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A History of the World in 100 Objects

A History of the World in 100 Objects

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A History of the World in 100 Objects was a joint project of BBC Radio 4
BBC Radio 4
BBC Radio 4 is a British domestic radio station, operated and owned by the BBC, that broadcasts a wide variety of spoken-word programmes, including news, drama, comedy, science and history. It replaced the BBC Home Service in 1967. The station controller is currently Gwyneth Williams, and the...

 and the British Museum
British Museum
The British Museum is a museum of human history and culture in London. Its collections, which number more than seven million objects, are amongst the largest and most comprehensive in the world and originate from all continents, illustrating and documenting the story of human culture from its...

, comprising a 100-part radio series written and presented by British Museum director Neil MacGregor
Neil MacGregor
Robert Neil MacGregor, OM, FSA is an art historian and museum director. He was the Editor of the Burlington Magazine from 1981 to 1987, the Director of the National Gallery, London, from 1987 to 2002, and was appointed Director of the British Museum in 2002...

. In 15-minute presentations broadcast on weekdays on Radio 4
BBC Radio 4
BBC Radio 4 is a British domestic radio station, operated and owned by the BBC, that broadcasts a wide variety of spoken-word programmes, including news, drama, comedy, science and history. It replaced the BBC Home Service in 1967. The station controller is currently Gwyneth Williams, and the...

, MacGregor used 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.
The series, four years in planning, began on 18 January 2010 and was broadcast over 20 weeks. A book to accompany the series, A History of the World in 100 Objects by Neil MacGregor, was published by Allen Lane on 28 October 2010. The entire series is also available for download along with an audio version of the book for purchase.
The British Museum won the 2011 Art Fund Prize for its role in hosting the project.

Content



The programme series, described as "a landmark project", is billed as 'A history of humanity' told through a hundred objects from all over the world in the British Museum's collection.

In these programmes, I'm travelling back in time, and across the globe, to see how we humans over 2 million years have shaped our world and been shaped by it, and I'm going to tell this story exclusively through the things that humans have made: all sorts of things, carefully designed, and then either admired and preserved, or used, broken and thrown away. I've chosen just a hundred objects from different points on our journey, from a cooking pot to a golden galleon, from a Stone Age tool to a credit card.


Telling history through things, whether it's an Egyptian mummy or a credit card, is what museums are for, and because the British Museum has collected things from all over the globe, it's not a bad place to try to tell a world history. Of course, it can only be "a" history of the world, not "the" history. When people come to the museum they choose their own objects and make their own journey round the world and through time, but I think what they will find is that their own histories quickly intersect with everybody elses, and when that happens, you no longer have a history of a particular people or nation, but a story of endless connections.


Accompanying the series is a website, described by The Guardian
The Guardian
The Guardian, formerly known as The Manchester Guardian , is a British national daily newspaper in the Berliner format...

as "even more ambitious [than the radio series itself] that encourages users to submit items of their own for a place in world history", along with much interactive content, detailed information on all the objects featured in the radio programmes and links to 350 other museum collections across the UK. The radio programmes will be available on the website permanently for listening or downloading.

The museum has adapted exhibitions for the series by including additional easily identifiable plaques for the 100 objects with text based on the programme and adding a section to the gallery maps showing the location and numbers of the 100 objects.

On 18 January 2010, an hour-long special of The Culture Show
The Culture Show
The Culture Show is a weekly BBC Two Arts magazine programme. It is broadcast in the UK on Thursday nights at 7pm, focusing on the best of the week's arts and culture news, covering books, art, film, architecture, music, visual fashion and the performing arts...

on BBC2 was dedicated to the launch of the project.

The first part of the series was broadcast on weekdays over six weeks between 18 January and 26 February 2010. After a short break, the series returned with the seventh week being broadcast in the week beginning 17 May 2010. It then took another break in the middle of July and returned on 13 September 2010, running til the 100th object was featured on Friday 22 October 2010.

Reception


Maev Kennedy
Maev Kennedy
Maev Kennedy is a staff news writer for The Guardian and writes regularly for the Museums Journal. At the Guardian she has edited the diary column and also been the arts and heritage correspondent, and also writes on archaeology....

 of The Guardian
The Guardian
The Guardian, formerly known as The Manchester Guardian , is a British national daily newspaper in the Berliner format...

described the programme as "a broadcasting phenomenon", while Tim Davie, head of music and audio at BBC radio, commented that "the results have been nothing short of stunning", exceeding the BBC's wildest hopes for the programme. At the time of the writing of Kennedy's article, just before the start of the last week of the series, the radio broadcasts regularly had up to four million listeners, while the podcast downloads had totalled 10,441,884. Of these, just over half, 5.7 million, were from the UK. In addition, members of the public had uploaded 3,240 objects, and other museums a further 1,610, and 531 museums and heritage sites across the UK had been mounting linked events – an unprecedented partnership, MacGregor said. Museums all over the world are now copying the formula, as thousands of visitors every day set out to explore the British Museum galleries equipped with the leaflet mapping the objects.

Writing in The Independent
The Independent
The Independent is a British national morning newspaper published in London by Independent Print Limited, owned by Alexander Lebedev since 2010. It is nicknamed the Indy, while the Sunday edition, The Independent on Sunday, is the Sindy. Launched in 1986, it is one of the youngest UK national daily...

, Philip Hensher
Philip Hensher
Philip Michael Hensher FRSL is an English novelist, critic and journalist.Hensher was born in South London, although he spent the majority of his childhood and adolescence in Sheffield, attending Tapton School. He did his undergraduate degree at Lady Margaret Hall, Oxford before attending...

 described the series as "perfect radio", saying "Has there ever been a more exciting, more unfailingly interesting radio series than the Radio 4/British Museum venture, A History of the World in 100 Objects? It is such a beautifully simple idea, to trace human civilisations through the objects that happen to have survived. Each programme, just 15 minutes long, focuses on just one thing, quite patiently, without dawdling. At the end, you feel that you have learnt something, and learnt it with pleasure and interest. For years to come, the BBC will be able to point to this wonderful series as an example of the things that it does best. It fulfils, to a degree that one thought hardly possible any more, the BBC's Reithian agenda of improvement and the propagation of learning and culture."

Dominic Sandbrook
Dominic Sandbrook
Dominic Sandbrook http://dominicsandbrook.com/wordpress/about/ is a British historian. Born in Bridgnorth, Shropshire, he was educated at Malvern College...

 in The Telegraph
The Daily Telegraph
The Daily Telegraph is a daily morning broadsheet newspaper distributed throughout the United Kingdom and internationally. The newspaper was founded by Arthur B...

said that the "joyously highbrow" series "deserves to take its place alongside television classics such as Kenneth Clark
Kenneth Clark
Kenneth McKenzie Clark, Baron Clark, OM, CH, KCB, FBA was a British author, museum director, broadcaster, and one of the best-known art historians of his generation...

's Civilisation and Jacob Bronowski
Jacob Bronowski
Jacob Bronowski was a Polish-Jewish British mathematician, biologist, historian of science, theatre author, poet and inventor...

's The Ascent of Man
The Ascent of Man
The Ascent of Man is a thirteen-part documentary television series produced by the BBC and Time-Life Films first transmitted in 1973, written and presented by Jacob Bronowski...

."

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
1 Mummy
Mummy
A mummy is a body, human or animal, whose skin and organs have been preserved by either intentional or incidental exposure to chemicals, extreme coldness , very low humidity, or lack of air when bodies are submerged in bogs, so that the recovered body will not decay further if kept in cool and dry...

 of Hornedjitef
Hornedjitef
Hornedjitef was an Ancient Egyptian priest in the Temple of Amun at Karnak during the reign of Ptolemy III . He is known from his elaborate coffins, mummy mask and mummy, dating from the Early Ptolemaic Period and excavated from Asasif, Thebes, Egypt, which are all held in the British Museum...

 
Egypt
Egypt
Egypt , officially the Arab Republic of Egypt, Arabic: , is a country mainly in North Africa, with the Sinai Peninsula forming a land bridge in Southwest Asia. Egypt is thus a transcontinental country, and a major power in Africa, the Mediterranean Basin, the Middle East and the Muslim world...

 
300 – 200 BC BBC BM, BM, BM Amartya Sen
Amartya Sen
Amartya Sen, CH is an Indian economist who was awarded the 1998 Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences for his contributions to welfare economics and social choice theory, and for his interest in the problems of society's poorest members...

, John Taylor
2 Stone (basalt
Basalt
Basalt is a common extrusive volcanic rock. It is usually grey to black and fine-grained due to rapid cooling of lava at the surface of a planet. It may be porphyritic containing larger crystals in a fine matrix, or vesicular, or frothy scoria. Unweathered basalt is black or grey...

) chopping tool
Olduvai Gorge
Olduvai Gorge
The Olduvai Gorge is a steep-sided ravine in the Great Rift Valley that stretches through eastern Africa. It is in the eastern Serengeti Plains in northern Tanzania and is about long. It is located 45 km from the Laetoli archaeological site...

, Tanzania
Tanzania
The United Republic of Tanzania is a country in East Africa bordered by Kenya and Uganda to the north, Rwanda, Burundi, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo to the west, and Zambia, Malawi, and Mozambique to the south. The country's eastern borders lie on the Indian Ocean.Tanzania is a state...

 
1.8 – 2 million years old BBC BM Sir David Attenborough
David Attenborough
Sir David Frederick Attenborough OM, CH, CVO, CBE, FRS, FZS, FSA is a British broadcaster and naturalist. His career as the face and voice of natural history programmes has endured for more than 50 years...

, Wangari Maathai
Wangari Maathai
Wangari Muta Mary Jo Maathai was a Kenyan environmental and political activist. She was educated in the United States at Mount St. Scholastica and the University of Pittsburgh, as well as the University of Nairobi in Kenya...

