Can we ever hope to wipe out diseases like influenza and small-pox? Will our weather get better - or worse? Is it possible to grow anything useful on large areas of moorland in this country? Diseases, climate and soil structure alter so slowly that patterns in them can only be found by studying how they've changed over hundreds and thousands of years. Dating methods, which slot all the changes into place, are the most important scientific tools for analyzing the past. And the news they give can advise - and warn - us about the future.