Daybell.


Eine durchschnittliche Folge dieses Podcasts dauert 30m. Bisher sind 125 Folge(n) erschienen. Dies ist ein wöchentlich erscheinender Podcast


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Sam Willis and James Daybell take on the UNEXPECTED history of CLOTHING! It's all about social control, death, recycling and mending, nationalism, Thomas Wolsey, and the rediscovery of a long lost dress that once belonged to Queen Elizabeth I of E...




Sam Willis and James Daybell are inspired by the new film Judy and Punch to explore the fascinating history of puppets! They're all about noses, propaganda, domestic violence, totalitarian rule, mischief, squeaking, industrialisation and disease. ...




Inspired by Bonfire Night, Sam Willis and James Daybell explore the unexpected history of fire. It's all about communicating with fire, propaganda, speeches, hunting, exploring, Captain Cook, arrows, burning barrels, heresy, greed, Zoroastrianism,...



Blood and Bones

Inspired by Halloween and Bonfire Night, Sam and James discuss the unexpected history of blood and bones: it's all about prehistoric axes, mass graves, Viking armies, Tudor surgery, bear baiting, Ottomans, Italy, and eating human bone powder. So t...


 06 November 2019  47m

The Spanish Armada

Sam and James explore the UNEXPECTED history of the Spanish Armada. It's all about collapsed expectation, flags, spies (as always), threat, fire, people not doing the right jobs, seasickness and lies.


 21 October 2019  32m


Sam Willis and James Daybell tackle the UNEXPECTED history of FABRIC! It's all about museums, (especially the Victoria and Albert Museum and the Vasa Museum) LGBTQ+, flags, handkerchiefs in WW2, silk, the Vikings, trade, subversion, heirlooms, com...


 13 October 2019  29m

Spies 2 - Interview with Dr Nadine Akkerman

In this episode, James interviews Miss Walsingham herself, Nadine Akkerman from Leiden University on her new book about seventeenth-century female spies, 'Invisible Agents'!


 08 October 2019  44m


James and Sam explain how you can think about the history of spies...it's all about honey, codes, eggs and invisibility!


 04 October 2019  42m

Humans Part 2 - with Dr Adam Rutherford

Sam spends a happy hour talking to the scientist Adam Rutherford about humans! The history of humans is all about - masks, ties, make-up, sea-otters, penguins, and whales playing the violin.


 27 September 2019  32m


James and Sam explain how you can think about the history of humans...it's all about behaviour, art, hands, animals, hats...you'll never think about yourself in the same way ever again...GUARANTEED.


 03 September 2019  35m