3 Hand axe
Hand axe
A hand axe is a bifacial Stone tool typical of the lower and middle Palaeolithic , and is the longest-used tool of human history.-Distribution:...

 
Olduvai Gorge, Tanzania 1.2 – 1.4 million years old BBC BM Sir James Dyson
James Dyson
Sir James Dyson is a British industrial designer and founder of the Dyson company.He is best known as the inventor of the Dual Cyclone bagless vacuum cleaner, which works on the principle of cyclonic separation. His net worth in 2011 was said to be £1.45 billion.-Early life:Dyson was born in...

, Phil Harding
Phil Harding (archaeologist)
Philip Harding is a British field archaeologist. He has become a familiar face on the Channel 4 television series Time Team...

, Nick Ashton
4 Swimming Reindeer
Swimming Reindeer
The Swimming Reindeer is the name given to a 13,000 year old sculpture of two swimming reindeer conserved in the British Museum. The sculpture was made in France by carving the tip of a mammoth tusk...

 from Montastruc
Montastruc, Tarn-et-Garonne
Montastruc is a commune in the Tarn-et-Garonne department in the Midi-Pyrénées region in southern France.Montrastruc is the site of a rock shelter in which prehistoric remains have been found...

 rock shelter
Rock shelter
A rock shelter is a shallow cave-like opening at the base of a bluff or cliff....

 
France
France
The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...

 
13,000 years old BBC BM The Most Reverend Rowan Williams
Rowan Williams
Rowan Douglas Williams FRSL, FBA, FLSW is an Anglican bishop, poet and theologian. He is the 104th and current Archbishop of Canterbury, Metropolitan of the Province of Canterbury and Primate of All England, offices he has held since early 2003.Williams was previously Bishop of Monmouth and...

, Steve Mithen
5 Clovis spear point
Clovis point
Clovis points are the characteristically-fluted projectile points associated with the North American Clovis culture. They date to the Paleoindian period around 13,500 years ago. Clovis fluted points are named after the city of Clovis, New Mexico, where examples were first found in 1929.At the right...

 
Arizona
Arizona
Arizona ; is a state located in the southwestern region of the United States. It is also part of the western United States and the mountain west. The capital and largest city is Phoenix...

, USA
13,000 years old BBC BM Michael Palin
Michael Palin
Michael Edward Palin, CBE FRGS is an English comedian, actor, writer and television presenter best known for being one of the members of the comedy group Monty Python and for his travel documentaries....

, 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
6 Bird-shaped pestle  Papua New Guinea
Papua New Guinea
Papua New Guinea , officially the Independent State of Papua New Guinea, is a country in Oceania, occupying the eastern half of the island of New Guinea and numerous offshore islands...

 
4,000 – 8,000 years old BBC BM Madhur Jaffrey
Madhur Jaffrey
Madhur Jaffrey is an Indian actress and food writer who introduced the Western world to the many cuisines of India.- Personal life :...

, Bob Geldof
Bob Geldof
Robert Frederick Zenon "Bob" Geldof, KBE is an Irish singer, songwriter, author, occasional actor and political activist. He rose to prominence as the lead singer of the Irish rock band The Boomtown Rats in the late 1970s and early 1980s alongside the punk rock movement. The band had hits with his...

, Martin Jones
7 Ain Sakhri lovers
Ain Sakhri lovers
The Ain Sakhri lovers figurine is a sculpture that was found in one of the Ain Sakhri caves near Bethlehem. The sculpture is considered to be 11,000 years old and to be the oldest known representation of two people engaged in sexual intercourse.-Discovery:...

 
Judea
Judea
Judea or Judæa was the name of the mountainous southern part of the historic Land of Israel from the 8th century BCE to the 2nd century CE, when Roman Judea was renamed Syria Palaestina following the Jewish Bar Kokhba revolt.-Etymology:The...

 
about 11,000 years old BBC BM Marc Quinn
Marc Quinn
Marc Quinn is a British artist and part of the group known as Britartists or YBAs . He is known for Alison Lapper Pregnant , Self , and Garden .He is one of the Young British...

, Ian Hodder
Ian Hodder
Ian Hodder FBA is a British archaeologist and pioneer of postprocessualist theory in archaeology that first took root among his students and in his own work between 1980-1990...

8 Clay model of cattle
El-Amra clay model of cattle
The El-Amra clay model of cattle is a small ceramic sculpture dating from the Predynastic, Naqada I period in Ancient Egypt, at around 3500 BC. It is one of several models found in graves at el-Amra in Egypt, and is now in the British Museum in London. The model is 8.2 centimetres high, 24.2 cm...

 
Egypt about 3500 BC BBC BM Fekri Hassan, Martin Jones
Martin Jones
Martin Jones is an English concert pianist. He studied at the Royal Academy of Music in London under Guido Agosti, Guy Jonson, and Gordon Green. He has been highly regarded since debuting in the international arena when he won the Dame Myra Hess award in 1968.-Career:His London debut was at the...

9 Maya
Maya civilization
The Maya is a Mesoamerican civilization, noted for the only known fully developed written language of the pre-Columbian Americas, as well as for its art, architecture, and mathematical and astronomical systems. Initially established during the Pre-Classic period The Maya is a Mesoamerican...

 maize god
Maya maize god
Like other Mesoamerican peoples, the traditional Mayas recognize in their staple crop, the maize, a vital force with which they strongly identify. This is clearly shown by their mythological traditions. According to the 16th-century Popol Vuh, the Hero Twins have maize plants for alter egos and man...

 statue
Honduras
Honduras
Honduras is a republic in Central America. It was previously known as Spanish Honduras to differentiate it from British Honduras, which became the modern-day state of Belize...

 
AD 715 BBC BM Santiago Calva, John Staller
10 Jomon
Jomon Pottery
The is a type of ancient pottery which was made during the Jōmon period in Japan. The term "Jōmon" means "rope-patterned" in Japanese, describing the patterns that are pressed into the clay.- Oldest Pottery in the World :...

 pot
Japan
Japan
Japan is an island nation in East Asia. Located in the Pacific Ocean, it lies to the east of the Sea of Japan, China, North Korea, South Korea and Russia, stretching from the Sea of Okhotsk in the north to the East China Sea and Taiwan in the south...

 
about 5000 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." First broadcast week beginning 1 February 2010.
Image Number Object Origin Date BBC website BM website Additional contributors
11 King Den
Den (Pharaoh)
Den, also known as Hor-Den, Dewen and Udimu, is the Horus name of an early Egyptian king who ruled during the 1st dynasty. He is the best archaeologically attested ruler of this period. Den is said to have brought prosperity to his realm and numerous innovations are attributed to his reign...

's sandal label
Egypt
Egypt
Egypt , officially the Arab Republic of Egypt, Arabic: , is a country mainly in North Africa, with the Sinai Peninsula forming a land bridge in Southwest Asia. Egypt is thus a transcontinental country, and a major power in Africa, the Mediterranean Basin, the Middle East and the Muslim world...

 
about 2,985 BC BBC BM Toby Wilkinson
Toby Wilkinson
Toby A. H. Wilkinson is an English Egyptologist. He is a Fellow of Clare College, Cambridge, and an Honorary Research Fellow in the Department of Archaeology, University of Durham.-Selected works:...

, Steve Bell
Steve Bell (cartoonist)
Steve Bell is an English political cartoonist, whose work appears in The Guardian and other publications. He is known for his left-wing views and distinctive caricatures.-Early life:...

12 Standard of Ur
Standard of Ur
The Standard of Ur is a Sumerian artifact excavated from what had been the Royal Cemetery in the ancient city of Ur .-History:...

 
Iraq
Iraq
Iraq ; officially the Republic of Iraq is a country in Western Asia spanning most of the northwestern end of the Zagros mountain range, the eastern part of the Syrian Desert and the northern part of the Arabian Desert....

 
2600 – 2400 BC BBC BM Lamia al Gailani, Anthony Giddens
Anthony Giddens
Anthony Giddens, Baron Giddens is a British sociologist who is known for his theory of structuration and his holistic view of modern societies. He is considered to be one of the most prominent modern contributors in the field of sociology, the author of at least 34 books, published in at least 29...

13 An Indus seal
Indus script
The term Indus script refers to short strings of symbols associated with the Indus Valley Civilization, in use during the Early Harappan and Mature Harappan period, between the 35th and 20th centuries BC. In spite of many attempts at decipherments and claims, it is as yet undeciphered...

 
Pakistan
Pakistan
Pakistan , officially the Islamic Republic of Pakistan is a sovereign state in South Asia. It has a coastline along the Arabian Sea and the Gulf of Oman in the south and is bordered by Afghanistan and Iran in the west, India in the east and China in the far northeast. In the north, Tajikistan...

 
4000 – 2000 BC BBC BM Richard Rogers
Richard Rogers
Richard George Rogers, Baron Rogers of Riverside CH Kt FRIBA FCSD is a British architect noted for his modernist and functionalist designs....

, Nayanjot Lahiri
14 Jadeite
Jadeite
Jadeite is a pyroxene mineral with composition NaAlSi2O6. It is monoclinic. It has a Mohs hardness of about 6.5 to 7.0 depending on the composition. The mineral is dense, with a specific gravity of about 3.4. Jadeite forms solid solutions with other pyroxene endmembers such as augite and diopside ,...

 axe
from the Alps
Alps
The Alps is one of the great mountain range systems of Europe, stretching from Austria and Slovenia in the east through Italy, Switzerland, Liechtenstein and Germany to France in the west....

, found in England
4000 – 2000 BC BBC BM Mark Edmonds, Pierre Petrequin
15 Early writing tablet
Cuneiform
Cuneiform can refer to:*Cuneiform script, an ancient writing system originating in Mesopotamia in the 4th millennium BC*Cuneiform , three bones in the human foot*Cuneiform Records, a music record label...

