A History of the World in 100 Objects  

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A History of the World in 100 Objects is a joint project of BBC Radio 4 and the British Museum, comprising a 100-part radio series written and presented by British Museum director Neil MacGregor. In 15-minute presentations broadcast on weekdays on Radio 4, MacGregor uses objects of ancient art, industry, technology and arms, all of which are in the British Museum's collections, as an introduction to parts of human history.

Contents

Objects

Making us human (2,000,000 – 9,000 BC)

"Neil MacGregor reveals the earliest objects that define us as humans." First broadcast week beginning 18 January 2010.

Image Number Object Origin Date BBC website BM website Additional contributors
100px 1 Mummy of Hornedjitef Egypt 300 – 200 BC BBC BM, BM, BM Amartya Sen, John Taylor
100px 2 Stone (basalt) chopping tool Olduvai Gorge, Tanzania 1.8 – 2 million years old BBC BM Sir David Attenborough
100px 3 Handaxe Olduvai Gorge, Tanzania 1.2 – 1.4 million years old BBC BM Sir James Dyson, Phil Harding, Nick Ashton
100px 4 Swimming Reindeer from Montastruc rock shelter France 13,000 years old BBC BM The Most Reverend Rowan Williams, Steve Mithen
100px 5 Clovis spear point Arizona, USA 13,000 years old BBC BM Michael Palin, Gary Haynes

After the Ice Age: food and sex (9,000 – 3,000 BC)

"Why did farming start at the end of the Ice Age? Clues remain in objects left behind." First broadcast week beginning 25 January 2010.

Image Number Object Origin Date BBC website BM website Additional contributors
100px 6 Bird-shaped pestle Papua New Guinea 4,000 – 8,000 years old BBC BM Madhur Jaffrey, Bob Geldof, Martin Jones
100px 7 Ain Sakhri lovers Judea about 11,000 years old BBC BM Marc Quinn, Ian Hodder
100px8 Clay model of cattle Egypt about 3,500 BC BBC BM Fekri Hassan, Martin Jones
100px 9 Maya maize god statue Honduras AD 715 BBC BM Santiago Calva, John Staller
100px 10 Jomon pot Japan about 5,000 BC BBC BM Simon Kamer, Takashi Doi

The first cities and states (4,000 – 2,000 BC)

"What happens as people move from villages to cities? Five objects tell the story."<ref name="programme"/> First broadcast week beginning 1 February 2010.

Image Number Object Origin Date BBC website BM website Additional contributors
100px 11 King Den's sandal label Egypt about 2,985 BC BBC BM Toby Wilkinson, Steve Bell
100px 12 Standard of Ur Iraq 2,600 – 2,400 BC BBC BM Lamia al Gailani, Anthony Giddens
100px13 An Indus seal Pakistan 4,000 – 2,000 BC BBC BM Richard Rogers, Nayanjot Lahiri
100px 14 Jadeite axe from the Alps, found in England 4,000 – 2,000 BC BBC BM Mark Edmonds, Pierre Petrequin
100px 15 Early writing tablet Iraq 3,100 – 3,000 BC BBC BM Gus O'Donnell, John Searle

The beginning of science and literature (1500 – 700 BC)

"4,000 years ago, societies began to express themselves through myth, maths and monuments."<ref name="programme"/> First broadcast week beginning 8 February 2010.

Image Number Object Origin Date BBC website BM website Additional contributors
100px 16 Flood tablet Iraq 700 – 600 BC BBC BM David Damrosch, Jonathon Sacks
100px 17 Rhind Mathematical Papyrus Egypt about 1550 BC BBC BM Eleanor Robson, Clive Rix
100px 18 Minoan Bull-leaper Crete 1700 – 1450 BC BBC BM Sergio Delgado
100px 19 Mold gold cape Wales 1900 – 1600 BC BBC BM Mary Cahill, Marie Louise Sørensen
100px 20 Statue of Ramesses II Egypt about 1,250 BC BBC BM Antony Gormley, Karen Exell

Old world, new powers (1100 – 300 BC)

"Across the world new regimes create objects to assert their supremacy."<ref name="programme"/> First broadcast week beginning 15 February 2010.

