EU shipping is temporarily suspended

Land, Sky, Home podcast series: A breathtaking archaeological tour

Posted on 12 Apr 2023

In this special podcast trilogy, archaeologist and Thames & Hudson author David Miles takes us on an immersive tour of the cromlechs and tombs near his home in France, to explore three themes from the past that shape the preoccupations of our present.

Cévennes landscape in autumn. Credit: Daniel Saul.

Land, Sky, Home podcast series

Land, Sky, and Home reflect David Miles’s deep knowledge of archaeology and the natural world. Recorded in different seasons of the year, all three episodes are suffused with birdsong and sounds from the landscapes of the Cévennes.

In Land, David investigates a stone circle, and meets a stonemason, to reflect on how prehistoric land clearances relate to anxieties about environmental degradation today.

In Sky, David encounters a shepherd and a tomb to explore the impact of the heavens on prehistoric social arrangements—and how our modern relationship with the sky needs mending.

Finally, in Home, David visits the ruins of a Copper Age village to examine how our idea of home emerged.

Read on below and head behind the scenes with producer Julius Purcell.

Making Land, Sky, Home: Julius Purcell, Producer

‘My discovery of David Miles’s books brought relief to the Covid lockdowns of 2020. Pitched between scholarship and storytelling, Miles’s writing uses warmth and humour to draw readers into his polymathic world.

Although neither The Tale of the Axe nor The Land of the White Horse are about the Cévennes, its author makes numerous references to his home there. So, in late 2020, I phoned him out of the blue: ‘You don’t know me, but I want to make podcasts with you walking around the Cévennes,’ I told him, and David said: ‘Yeah, alright. Let’s do it.’

During the visits that followed, David juggled roles as archaeologist, bird-watcher, gardener, raconteur, and the chef of his favourite daube stew. My co-producer Daniel Saul and I have tramped with him through forests and over plateaus, recording conversations with him and his wife, curator Gwyn Miles, whose expert discussion of ceramics is featured in Home.

Accompanying David, our mics absorbed the intense sounds and sensations of this wild region: the buzz of the limestone hills in baking heat, the storms and the rivers, and the Spring dawn choruses punctuated by woodpeckers. Our aim was to make this series as joyful to listen to as it was to make. We hope we succeeded.’

From Land: David, Mathilde, and Patrick the Shepherd. Credit: Daniel Saul.

From Land: Plotting the shepherd's transhumance route. Credit: Daniel Saul.

From Land: A section of the Neolithic Cromlech de Lacam de Peyrarines.

From Sky: Autumn sunset over the Causse de Blandas. The Cromlech de Lacam de Peyrarines nestles in the scrub to the right. Credit: Daniel Saul.

From Sky: The Neolithic chamber tomb on the Causse de Blandas. Credit: Leila Purcell Collins.

From Sky: Part of Patrick Mayet's mixed flock grazes under an early October sky. Credit: Daniel Saul.

From Home: Professor Luc Jallot shows us a late Neolithic dwelling at the Fontbouisse site of Cambous. Credit: Daniel Saul.

From Home: Gwyn Miles holds a pot made by English potter, Julian Stair.

From Home: Hunter Jacky Martin (right) with his brother, at home in the Cévennes. Credit: Daniel Saul.

A recording session by the River Salendrinque.

Composer Golshanak Goldy and co-producer Daniel Saul. Golshanak lives in her van, criss-crossing the Cévennes to perform at markets and festivals.

Golshanak Goldy's October recording session was occasionally interrupted by falling chestnuts.

About David Miles

David Miles is the author of The Tale of the Axe: How the Neolithic Revolution Transformed Britain, and The Land of the White Horse, Visions of England. A pioneer of rescue archaeology in the 1970s, David served as director of Oxford Archaeology, and then as chief archaeologist of English Heritage. David and his wife Gwyn have lived in the Cévennes for 20 years.


Written and presented by David Miles
Produced by Julius Purcell and R&D STUDIO (
Sound design and script consultancy by Daniel Saul
Accordion and piano music composed and performed by Golshanak Goldy
Double bass music composed and performed by Steve Truman
Land was recorded in the Cévennes, France, in June 2021; Sky, in October 2021; and Home, in April 2022.

With thanks to Gwyn Miles; Sarah Presant Collins; Leila Purcell Collins; Rachel Davies; Bill Gee; Angelo de Bernardo; Yoland Micheli; Macri et Bertrand Séguier; Patrick Mayet et Mathilde; John Lorimer; Martin Young; Luc Jallot; Aline Rideau; Jackie Martin et ses deux frères; Mairie de Monoblet; Adam Thorpe; Nicolas Evina; Sarah Davison; Louis Burgen.

Explore the books

The Tale of the Axe

How the Neolithic Revolution Transformed Britain David Miles

The Land of the White Horse

Visions of England David Miles