 
Iraq 3100 – 3000 BC BBC BM Gus O'Donnell
Gus O'Donnell
Sir Augustine Thomas "Gus" O'Donnell GCB is a British civil servant, who is the current Cabinet Secretary, the highest rank in the British Civil Service. He is consequently, under current practice, Head of the Civil Service, which means he has authority over all civil servants except those who are...

, John Searle
John Searle
John Rogers Searle is an American philosopher and currently the Slusser Professor of Philosophy at the University of California, Berkeley.-Biography:...


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


"4,000 years ago, societies began to express themselves through myth, maths and monuments." First broadcast week beginning 8 February 2010.
Image Number Object Origin Date BBC website BM website Additional contributors
16 Flood tablet
Gilgamesh flood myth
The Gilgamesh flood myth is a deluge story in the Epic of Gilgamesh. Many scholars believe that the flood myth was added to Tablet XI in the "standard version" of the Gilgamesh Epic by an editor who utilized the flood story from the Epic of Atrahasis...

 
Iraq
Iraq
Iraq ; officially the Republic of Iraq is a country in Western Asia spanning most of the northwestern end of the Zagros mountain range, the eastern part of the Syrian Desert and the northern part of the Arabian Desert....

 
700 – 600 BC BBC BM David Damrosch, Jonathan Sacks
Jonathan Sacks
Jonathan Henry Sacks, Baron Sacks, Kt is the Chief Rabbi of the United Hebrew Congregations of the Commonwealth. His Hebrew name is Yaakov Zvi...

17 Rhind Mathematical Papyrus
Rhind Mathematical Papyrus
The Rhind Mathematical Papyrus , is named after Alexander Henry Rhind, a Scottish antiquarian, who purchased the papyrus in 1858 in Luxor, Egypt; it was apparently found during illegal excavations in or near the Ramesseum. It dates to around 1650 BC...

 
Egypt about 1550 BC BBC BM Eleanor Robson
Eleanor Robson
Eleanor Robson is a Reader in History and Philosophy of Science at the Department of History and Philosophy of Science, Cambridge University, vice-chair of the British School of Archaeology in Iraq and a Quondam Fellow of All Souls College, Oxford....

, Clive Rix
18 Minoan Bull-leaper  Crete
Crete
Crete is the largest and most populous of the Greek islands, the fifth largest island in the Mediterranean Sea, and one of the thirteen administrative regions of Greece. It forms a significant part of the economy and cultural heritage of Greece while retaining its own local cultural traits...

 
1700–1450 BC BBC BM Sergio Delgado, Lucy Blue
19 Mold gold cape
Mold cape
The Mold Cape is a solid sheet-gold object dating from about 1900-1600 BC in the European Bronze Age. It was found at Mold in Flintshire, Wales, in 1833.The cape is thought to have formed part of a ceremonial dress, perhaps with religious connections...

 
Wales 1900–1600 BC BBC BM Mary Cahill, Marie Louise Sørensen
20 Statue
Younger Memnon
The Younger Memnon statue is one of two colossal granite heads from the Ancient Egyptian mortuary temple called the Ramesseum at Thebes, depicting the pharaoh Ramesses II wearing the nemes head-dress with a cobra diadem on top. This incomplete statue has lost its body and lower legs; it is one of a...

 of Ramesses II
Ramesses II
Ramesses II , referred to as Ramesses the Great, was the third Egyptian pharaoh of the Nineteenth dynasty. He is often regarded as the greatest, most celebrated, and most powerful pharaoh of the Egyptian Empire...

 
Egypt about 1,250 BC BBC BM Antony Gormley
Antony Gormley
Antony Mark David Gormley OBE RA is a British sculptor. His best known works include the Angel of the North, a public sculpture in the North of England, commissioned in 1995 and erected in February 1998, Another Place on Crosby Beach near Liverpool, and Event Horizon, a multi-part site...

, Karen Exell

Old world, new powers (1100–300 BC)


"Across the world new regimes create objects to assert their supremacy." First broadcast week beginning 15 February 2010.
Image Number Object Origin Date BBC website BM website Additional contributors
21 Lachish
Lachish
Lachish was an ancient Near East town located at the site of modern Tell ed-Duweir in the Shephelah, a region between Mount Hebron and the maritime plain of Philistia . The town was first mentioned in the Amarna letters as Lakisha-Lakiša...

 Reliefs
Iraq 700 – 692 BC BBC BM Paddy Ashdown
Paddy Ashdown
Jeremy John Durham Ashdown, Baron Ashdown of Norton-sub-Hamdon, GCMG, KBE, PC , usually known as Paddy Ashdown, is a British politician and diplomat....

, Antony Beevor
Antony Beevor
Antony James Beevor, FRSL is a British historian, educated at Winchester College and Sandhurst. He studied under the famous military historian John Keegan. Beevor is a former officer with the 11th Hussars who served in England and Germany for five years before resigning his commission...

22 Sphinx
Sphinx of Taharqo
The Sphinx of Taharqo is a granite gneiss statue of a sphinx with the face of Taharqo, a Nubian pharaoh who was one of the Twenty-fifth Dynasty rulers of Kush who also dominated Ancient Egypt...

 of Taharqa
Taharqa
Taharqa was a pharaoh of the Ancient Egyptian 25th dynasty and king of the Kingdom of Kush, which was located in Northern Sudan.Taharqa was the son of Piye, the Nubian king of Napata who had first conquered Egypt. Taharqa was also the cousin and successor of Shebitku. The successful campaigns of...

 
Sudan
Sudan
Sudan , officially the Republic of the Sudan , is a country in North Africa, sometimes considered part of the Middle East politically. It is bordered by Egypt to the north, the Red Sea to the northeast, Eritrea and Ethiopia to the east, South Sudan to the south, the Central African Republic to the...

 
about 680 BC BBC BM Zeinab Badawi
Zeinab Badawi
Zeinab Badawi is a Sudanese-British television and radio journalist. She was the first presenter of the ITV Morning News , and co-presented Channel 4 News with Jon Snow , before joining BBC News. Badawi is currently the presenter of World News Today broadcast on both BBC Four and BBC World News...

, Derek Welsby
23 Chinese Zhou
Zhou Dynasty
The Zhou Dynasty was a Chinese dynasty that followed the Shang Dynasty and preceded the Qin Dynasty. Although the Zhou Dynasty lasted longer than any other dynasty in Chinese history, the actual political and military control of China by the Ji family lasted only until 771 BC, a period known as...

 ritual vessel
China 1100–1000 BC BBC BM Dame Jessica Rawson
Jessica Rawson
Jessica Rawson, DBE, FBA is an English art historian, curator and academic administrator, specializing in Chinese art. After many years at the British Museum, she was Warden of Merton College, Oxford, from 1994 until her retirement in 2010...

, Wang Tao
24 Paracas Textile Peru
Peru
Peru , officially the Republic of Peru , is a country in western South America. It is bordered on the north by Ecuador and Colombia, on the east by Brazil, on the southeast by Bolivia, on the south by Chile, and on the west by the Pacific Ocean....

 
300–200 BC BBC BM Zandra Rhodes
Zandra Rhodes
Zandra Rhodes, CBE, RDI, is an English fashion designer.Zandra Rhodes was introduced to the world of fashion by her mother, who was a fitter in a Paris fashion house and a teacher at Medway College of Art, now the University for the Creative Arts. Rhodes studied first at Medway and then at the...

, Mary Frame
25 Gold coin of Croesus
Croesus
Croesus was the king of Lydia from 560 to 547 BC until his defeat by the Persians. The fall of Croesus made a profound impact on the Hellenes, providing a fixed point in their calendar. "By the fifth century at least," J.A.S...

 
Turkey
Turkey
Turkey , known officially as the Republic of Turkey , is a Eurasian country located in Western Asia and in East Thrace in Southeastern Europe...

 
c. 550 BC BBC BM James Buchan
James Buchan
James Buchan, born 11 June 1954, is a British novelist and journalist.-Biography:Buchan is the son of William Buchan, 3rd Baron Tweedsmuir and grandson of John Buchan, the Scottish novelist and diplomat. He was educated at Eton and Magdalen College, Oxford, and began his career as a Financial...

, 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?" First broadcast week beginning 22 February 2010.
Image Number Object Origin Date BBC website BM website Additional contributors
26 Oxus
Amu Darya
The Amu Darya , also called Oxus and Amu River, is a major river in Central Asia. It is formed by the junction of the Vakhsh and Panj rivers...

 chariot
Chariot
The chariot is a type of horse carriage used in both peace and war as the chief vehicle of many ancient peoples. Ox carts, proto-chariots, were built by the Proto-Indo-Europeans and also built in Mesopotamia as early as 3000 BC. The original horse chariot was a fast, light, open, two wheeled...

 model
Tajikistan
Tajikistan
Tajikistan , officially the Republic of Tajikistan , is a mountainous landlocked country in Central Asia. Afghanistan borders it to the south, Uzbekistan to the west, Kyrgyzstan to the north, and China to the east....

 
500–300 BC BBC BM Michael Axworthy
Michael Axworthy
Michael Axworthy is a British academic, author, commentator and was the head of the Iran section at the British Foreign & Commonwealth Office between 1998-2000....

, Tom Holland
Tom Holland (author)
-Biography:Holland was born near Oxford and brought up in the village of Broadchalke near Salisbury, England. His younger brother is the historian and novelist James Holland...