Image Number Object Origin Date BBC website BM website Additional contributors
100px 21 Lachish Reliefs Iraq 700 – 692 BC BBC BM Paddy Ashdown, Anthony Beever
100px 22 Sphinx of Taharqa Sudan about 680 BC BBC BM Zeinab Badawi, Derek Welsby
100px 23 Chinese Zhou ritual vessel China 1100 – 1000 BC BBC BM Dame Jessica Rawson, Wang Tao
100px 24 Paracas Textile Peru 300 – 200 BC BBC BM Zandra Rhodes, Mary Frame
100px 25 Gold coin of Croesus Turkey about 550 BC BBC BM James Buchan, Paul Craddock

The world in the age of Confucius (500 – 300 BC)

"Can meanings hidden in friezes and flagons tell us as much as the writings of great men?"<ref name="programme"/> First broadcast week beginning 22 February 2010.

Image Number Object Origin Date BBC website BM website Additional contributors
100px26 Oxus chariot model Tajikistan 500 – 300 BC BBC BM Michael Axworthy, Tom Holland
100px 27 Parthenon sculpture :Centaur and Lapith Greece about 440 BC BBC BM Mary Beard, Olga Palagia
100px 28 Basse Yutz flagons France about 450 BC BBC BM Jonathan Meades, Barry Cunliffe
100px 29 Olmec stone mask Mexico 900 – 400 BC BBC BM Carlos Fuentes, Karl Taube
100px 30 Chinese bronze bell China 500 – 400 BC BBC BM Dame Evelyn Glennie, Isobel Hilton

Empire builders (300 BC – AD 1)

"Neil MacGregor continues his global history told through objects. This week he is with the great rulers of the world around 2,000 years ago" First broadcast week beginning 17 May 2010.

Image Number Object Origin Date BBC website BM website Additional contributors
100px 31 Coin of Lysimachus with head of Alexander Turkey 305 – 281 BC BBC BM Andrew Marr, Robin Lane Fox
100px32 Pillar of Ashoka India about 238 BC BBC BM Amartya Sen, Michael Rutland
100px 33 The Rosetta Stone Egypt 196 BC BBC BM Dorothy Thompson, Ahdaf Soueif
100px 34 Chinese Han lacquer cup China AD 4 BBC BM Roel Sterckx, Isabel Hilton
100px 35 Head of Augustus Sudan 27 – 25 BC BBC BM Boris Johnson, Susan Walker

Ancient pleasures, modern spice (AD 1 – 600)

"Neil MacGregor explores the ways in which people sought pleasure 2,000 years ago."<ref name="programme"/> First broadcast week beginning 24 May 2010.

Image Number Object Origin Date BBC website BM website Additional contributors
100px 36 The Warren Cup near Jerusalem AD 5 – 15 BBC BM Bettany Hughes, James Davidson
100px 37 North American otter pipe USA 200 BC – AD 100 BBC BM Tony Benn, Gabrielle Tayac
100px 38 Ceremonial ballgame belt Mexico AD 100 – 500 BBC BM Nick Hornby, Michael Whittington
100px 39 Admonitions Scroll China AD 500 – 800 BBC BM Shane McCausland, Charles Powell
100px 40 Hoxne pepper pot England AD 350 – 400 BBC BM Christine McFadden Roberta Tomber

The rise of world faiths (AD 200 – 600)

"Neil MacGregor explores how and when many great religious images came into existence."<ref name="programme"/> First broadcast week beginning 31 May 2010.

Image Number Object Origin Date BBC website BM website Additional contributors
100px 41 Seated Buddha from Gandhara Pakistan AD 100 – 300 BBC BM Claudine Bautze-Picron, Thupten Jinpa
100px 42 Gold coin of Kumaragupta I India AD 415 – 450 BBC BM Romila Thapar, Shaunaka Rishi Das
100px 43 Silver plate showing Shapur II Iran AD 309 – 379 BBC BM Tom Holland, Guitty Azarpay
100px 44 Hinton St Mary Mosaic England AD 300 – 400 BBC BM Dame Averil Cameron, Eamonn Duffy
100px 45 Arabian bronze hand Yemen AD 100 – 300 BBC BM Jeremy Field, Philip Jenkins

The Silk Road and beyond (AD 400 – 700)

"Five objects from the British Museum tell the story of the movement of goods and ideas."<ref name="programme"/> First broadcast week beginning 7 June 2010.