27 Parthenon
Parthenon
The Parthenon is a temple on the Athenian Acropolis, Greece, dedicated to the Greek goddess Athena, whom the people of Athens considered their virgin patron. Its construction began in 447 BC when the Athenian Empire was at the height of its power. It was completed in 438 BC, although...

 sculpture: Centaur and Lapith
Elgin Marbles
The Parthenon Marbles, forming a part of the collection known as the Elgin Marbles , are a collection of classical Greek marble sculptures , inscriptions and architectural members that originally were part of the Parthenon and other buildings on the Acropolis of Athens...

 
Greece
Greece
Greece , officially the Hellenic Republic , and historically Hellas or the Republic of Greece in English, is a country in southeastern Europe....

 
about 440 BC BBC BM Mary Beard
Mary Beard (classicist)
Winifred Mary Beard is Professor of Classics at the University of Cambridge and a fellow of Newnham College. She is the Classics editor of the Times Literary Supplement, and author of the blog "", which appears in The Times as a regular column...

, Olga Palagia
28 Basse Yutz
Yutz
Yutz is a commune in the Moselle department in Lorraine in north-eastern France. It was created in 1971 by merging the old communes of Basse-Yutz and Haute-Yutz....

 flagon
Flagon
A flagon is a large leather, metal or ceramic vessel, commonly a pitcher, often used for drink, whether this be water, ale, or something else.-Christian use:...

s
France c. 450 BC BBC BM Jonathan Meades
Jonathan Meades
Jonathan Turner Meades is a British writer on food, architecture, and culture, as well as an author and broadcaster. He is an Honorary Associate of the National Secular Society and a Distinguished Supporter of the British Humanist Association.-Education:Meades was born in Salisbury Wiltshire, and...

, Barry Cunliffe
Barry Cunliffe
Sir Barrington Windsor Cunliffe, CBE, known professionally as Barry Cunliffe is a former Professor of European Archaeology at the University of Oxford, a position held from 1972 to 2007...

29 Olmec
Olmec
The Olmec were the first major Pre-Columbian civilization in Mexico. They lived in the tropical lowlands of south-central Mexico, in the modern-day states of Veracruz and Tabasco....

 stone mask
Mask
A mask is an article normally worn on the face, typically for protection, disguise, performance or entertainment. Masks have been used since antiquity for both ceremonial and practical purposes...

 
Mexico
Mexico
The United Mexican States , commonly known as Mexico , is a federal constitutional republic in North America. It is bordered on the north by the United States; on the south and west by the Pacific Ocean; on the southeast by Guatemala, Belize, and the Caribbean Sea; and on the east by the Gulf of...

 
900–400 BC BBC BM Carlos Fuentes
Carlos Fuentes
Carlos Fuentes Macías is a Mexican writer and one of the best-known living novelists and essayists in the Spanish-speaking world. He has influenced contemporary Latin American literature, and his works have been widely translated into English and other languages.-Biography:Fuentes was born in...

, Karl Taube
Karl Taube
Karl Andreas Taube   is an American Mesoamericanist, archaeologist, epigrapher and ethnohistorian, known for his publications and research into the pre-Columbian cultures of Mesoamerica and the American Southwest. he holds a position as Professor of Anthropology at the College of Humanities,...

30 Chinese bronze
Bronze
Bronze is a metal alloy consisting primarily of copper, usually with tin as the main additive. It is hard and brittle, and it was particularly significant in antiquity, so much so that the Bronze Age was named after the metal...

 bell
Bell (instrument)
A bell is a simple sound-making device. The bell is a percussion instrument and an idiophone. Its form is usually a hollow, cup-shaped object, which resonates upon being struck...

 
China 500–400 BC BBC BM Dame Evelyn Glennie
Evelyn Glennie
Dame Evelyn Elizabeth Ann Glennie, DBE is a Scottish virtuoso percussionist. She was the first full-time solo percussionist in 20th-century western society.-Early life:Glennie was born and raised in Aberdeenshire...

, Isabel Hilton
Isabel Hilton
Isabel Nancy Hilton OBE is a Scottish journalist and broadcaster based in London.-Biography:She was educated at Edinburgh University where she studied Chinese to post-graduate level...


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
31 Coin of Lysimachus
Lysimachus
Lysimachus was a Macedonian officer and diadochus of Alexander the Great, who became a basileus in 306 BC, ruling Thrace, Asia Minor and Macedon.-Early Life & Career:...

 with head of Alexander 
Turkey 305 – 281 BC BBC BM Andrew Marr
Andrew Marr
Andrew William Stevenson Marr is a Scottish journalist and political commentator. He edited The Independent for two years until May 1998, and was political editor of BBC News from 2000 until 2005....

, Robin Lane Fox
Robin Lane Fox
Robin Lane Fox is an English historian, currently a Fellow of New College, Oxford and University of Oxford Reader in Ancient History.-Life:Lane Fox was educated at Eton and Magdalen College, Oxford....

32 Pillar
Pillars of Ashoka
The pillars of Ashoka are a series of columns dispersed throughout the northern Indian subcontinent, erected or at least inscribed by the Mauryan king Ashoka during his reign in the 3rd century BCE. Originally, there must have been many pillars but only nineteen survive with inscriptions. Many are...

 of Ashoka
Ashoka
Ashok Maurya or Ashoka , popularly known as Ashoka the Great, was an Indian emperor of the Maurya Dynasty who ruled almost all of the Indian subcontinent from ca. 269 BC to 232 BC. One of India's greatest emperors, Ashoka reigned over most of present-day India after a number of military conquests...

 
India about 238 BC BBC BM Amartya Sen
Amartya Sen
Amartya Sen, CH is an Indian economist who was awarded the 1998 Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences for his contributions to welfare economics and social choice theory, and for his interest in the problems of society's poorest members...

, Michael Rutland
33 The Rosetta Stone
Rosetta Stone
The Rosetta Stone is an ancient Egyptian granodiorite stele inscribed with a decree issued at Memphis in 196 BC on behalf of King Ptolemy V. The decree appears in three scripts: the upper text is Ancient Egyptian hieroglyphs, the middle portion Demotic script, and the lowest Ancient Greek...

 
Egypt 196 BC BBC BM Dorothy Thompson
Dorothy Thompson (historian)
Dorothy Katharine Gane Thompson was a social historian, a leading expert on the Chartist movement. She entered Girton College, Cambridge, in 1942. During the war, her work as an industrial draughtswoman for Royal Dutch Shell interrupted her formal education...

, Ahdaf Soueif
Ahdaf Soueif
Ahdaf Soueif is an Anglo-Egyptian novelist and political and cultural commentator.-Life and career:Soueif was born in Cairo and educated in Egypt and England...

34 Chinese Han
Han Dynasty
The Han Dynasty was the second imperial dynasty of China, preceded by the Qin Dynasty and succeeded by the Three Kingdoms . It was founded by the rebel leader Liu Bang, known posthumously as Emperor Gaozu of Han. It was briefly interrupted by the Xin Dynasty of the former regent Wang Mang...

 lacquer
Lacquer
In a general sense, lacquer is a somewhat imprecise term for a clear or coloured varnish that dries by solvent evaporation and often a curing process as well that produces a hard, durable finish, in any sheen level from ultra matte to high gloss and that can be further polished as required...

 cup
China AD 4 BBC BM Roel Sterckx
Roel Sterckx
Roel Sterckx is the Joseph Needham Professor of Chinese History, Science, and Civilization in the University of Cambridge and a Fellow of Clare College. Sterckx was a pupil at Sint-Jan Berchmanscollege Mol and was educated at the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, National Taiwan University,...

, Isabel Hilton
Isabel Hilton
Isabel Nancy Hilton OBE is a Scottish journalist and broadcaster based in London.-Biography:She was educated at Edinburgh University where she studied Chinese to post-graduate level...

35 Head of Augustus
Augustus
Augustus ;23 September 63 BC – 19 August AD 14) is considered the first emperor of the Roman Empire, which he ruled alone from 27 BC until his death in 14 AD.The dates of his rule are contemporary dates; Augustus lived under two calendars, the Roman Republican until 45 BC, and the Julian...

 
Sudan 27 – 25 BC BBC BM Boris Johnson
Boris Johnson
Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson is a British journalist and Conservative Party politician, who has been the elected Mayor of London since 2008...

, Susan Walker

Ancient pleasures, modern spice (AD 1 – 600)


"Neil MacGregor explores the ways in which people sought pleasure 2,000 years ago." First broadcast week beginning 24 May 2010.
Image Number Object Origin Date BBC website BM website Additional contributors
36 The Warren Cup
Warren Cup
The Warren Cup is an ancient Roman silver drinking cup decorated in relief with two images of homosexual acts. The cup is named after its first modern owner, the collector and writer Edward Perry Warren, and was acquired by the British Museum in 1999...

 
near Jerusalem  AD 5 – 15 BBC BM Bettany Hughes
Bettany Hughes
Bettany Hughes is an English academic historian, author and broadcaster.Hughes' father is the actor Peter Hughes and her brother is the cricketer and journalist Simon Hughes...

, James Davidson
37 North American otter pipe  USA 200 BC – AD 100 BBC BM Tony Benn
Tony Benn
Anthony Neil Wedgwood "Tony" Benn, PC is a British Labour Party politician and a former MP and Cabinet Minister.His successful campaign to renounce his hereditary peerage was instrumental in the creation of the Peerage Act 1963...

, Gabrielle Tayac
38 Ceremonial ballgame
Mesoamerican ballgame
The Mesoamerican ballgame or Tlatchtli in Náhuatl was a sport with ritual associations played since 1,000 B.C. by the pre-Columbian peoples of Ancient Mexico and Central America...

 belt
Mexico AD 100 – 500 BBC BM Nick Hornby
Nick Hornby
Nick Hornby is an English novelist, essayist and screenwriter. He is best known for the novels High Fidelity, About a Boy, and for the football memoir Fever Pitch. His work frequently touches upon music, sport, and the aimless and obsessive natures of his protagonists.-Life and career:Hornby was...

, Michael Whittington
39 Admonitions Scroll
Admonitions Scroll
The Admonitions Scroll is a Chinese narrative painting on silk that is traditionally ascribed to Gu Kaizhi , but which modern scholarship regards as a 5th to 8th century work that may or may not be a copy of an original Jin Dynasty court painting by Gu Kaizhi. The full title of the painting is...

 
China AD 500 – 800 BBC BM Shane McCausland, Charles Powell
40 Hoxne pepper pot
Empress pepper pot
The Hoxne hoard pepper pot, commonly known as the Empress pepper pot, although it now seems not to represent an empress, is a silver piperatorium, partially gilded, dating from around 400 AD. It was found as part of the Hoxne Hoard in Hoxne, Suffolk, in November 1992, and is now in the British...

 
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." First broadcast week beginning 31 May 2010.
Image Number Object Origin Date BBC website BM website Additional contributors
41 Seated Buddha from Gandhara
Seated Buddha from Gandhara
The Seated Buddha from Gandhara is an early statue of the Buddha made in Gandhara, in modern Pakistan, in the 2nd or 3rd century. It is now in room 33 of the British Museum. Statues of the "enlightened one" were not made until the 1st century AD, before that Buddha was represented by aniconic...

 
Pakistan
Pakistan
Pakistan , officially the Islamic Republic of Pakistan is a sovereign state in South Asia. It has a coastline along the Arabian Sea and the Gulf of Oman in the south and is bordered by Afghanistan and Iran in the west, India in the east and China in the far northeast. In the north, Tajikistan...

 
AD 100 – 300 BBC BM Claudine Bautze-Picron, Thupten Jinpa
42 Gold coin of Kumaragupta I  India AD 415 – 450 BBC BM Romila Thapar
Romila Thapar
Romila Thapar is an Indian historian whose principal area of study is ancient India.-Work:After graduating from Panjab University, Thapar earned her doctorate under A. L. Basham at the School of Oriental and African Studies, the University of London in 1958...

, Shaunaka Rishi Das
Shaunaka Rishi Das
Shaunaka Rishi Das is the Director of the Oxford Centre for Hindu Studies , a position he has held since the Centre's foundation in 1997. He is a Hindu cleric, a lecturer, a broadcaster, and Hindu Chaplain to Oxford University...

43 Silver plate showing Shapur II
Shapur II
Shapur II the Great was the ninth King of the Persian Sassanid Empire from 309 to 379 and son of Hormizd II. During his long reign, the Sassanid Empire saw its first golden era since the reign of Shapur I...

 
Iran AD 309 – 379 BBC BM Tom Holland
Tom Holland (author)
-Biography:Holland was born near Oxford and brought up in the village of Broadchalke near Salisbury, England. His younger brother is the historian and novelist James Holland...

, Guitty Azarpay
44 Hinton St Mary Mosaic
Hinton St Mary Mosaic
The Hinton St Mary Mosaic is a large, almost complete Roman mosaic discovered at Hinton St Mary in the English county of Dorset. It appears to feature a portrait bust of Jesus Christ as its central motif...

 
England AD 300 – 400 BBC BM Dame Averil Cameron
Averil Cameron
Dame Averil Millicent Cameron, DBE, FBA is Professor of Late Antique and Byzantine History in the University of Oxford, and was formerly the Warden of Keble College, Oxford between 1994 and 2010....

, Eamonn Duffy
45 Arabian bronze hand Yemen
Yemen
The Republic of Yemen , commonly known as Yemen , is a country located in the Middle East, occupying the southwestern to southern end of the Arabian Peninsula. It is bordered by Saudi Arabia to the north, the Red Sea to the west, and Oman to the east....

 
AD 100 – 300 BBC BM Jeremy Field, Philip Jenkins
Philip Jenkins
Philip Jenkins is as of 2010 the Edwin Erle Sparks Professor of Humanities at Pennsylvania State University . He was Professor and a Distinguished Professor of History and Religious studies at the same institution; and also assistant, associate and then full professor of Criminal Justice and...


The Silk Road and beyond (AD 400 – 700)


"Five objects from the British Museum tell the story of the movement of goods and ideas." First broadcast week beginning 7 June 2010.
Image Number Object Origin Date BBC website BM website Additional contributors
46 Gold coins of Abd al-Malik  Syria AD 696 – 697 BBC BM Madawi Al-Rasheed
Madawi Al-Rasheed
Madawi Al-Rasheed is a Saudi-Arabian-born professor of social anthropology at the department of Theology and Religious Studies in King's College London since 1994. She gives occasional lectures in the United States, Europe and the Middle East....

, Hugh Kennedy
Hugh Kennedy
Hugh Kennedy was the only Attorney-General of Southern Ireland and the first Attorney-General of the Irish Free State, and later the first Chief Justice of the Irish Free State. As a member of the Irish Free State Constitution Commission, he was also one of the constitutional architects of the...

47 Sutton Hoo
Sutton Hoo
Sutton Hoo, near to Woodbridge, in the English county of Suffolk, is the site of two 6th and early 7th century cemeteries. One contained an undisturbed ship burial including a wealth of Anglo-Saxon artefacts of outstanding art-historical and archaeological significance, now held in the British...

 helmet
England AD 600 – 700 BBC BM Seamus Heaney
Seamus Heaney
Seamus Heaney is an Irish poet, writer and lecturer. He lives in Dublin. Heaney has received the Nobel Prize in Literature , the Golden Wreath of Poetry , T. S. Eliot Prize and two Whitbread prizes...

, Angus Wainwright
48 Moche
Moche
'The Moche civilization flourished in northern Peru from about 100 AD to 800 AD, during the Regional Development Epoch. While this issue is the subject of some debate, many scholars contend that the Moche were not politically organized as a monolithic empire or state...

 warrior pot
Peru AD 100 – 700 BBC BM Grayson Perry
Grayson Perry
Grayson Perry is an English artist, known mainly for his ceramic vases and cross-dressing. Perry's vases have classical forms and are decorated in bright colours, depicting subjects at odds with their attractive appearance. There is a strong autobiographical element in his work, in which images of...

, Steve Bourget
49 Korean roof tile Korea
Korea
Korea ) is an East Asian geographic region that is currently divided into two separate sovereign states — North Korea and South Korea. Located on the Korean Peninsula, Korea is bordered by the People's Republic of China to the northwest, Russia to the northeast, and is separated from Japan to the...

 
AD 700 – 800 BBC BM Jane Portal, Choe Kwang Shik
50 Silk princess painting China AD 600 – 800 BBC BM Yo Yo Ma, Colin Thubron
Colin Thubron
Colin Gerald Dryden Thubron, CBE is a British travel writer and novelist.In 2008, The Times ranked him 45th on their list of the 50 greatest postwar British writers. He is a contributor to The New York Review of Books, The Times, The Times Literary Supplement and The New York Times. His books...


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


"Neil MacGregor gets an insight into the lives of the ruling elites 1200 years ago." First broadcast week beginning 14 June 2010.
Image Number Object Origin Date BBC website BM website Additional contributors
51 Yaxchilan Lintel 24
Yaxchilan Lintel 24
Lintel 24 is the designation given by modern archaeologists to an ancient Maya limestone carving from Yaxchilan, in modern Chiapas, Mexico. The lintel dates to about AD 725, placing it within the Maya Late Classic period...

, Maya
Maya civilization
The Maya is a Mesoamerican civilization, noted for the only known fully developed written language of the pre-Columbian Americas, as well as for its art, architecture, and mathematical and astronomical systems. Initially established during the Pre-Classic period The Maya is a Mesoamerican...

 relief of royal blood-letting
Mexico AD 700 – 750 BBC BM Susie Orbach
Susie Orbach
Susie Orbach is a psychotherapist, psychoanalyst, writer, and social critic from London, UK.-Background:Orbach was born in London, in 1946, and was brought up in Chalk Farm, north London, the child of Jewish parents, British MP Maurice Orbach and an American mother...

, Virginia Fields
52 Harem
Harem
Harem refers to the sphere of women in what is usually a polygynous household and their enclosed quarters which are forbidden to men...

 wall painting fragments
Iraq AD 800 – 900 BBC BM Robert Irwin
Robert Graham Irwin
Robert Graham Irwin is a British historian, novelist, and writer on Arabic literature.He read modern history at the University of Oxford, and did graduate research at SOAS. From 1972 he was a lecturer in Medieval History at the University of St. Andrews. He gave up academic life in 1977 in order...

, Amira Bennison
53 Lothair Crystal
Lothair Crystal
The Lothair Crystal is an engraved gem from Lotharingia in North-West Europe, showing scenes of the biblical story of Susanna, dating from 855-869...

 
probably Germany AD 855 – 869 BBC BM Lord Bingham, Rosamund McKitterick
54 Statue of Tara
Tara (Buddhism)
Tara or Ārya Tārā, also known as Jetsun Dolma in Tibetan Buddhism, is a female Bodhisattva in Mahayana Buddhism who appears as a female Buddha in Vajrayana Buddhism. She is known as the "mother of liberation", and represents the virtues of success in work and achievements...

 
Salihundam
Salihundam
Salihundam is a village and panchayat in Gara Mandal of Srikakulam district in Andhra Pradesh, India.It is a famous Buddhist Remnants site situated on the south bank of River Vamsadhara at a distance of 5 kilometers west of Kalingapatnam and 18 kilometers from Srikakulam town.It was known as...

, Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka, officially the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka is a country off the southern coast of the Indian subcontinent. Known until 1972 as Ceylon , Sri Lanka is an island surrounded by the Indian Ocean, the Gulf of Mannar and the Palk Strait, and lies in the vicinity of India and the...