Image Number Object Origin Date BBC website BM website Additional contributors
100px 46 Gold coins of Abd al-Malik Syria AD 696 – 697 BBC BM Madawi Al-Rasheed, Hugh Kennedy
100px 47 Sutton Hoo helmet England AD 600 – 700 BBC BM Seamus Heaney, Angus Wainwright
100px 48 Moche warrior pot Peru AD 100 – 700 BBC BM Grayson Perry, Steve Bourget
100px 49 Korean roof tile Korea AD 700 – 800 BBC BM Jane Portal, Choe Kwang Shik
125px 50 Silk princess painting China AD 600 – 800 BBC BM Yo Yo Ma, Colin Thubron

Inside the palace: secrets at court (AD 700 – 950)

"Neil MacGregor gets an insight into the lives of the ruling elites 1200 years ago."<ref name="programme"/> First broadcast week beginning 14 June 2010.

Image Number Object Origin Date BBC website BM website Additional contributors
100px 51 Yaxchilan Lintel 24, Maya relief of royal blood-letting Mexico AD 700 – 750 BBC BM Susie Orbach, Virginia Fields
100px 52 Harem wall painting fragments Iraq AD 800 – 900 BBC BM Robert Irwin, Amira Bennison
100px53 Lothair Crystal probably Germany AD 855 – 869 BBC BM Lord Bingham, Rosamund McKitterick
100px 54 Statue of Tara Salihundam, Sri Lanka AD 700 – 900 BBC BM Richard Gombrich, Nira Wickramasinghe
100px 55 Chinese Tang tomb figures China about AD 728 BBC BM Anthony Howard, Oliver Moore

Pilgrims, raiders and traders (AD 900 – 1300)

"How trade, war and religion moved objects around the globe 1000 years ago."<ref name="programme"/> First broadcast week beginning 21 June 2010.

Image Number Object Origin Date BBC website BM website Additional contributors
100px56 Vale of York Hoard England about AD 927 BBC BM Michael Wood, David and Andrew Whelan
100px57 Hedwig glass beaker probably Syria AD 1100 – 1200 BBC BM Jonathan Riley-Smith, David Abulafia
100px 58 Japanese bronze mirror Japan AD 1100 – 1200 BBC BM Ian Buruma, Harada Masayuki
100px 59 Borobudur Buddha head Java AD 780 – 840 BBC BM Stephen Bachelor, Nigel Barley
100px 60 Kilwa pot sherds Tanzania AD 900 – 1400 BBC BM Bertram Mapunda, Abdulrazek Gurnah

Status symbols (AD 1200 – 1400)

"Neil MacGregor examines objects which hold status and required skilful making."<ref name="programme"/> First broadcast week beginning 28 June 2010.

Image Number Object Origin Date BBC website BM website Additional contributors
100px 61 Lewis Chessmen probably made in Norway, found in Scotland AD 1150 – 1200 BBC BM Martin Amis, Miri Rubin
100px 62 Hebrew astrolabe Spain AD 1345 – 1355 BBC BM Sir John Elliott, Silke Ackermann
100px 63 Ife head Nigeria AD 1400 – 1500 BBC BM Ben Okri,Babatunde Lawal
100px 64 The David Vases China AD 1351 BBC BM Jenny Uglow, Craig Clunas
100px 65 Taino Ritual Seat Santa Domingo, Caribbean AD 1200 – 1500 BBC BM Jose Oliver, Gabriel Haslip-Viera

Meeting the gods (AD 1200 – 1400)

"Objects from the British Museum show how the faithful were brought closer to their gods."<ref name="programme"/> First broadcast week beginning 5 July 2010.