 
AD 700 – 900 BBC BM Richard Gombrich
Richard Gombrich
Richard Francis Gombrich is a British Indologist and scholar of Sanskrit, Pāli, and Buddhist Studies. He acted as the Boden Professor of Sanskrit at the University of Oxford from 1976 to 2004. He is currently Founder-President of the Oxford Centre for Buddhist Studies...

, Nira Wickramasinghe
Nira Wickramasinghe
Nira Konjit Wickramasinghe is Professor of Modern South Asian Studies at Leiden University in the Netherlands and a well known international academic. She was a professor in the Department of History and International Relations, University of Colombo, Sri Lanka until 2009...

55 Chinese Tang
Tang Dynasty
The Tang Dynasty was an imperial dynasty of China preceded by the Sui Dynasty and followed by the Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms Period. It was founded by the Li family, who seized power during the decline and collapse of the Sui Empire...

 tomb figures
China about AD 728 BBC BM Anthony Howard
Anthony Howard (journalist)
Anthony Michell Howard, CBE was a prominent British journalist, broadcaster and writer. He was the editor of the New Statesman, The Listener and the deputy editor of The Observer...

, Oliver Moore

Pilgrims, raiders and traders (AD 900 – 1300)


"How trade, war and religion moved objects around the globe 1000 years ago." First broadcast week beginning 21 June 2010.
Image Number Object Origin Date BBC website BM website Additional contributors
56 Vale of York Hoard  England about AD 927 BBC BM Michael Wood, David and Andrew Whelan
57 Hedwig glass
Hedwig glass
Hedwig glasses or Hedwig beakers are a type of glass beaker originating in the Middle East or Norman Sicily and dating from the 10th-12th centuries AD. They are named after the Silesian princess Saint Hedwig , to whom three of them are traditionally said to have belonged. So far, a total of 14...

 beaker
probably Syria AD 1100–1200 BBC BM Jonathan Riley-Smith
Jonathan Riley-Smith
Jonathan Simon Christopher Riley-Smith, K.St.J., Ph.D. MA, Litt.D., FRHistS is an historian of the Crusades, and a former Dixie Professor of Ecclesiastical History...

, David Abulafia
David Abulafia
David Samuel Harvard Abulafia is an influential English historian with a particular interest in Italy, Spain and the rest of the Mediterranean during the Middle Ages and Renaissance. He has been Professor of Mediterranean History at the University of Cambridge since 2000 and a Fellow of Gonville...

58 Japanese bronze mirror Japan AD 1100–1200 BBC BM Ian Buruma
Ian Buruma
Buruma is a nephew of the English film director John Schlesinger, a series of interviews with whom he published in book form.-Works:*The Japanese Tattoo with Donald Richie ISBN 978-0-8348-0228-5...

, Harada Masayuki
59 Borobudur
Borobudur
Borobudur, or Barabudur, is a 9th-century Mahayana Buddhist monument near Magelang, Central Java, Indonesia. The monument comprises six square platforms topped by three circular platforms, and is decorated with 2,672 relief panels and 504 Buddha statues...

 Buddha
Buddha
In Buddhism, buddhahood is the state of perfect enlightenment attained by a buddha .In Buddhism, the term buddha usually refers to one who has become enlightened...

 head
Java
Java
Java is an island of Indonesia. With a population of 135 million , it is the world's most populous island, and one of the most densely populated regions in the world. It is home to 60% of Indonesia's population. The Indonesian capital city, Jakarta, is in west Java...

 
AD 780 – 840 BBC BM Stephen Bachelor, Nigel Barley
Nigel Barley
Nigel Barley is an anthropologist famous for the books he has written on his experiences. He studied modern languages at Cambridge University and completed a doctorate in social anthropology at Oxford University...

60 Kilwa
Kilwa Kisiwani
Kilwa Kisiwani is a community on an island off the coast of East Africa, in present day Tanzania.- History :A document written around AD 1200 called al-Maqama al Kilwiyya discovered in Oman, gives details of a mission to reconvert Kilwa to Ibadism, as it had recently been effected by the Ghurabiyya...

 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." First broadcast week beginning 28 June 2010.
Image Number Object Origin Date BBC website BM website Additional contributors
61 Lewis Chessmen
Lewis chessmen
The Lewis Chessmen are a group of 78 12th-century chess pieces, most of which are carved in walrus ivory...

 
probably made in Norway, found in Scotland AD 1150–1200 BBC BM Martin Amis
Martin Amis
Martin Louis Amis is a British novelist, the author of many novels including Money and London Fields . He is currently Professor of Creative Writing at the Centre for New Writing at the University of Manchester, but will step down at the end of the 2010/11 academic year...

, Miri Rubin
Miri Rubin
Miri Rubin is a medieval historian who is Professor of Early Modern History at Queen Mary, University of London. She was educated at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and the University of Cambridge, where she gained her doctorate....

62 Hebrew astrolabe
Astrolabe
An astrolabe is an elaborate inclinometer, historically used by astronomers, navigators, and astrologers. Its many uses include locating and predicting the positions of the Sun, Moon, planets, and stars, determining local time given local latitude and longitude, surveying, triangulation, and to...

 
Spain AD 1345–1355 BBC BM Sir John Elliott, Silke Ackermann
63 Ife
Ife
Ife is an ancient Yoruba city in south-western Nigeria. Evidence of inhabitation at the site has been discovered to date back to roughly 560 BC...

 head
Nigeria AD 1400–1500 BBC BM Ben Okri
Ben Okri
Ben Okri OBE FRSL is a Nigerian poet and novelist. Okri has become the leading figure of his generation of Nigerian writers who have largely abandoned the social and historical themes of Chinua Achebe, and brought together modernist narrative strategies and Nigerian oral and literary...

, Babatunde Lawal
64 The David Vases
Percival David Foundation of Chinese Art
The Percival David Foundation of Chinese Art is a collection of Chinese ceramics and related items in London, England. The Foundation's main purpose is to promote the study and teaching of Chinese art and culture. The Collection consists of some 1,700 pieces of Song, Yuan, Ming and Qing porcelain...

 
China AD 1351 BBC BM Jenny Uglow
Jenny Uglow
Jennifer Sheila Uglow OBE is a British biographer, critic and publisher. The editorial director of Chatto & Windus, she has written critically acclaimed biographies of Elizabeth Gaskell, William Hogarth, Thomas Bewick and the Lunar Society, among others, and has also compiled a women's...

, Craig Clunas
Craig Clunas
Craig Clunas is Professor of History of Art at the University of Oxford. As a historian of the art and history of China, Professor Clunas has focussed particularly on the Ming Dynasty .-Life:...

65 Taino Ritual Seat
Taino Ritual Seat
The Taíno ritual seat is a seat made in the form of a man on all fours. It was made by the Taino people near Santa Domingo, Caribbean.-Description:The first thing to note is this seat's size. The seat in only 13 cm by 44 cm and 22 cm high....

Santa Domingo, Caribbean
Caribbean
The Caribbean is a crescent-shaped group of islands more than 2,000 miles long separating the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean Sea, to the west and south, from the Atlantic Ocean, to the east and north...

 
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." First broadcast week beginning 5 July 2010.
Image Number Object Origin Date BBC website BM website Additional contributors
66 Holy Thorn Reliquary
Holy Thorn Reliquary
The Holy Thorn Reliquary was probably created in the 1390s in Paris for John, Duke of Berry, to house a relic of the Crown of Thorns. The reliquary was bequeathed to the British Museum in 1898 by Ferdinand de Rothschild as part of the Waddesdon Bequest...

 
France AD 1350–1400 BBC BM Sister Benedicta Ward, Right Reverend Arthur Roche
Arthur Roche
Arthur Roche is an English prelate of the Roman Catholic Church. He is the ninth and current Bishop of Leeds.-Early life and ministry:...

67 Icon
Icon
An icon is a religious work of art, most commonly a painting, from Eastern Christianity and in certain Eastern Catholic churches...

 of the Triumph of Orthodoxy 
Turkey AD 1350–1400 BBC BM Bill Viola
Bill Viola
Bill Viola is a contemporary video artist. He is considered a leading figure in the generation of artists whose artistic expression depends upon electronic, sound, and image technology in New Media...

, Diarmaid MacCulloch
Diarmaid MacCulloch
Diarmaid Ninian John MacCulloch FBA, FSA, FR Hist S is Professor of the History of the Church at the University of Oxford and Fellow of St Cross College, Oxford...

68 Shiva
Shiva
Shiva is a major Hindu deity, and is the destroyer god or transformer among the Trimurti, the Hindu Trinity of the primary aspects of the divine. God Shiva is a yogi who has notice of everything that happens in the world and is the main aspect of life. Yet one with great power lives a life of a...

 and Parvati
Parvati
Parvati is a Hindu goddess. Parvati is Shakti, the wife of Shiva and the gentle aspect of Mahadevi, the Great Goddess...

 sculpture
India AD 1100–1300 BBC BM Shaunaka Rishi Das
Shaunaka Rishi Das
Shaunaka Rishi Das is the Director of the Oxford Centre for Hindu Studies , a position he has held since the Centre's foundation in 1997. He is a Hindu cleric, a lecturer, a broadcaster, and Hindu Chaplain to Oxford University...

, Karen Armstrong
Karen Armstrong
Karen Armstrong FRSL , is a British author and commentator who is the author of twelve books on comparative religion. A former Roman Catholic nun, she went from a conservative to a more liberal and mystical faith...

69 Sculpture of Tlazolteotl
Tlazolteotl
In Aztec mythology, Tlazolteotl is a goddess of purification, steam bath, midwives, filth, and a patroness of adulterers. In Nahuatl, the word tlazolli can refer to vice and diseases. Thus, Tlazolteotl was a goddess of filth , vice, and sexual misdeeds...

 
Mexico AD 900 – 1521 BBC BM Marina Warner, Kim Richter
70 Hoa Hakananai'a
Hoa Hakananai'a
Hoa Hakananai'a is a moai housed in the British Museum in London. The name Hoa hakanani'a is from the Rapa Nui language; it means "stolen or hidden friend." It was removed from Orongo, Easter Island on 7 November 1868 by the crew of the English ship HMS Topaze, and arrived in Portsmouth on 25...

 
Easter Island
Easter Island
Easter Island is a Polynesian island in the southeastern Pacific Ocean, at the southeasternmost point of the Polynesian triangle. A special territory of Chile that was annexed in 1888, Easter Island is famous for its 887 extant monumental statues, called moai, created by the early Rapanui people...

 
AD 1000–1200 BBC BM Sir Anthony Caro
Anthony Caro
Sir Anthony Alfred Caro, OM, CBE is an English abstract sculptor whose work is characterised by assemblages of metal using 'found' industrial objects.-Background and early life:...

, Steve Hooper

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." First broadcast week beginning 13 September 2010.
Image Number Object Origin Date BBC website BM website Additional contributors
71 Tughra
Tughra
A tughra is a calligraphic monogram, seal or signature of an Ottoman sultan that was affixed to all official documents and correspondence. It was also carved on his seal and stamped on the coins minted during his reign...

 of Suleiman the Magnificent
Suleiman the Magnificent
Suleiman I was the tenth and longest-reigning Sultan of the Ottoman Empire, from 1520 to his death in 1566. He is known in the West as Suleiman the Magnificent and in the East, as "The Lawgiver" , for his complete reconstruction of the Ottoman legal system...

 
Turkey AD 1520-1566 BBC BM Elif Şafak
Elif Safak
Elif Şafak , is a Turkish writer who writes in both Turkish and English. Her books have been translated into more than thirty languages.-Fiction:...

, Caroline Finkel
Caroline Finkel
Caroline Finkel is a British historian and writer based in Turkey, with a doctorate from the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London....

72 Ming
Ming Dynasty
The Ming Dynasty, also Empire of the Great Ming, was the ruling dynasty of China from 1368 to 1644, following the collapse of the Mongol-led Yuan Dynasty. The Ming, "one of the greatest eras of orderly government and social stability in human history", was the last dynasty in China ruled by ethnic...

 banknote
China AD 1375 BBC BM Mervyn King
Mervyn King (economist)
An ex-officio member of the Bank's interest-rate setting Monetary Policy Committee since its inception in 1997, Sir Mervyn is the only person to have taken part in every one of its monthly meetings to date. His voting style is often seen as "hawkish", a perspective that emphasises the dangers of...

, Timothy Brook
Timothy Brook (historian)
Timothy James Brook , who writes as Timothy Brook and who has had many academic works published, is a distinguished historian specializing in the study of China...

73 Inca gold llama
Llama
The llama is a South American camelid, widely used as a meat and pack animal by Andean cultures since pre-Hispanic times....

 
Peru about AD 1500 BBC BM Jared Diamond
Jared Diamond
Jared Mason Diamond is an American scientist and author whose work draws from a variety of fields. He is currently Professor of Geography and Physiology at UCLA...

, Gabriel Ramon
74 Jade dragon cup Central Asia about AD 1420-49 BBC BM Beatrice Forbes Manz, Hamid Ismailov
Hamid Ismailov
Hamid Ismailov is an Uzbek journalist and writer who was forced to flee Uzbekistan in 1992 and came to the United Kingdom, where he took a job with the BBC World Service. His works are banned in Uzbekistan. He published dozens of books in Uzbek, Russian, French, German, Turkish and other languages...

75 Dürer's 'Rhinoceros'
Dürer's Rhinoceros
Dürer's Rhinoceros is the name commonly given to a woodcut executed by German painter and printmaker Albrecht Dürer in 1515. The image was based on a written description and brief sketch by an unknown artist of an Indian rhinoceros that had arrived in Lisbon earlier that year. Dürer never saw the...

 
Germany AD 1515 BBC BM Mark Pilgrim, Felipe Fernandez-Armesto
Felipe Fernández-Armesto
Felipe Fernández-Armesto is a British historian and author of several popular works of history.He was born in London, his father was the Spanish journalist Felipe Fernández Armesto and his mother was Betty Millan de Fernandez-Armesto, a British-born journalist and co-founder and editor of The...


The first global economy (AD 1450–1600)


"Neil MacGregor traces the impact of travel, trade and conquest from 1450 to 1600." First broadcast 20 September 2010.
Image Number Object Origin Date BBC website BM website Additional contributors
76 Mechanical Galleon
Mechanical Galleon
The Mechanical Galleon is an elaborate nef or table ornament in the form of a ship, which is also an automaton and clock. It was constructed in about 1585 by Hans Schlottheim in southern Germany. It was in the possession of Augustus, Elector of Saxony...

 
Germany c. 1585 BBC BM Lisa Jardine
Lisa Jardine
Lisa Anne Jardine CBE , née Lisa Anne Bronowski, is a British historian of the early modern period. She is professor of Renaissance Studies and Director of the Centre for Editing Lives and Letters at Queen Mary, University of London, and is Chair of the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority...

, Christopher Dobbs
77 Benin plaque
Benin Bronzes
The Benin Bronzes are a collection of more than 3000 brass plaques from the royal palace of the Kingdom of Benin . They were seized by a British force in the Punitive Expedition of 1897 and given to the British Foreign Office...

: the oba
Oba (ruler)
Oba is a West African synonym for monarch, one that is usually applied to the Yoruba and Edo rulers of the region. It is also often used by their traditional subjects to refer to other kings and queens, such as Elizabeth I of England, in their native languages.-Edo account of the word's origin:The...

 with Europeans
Nigeria
Nigeria
Nigeria , officially the Federal Republic of Nigeria, is a federal constitutional republic comprising 36 states and its Federal Capital Territory, Abuja. The country is located in West Africa and shares land borders with the Republic of Benin in the west, Chad and Cameroon in the east, and Niger in...

 
16th century BBC BM Sokari Douglas Camp
Sokari Douglas Camp
Sokari Douglas Camp is an artist who has had exhibitions all over the world and was the recipient of a bursary from the Henry Moore Foundation, as well as being honored as a Commander of the Order of the British Empire in the 2005 Honours List.She was born in Buguma, Nigeria, a Kalabari town in...

, Wole Soyinka
Wole Soyinka
Akinwande Oluwole "Wole" Soyinka is a Nigerian writer, poet and playwright. He was awarded the 1986 Nobel Prize in Literature, where he was recognised as a man "who in a wide cultural perspective and with poetic overtones fashions the drama of existence", and became the first African in Africa and...

78 Double-headed serpent
Double-headed serpent
The Double-headed serpent is an Aztec statue kept at the British Museum. Composed of mostly turquoise pieces applied to a wood base, it is one of nine mosaics of similar material in the British Museum; there are thought to be about 25 such pieces from that period in the whole of Europe. It came...

 
Mexico 15th-16th century BBC BM Rebecca Stacey, Adriana Diaz-Enciso
79 Kakiemon elephants
Kakiemon elephants
The Kakiemon elephants are a pair of 17th century Japanese porcelain figures of elephants in the British Museum. They were made by one of the Kakiemon potteries, which created the first enamelled porcelain in Japan, and exported by the early Dutch East India Company. These figures are thought to...

 
Japan late 17th century BBC BM Miranda Rock, Sakaida Kakiemon XIV
80 Pieces of eight
Pieces of Eight
Pieces of Eight is the eighth studio album and second concept album by Styx, released September 1, 1978.The album was the band's follow-up to their Triple Platinum selling The Grand Illusion album....

 
from Spain
Spain
Spain , officially the Kingdom of Spain languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Spain's official name is as follows:;;;;;;), is a country and member state of the European Union located in southwestern Europe on the Iberian Peninsula...

, found in Bolivia
Bolivia
Bolivia officially known as Plurinational State of Bolivia , is a landlocked country in central South America. It is the poorest country in South America...

 
AD 1589-1598 BBC BM Tuti Prado, William Bernstein

Tolerance and intolerance (AD 1550–1700)


"Neil MacGregor tells how the great religions lived together in the C16th and C17th." First broadcast week beginning 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 Haleh Afshar, Hossein Pourtahmasbi
82 Miniature of a Mughal
Mughal Empire
The Mughal Empire ,‎ or Mogul Empire in traditional English usage, was an imperial power from the Indian Subcontinent. The Mughal emperors were descendants of the Timurids...

 prince
India about AD 1610 BBC BM Asok Kumar Das, Aman Nath
83 Shadow puppet
Wayang
Wayang is a Javanese word for theatre . When the term is used to refer to kinds of puppet theatre, sometimes the puppet itself is referred to as wayang...

 of Bima
Bhima
In the Mahābhārata, Bhima is one of the central characters of Mahabharata and the second of the Pandava brothers...

 
Java
Java
Java is an island of Indonesia. With a population of 135 million , it is the world's most populous island, and one of the most densely populated regions in the world. It is home to 60% of Indonesia's population. The Indonesian capital city, Jakarta, is in west Java...

 
1600–1800 BBC BM Mr Sumarsam, Tash Aw
Tash Aw
Tash Aw, whose full name is Aw Ta-Shi is a Malaysian writer currently living in London.- Biography :...

84 Mexican codex
Codex
A codex is a book in the format used for modern books, with multiple quires or gatherings typically bound together and given a cover.Developed by the Romans from wooden writing tablets, its gradual replacement...

 map
Mexico
Mexico
The United Mexican States , commonly known as Mexico , is a federal constitutional republic in North America. It is bordered on the north by the United States; on the south and west by the Pacific Ocean; on the southeast by Guatemala, Belize, and the Caribbean Sea; and on the east by the Gulf of...