Image Number Object Origin Date BBC website BM website Additional contributors
100px 66 Holy Thorn Reliquary France AD 1350 – 1400 BBC BM Sister Benedicta Ward, Right Reverend Arthur Roche
100px 67 Icon of the Triumph of Orthodoxy Turkey AD 1350 – 1400 BBC BM Bill Viola, Diarmaid MacCulloch
100px 68 Shiva and Parvati sculpture India AD 1100 – 1300 BBC BM Shaunaka Rishi Das, Karen Armstrong
100px 69 Sculpture of Tlazolteotl Mexico AD 900 – 1521 BBC BM Marina Warner, Kim Richter
100px 70 Hoa Hakananai'a Easter Island AD 1000 – 1200 BBC BM Sir Anthony Caro

The threshold of the modern world (AD 1375–1550)

"Neil MacGregor explores the great empires of the world in the threshold of the modern era."<ref name="programme"/> First broadcast 13 September 2010.

Image Number Object Origin Date BBC website BM website Additional contributors
100px71 Tughra of Suleiman the Magnificent Turkey AD 1520-1566 BBC BM Caroline Finkel
100px 72 Ming banknote China AD 1375 BBC BM Mervyn King
100px 73 Inca gold llama Peru about AD 1500 BBC BM Jared Diamond
74 Jade dragon cup Central Asia about AD 1420-49 BBC BM
100px 75 Dürer's 'Rhinoceros' Germany AD 1515 BBC BM Felipe Fernandez-Armesto

The first global economy (AD 1450–1600)

"Neil MacGregor traces the impact of travel, trade and conquest from 1450 to 1600."<ref name="programme"/> First broadcast 20 September 2010.

Image Number Object Origin Date BBC website BM website Additional contributors
100px76 Mechanical Galleon Germany c. 1585 BBC BM Lisa Jardine Christopher Dobbs
100px 77 Benin plaque: the oba with Europeans Nigeria 16th century BBC BM
100px 78 Double-headed serpent Mexico 15th-16th century BBC BM
100px 79 Kakiemon elephants Japan late 17th century BBC BM
80 Pieces of eight from Spain, found in Bolivia AD 1589-1598 BBC BM

Tolerance and intolerance (AD 1550–1700)

"Neil MacGregor tells how the great religions lived together in the C16th and C17th."<ref name="programme"/> First broadcast 27 September 2010.

Image Number Object Origin Date BBC website BM website Additional contributors
81 Shi'a religious parade standard Iran Late 17th century BBC BM
100px82 Miniature of a Mughal prince India about AD 1610 BBC BM
83 Shadow puppet of Bima Java 1600-1800 BBC BM
100px 84 Mexican codex map Mexico Late 16th century BBC BM
100px85 Reformation centenary broadsheet Germany AD 1617 BBC BM

Exploration, exploitation and enlightenment (AD 1680–1820)

"Neil MacGregor on the misunderstandings that can happen when different worlds collide."<ref name="programme"/>

Image Number Object Origin Date BBC website BM website Additional contributors
100px86 Akan Drum from Africa, found in the USA 18th century BBC BM Bonnie Greer, Anthony Appiah
100px 87 Hawaiian feathered helmet Hawaii 18th century BBC BM
100px 88 North American buckskin map USA 1774-5 BBC BM
100px 89 Australian bark shield Australia 1770 BBC BM
90 Jade bi with poem China 1790 BBC BM

Mass production, mass persuasion (AD 1780–1914)

"How industrialisation, mass politics and imperial ambitions changed the world."<ref name="programme"/>

Image Number Object Origin Date BBC website BM website Additional contributors
100px 91 Ship's chronometer from HMS Beagle England 1795-1805 BBC BM
92 Early Victorian tea set England BBC BM
100px 93 Hokusai's 'The Great Wave' Japan c. 1829–32 BBC BM
100px 94 Sudanese slit drum Sudan BBC BM
95 Suffragette defaced penny England BBC BM

The world of our making (AD 1914–2010)

"Neil MacGregor explores aspects of sexual, political and economic history of recent times."<ref name="programme"/>

Image Number Object Origin Date BBC website BM website Additional contributors
96 Russian revolutionary plate by Mikhail Mikhailovich Adamovich Russia 1921 BBC BM
97 Hockney's In the dull village England 1966 BBC BM
100px 98 Throne of Weapons Mozambique BBC BM
99 Credit card United Arab Emirates BBC BM
100 Mystery object, to be revealed in autumn 2010 BBC




Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "A History of the World in 100 Objects" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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