 
Late 16th century
BBC BM Samuel Edgerton, Fernando Cervantes
85 Reformation
Protestant Reformation
The Protestant Reformation was a 16th-century split within Western Christianity initiated by Martin Luther, John Calvin and other early Protestants. The efforts of the self-described "reformers", who objected to the doctrines, rituals and ecclesiastical structure of the Roman Catholic Church, led...

 centenary broadsheet
Broadsheet
Broadsheet is the largest of the various newspaper formats and is characterized by long vertical pages . The term derives from types of popular prints usually just of a single sheet, sold on the streets and containing various types of material, from ballads to political satire. The first broadsheet...

 
Germany AD 1617 BBC BM Karen Armstrong
Karen Armstrong
Karen Armstrong FRSL , is a British author and commentator who is the author of twelve books on comparative religion. A former Roman Catholic nun, she went from a conservative to a more liberal and mystical faith...

, Ian Hislop
Ian Hislop
Ian David Hislop is a British journalist, satirist, comedian, writer, broadcaster and editor of the satirical magazine Private Eye...


Exploration, exploitation and enlightenment (AD 1680–1820)


"Neil MacGregor on the misunderstandings that can happen when different worlds collide." First broadcast 4 October 2010.
Image Number Object Origin Date BBC website BM website Additional contributors
86 Akan Drum
Akan Drum
The Akan Drum is a drum that was made in West Africa and was later found in the Colony of Virginia in North America. It is now the oldest African-American object in the British Museum and possibly the oldest surviving anywhere. The drum is a reminder of all three continents' involvement in the...

from Africa, found in the USA 18th century BBC BM Bonnie Greer
Bonnie Greer
Bonnie Greer, OBE is an American-British playwright and critic.-Early life:Greer's father was born to a family of Mississippi sharecroppers. He was stationed in the UK during World War II and took part in the D-Day landings...

, Anthony Appiah
87 Hawaiian feathered helmet
Mahiole
Hawaiian feather helmets, known as mahiole in the Hawaiian language, were worn with [[ʻahuʻula | feather cloaks (ʻahu ʻula)]]. These were symbols of the highest rank reserved for the men of the alii, the chiefly class of Hawaii. There are examples of this traditional headgear in museums around the...

 
Hawaii
Hawaii
Hawaii is the newest of the 50 U.S. states , and is the only U.S. state made up entirely of islands. It is the northernmost island group in Polynesia, occupying most of an archipelago in the central Pacific Ocean, southwest of the continental United States, southeast of Japan, and northeast of...

 
18th century BBC BM Nicholas Thomas, Kyle Nakanelua
88 North American buckskin
Buckskin (leather)
Buckskin is the soft, pliable, porous preserved hide of an animal, usually deer, moose or elk or even cowhide tanned to order, but potentially any animal's hide,. Modern leather labeled "buckskin" may be made of sheepskin tanned with modern chromate tanning chemicals and dyed to resemble real...

 map
USA 1774-5 BBC BM Malcolm Lewis, David Edmunds
89 Australian bark shield
Shield
A shield is a type of personal armor, meant to intercept attacks, either by stopping projectiles such as arrows or redirecting a hit from a sword, mace or battle axe to the side of the shield-bearer....

 
Australia
Australia
Australia , officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a country in the Southern Hemisphere comprising the mainland of the Australian continent, the island of Tasmania, and numerous smaller islands in the Indian and Pacific Oceans. It is the world's sixth-largest country by total area...

 
1770 BBC BM Phil Gordon, Maria Nugent
90 Jade
Jade
Jade is an ornamental stone.The term jade is applied to two different metamorphic rocks that are made up of different silicate minerals:...

 bi
Bi (jade)
The bi is a form of circular jade artifact from ancient China. The earliest bi were produced in the Neolithic period, particularly by the Liangzhu culture . Later examples date mainly from the Shang, Zhou and Han dynasties. They were also made in glass.-Description:A bi is a flat jade disc with a...

 with poem
China 1790 BBC BM Jonathan Spence
Jonathan Spence
Jonathan D. Spence is a British-born historian and public intellectual specializing in Chinese history. He was Sterling Professor of History at Yale University from 1993 to 2008. His most famous book is The Search for Modern China, which has become one of the standard texts on the last several...

, Yang Lian
Yang Lian
Yang Lian is a Chinese poet associated with the Misty Poets and also with the Searching for Roots school. He was born in Bern, Switzerland in 1955 and raised in Beijing, where he attended primary school....


Mass production, mass persuasion (AD 1780–1914)


"How industrialisation, mass politics and imperial ambitions changed the world." First broadcast week beginning 11 October 2010.
Image Number Object Origin Date BBC website BM website Additional contributors
91 Ship's chronometer from HMS Beagle
Ship's chronometer from HMS Beagle
A Nautical chronometer made by Thomas Earnshaw , and once part of the equipment of HMS Beagle, the ship that carried Charles Darwin on his voyage around the world, is held in the British Museum...

 
England 1795–1805 BBC BM Nigel Thrift
Nigel Thrift
Nigel John Thrift is the current Vice Chancellor of the University of Warwick and a leading academic in the field of human geography.-Early life and career:...

, Steve Jones
Steve Jones (biologist)
John Stephen Jones is a Welsh geneticist and from 1995 to 1999 and 2008 to June 2010 was Head of the Department of Genetics, Evolution and Environment at University College London. His studies are conducted in the Galton Laboratory. He is also a television presenter and a prize-winning author on...

92 Early Victorian
Victorian era
The Victorian era of British history was the period of Queen Victoria's reign from 20 June 1837 until her death on 22 January 1901. It was a long period of peace, prosperity, refined sensibilities and national self-confidence...

 tea set
Tea set
A tea set, in the Western tradition, is a set of dishes sold in a group for use at afternoon tea or a formal tea party.Tea sets vary greatly in quality and price, from inexpensive to high-end.-Items in a tea set:...

 
England 1840–1845 BBC BM Celina Fox, Monique Simmonds
93 Hokusai
Hokusai
was a Japanese artist, ukiyo-e painter and printmaker of the Edo period. He was influenced by such painters as Sesshu, and other styles of Chinese painting...

's 'The Great Wave'
The Great Wave off Kanagawa
, also known as The Great Wave or simply The Wave, is a woodblock print by the Japanese artist Hokusai. An example of ukiyo-e art, it was published sometime between 1830 and 1833 as the first in Hokusai's series Thirty-six Views of Mount Fuji , and is his most famous work...

 
Japan c. 1829–32 BBC BM Christine Guth, Donald Keene
Donald Keene
Donald Lawrence Keene is a Japanologist, scholar, teacher, writer, translator and interpreter of Japanese literature and culture. Keene was University Professor Emeritus and Shincho Professor Emeritus of Japanese Literature at Columbia University, where he taught for over fifty years...

94 Sudan
Sudan
Sudan , officially the Republic of the Sudan , is a country in North Africa, sometimes considered part of the Middle East politically. It is bordered by Egypt to the north, the Red Sea to the northeast, Eritrea and Ethiopia to the east, South Sudan to the south, the Central African Republic to the...

ese slit drum
Slit drum
A slit drum is a hollow percussion instrument, usually a log drum of bamboo or wood, that is made with one or more slits in it. Most slit drums have three slits, cut into the shape of an "H". If, as is usual, the resultant tongues are different lengths or thicknesses, the drum will produce two...

 
Sudan 19th century BBC BM Dominic Green, Zeinab Badawi
Zeinab Badawi
Zeinab Badawi is a Sudanese-British television and radio journalist. She was the first presenter of the ITV Morning News , and co-presented Channel 4 News with Jon Snow , before joining BBC News. Badawi is currently the presenter of World News Today broadcast on both BBC Four and BBC World News...

95 Suffragette
Suffragette
"Suffragette" is a term coined by the Daily Mail newspaper as a derogatory label for members of the late 19th and early 20th century movement for women's suffrage in the United Kingdom, in particular members of the Women's Social and Political Union...

 defaced penny
Penny
A penny is a coin or a type of currency used in several English-speaking countries. It is often the smallest denomination within a currency system.-Etymology:...

 
England 1903 BBC BM Felicity Powell, Helena Kennedy

The world of our making (AD 1914–2010)


"Neil MacGregor explores aspects of sexual, political and economic history of recent times." First broadcast week beginning 18 October 2010.
Image Number Object Origin Date BBC website BM website Additional contributors
96 Russian Revolutionary Plate  Russia
Russia
Russia or , officially known as both Russia and the Russian Federation , is a country in northern Eurasia. It is a federal semi-presidential republic, comprising 83 federal subjects...

 
1921 BBC BM Eric Hobsbawm
Eric Hobsbawm
Eric John Ernest Hobsbawm , CH, FBA, is a British Marxist historian, public intellectual, and author...

, Mikhail Piotrovsky
Mikhail Piotrovsky
Mikhail Borisovich Piotrovsky is the Director of the State Hermitage Museum in Saint Petersburg. He was born in Yerevan in the Armenian Soviet Socialist Republic on 9 November 1944 to Boris Piotrovsky, a notable Orientalist and himself the future Director of the Hermitage, and Armenian mother...

See
In the dull village
In the dull village
In the dull village is an etching and aquatint print made by David Hockney in 1966, one of series of illustrations for a selection of Greek poems written by Constantine P. Cavafy. It depicts two men lying next to each other in bed, naked from the waist up, with their lower halves covered by...

97 Hockney
David Hockney
David Hockney, CH, RA, is an English painter, draughtsman, printmaker, stage designer and photographer, who is based in Bridlington, Yorkshire and Kensington, London....

's In the dull village
In the dull village
In the dull village is an etching and aquatint print made by David Hockney in 1966, one of series of illustrations for a selection of Greek poems written by Constantine P. Cavafy. It depicts two men lying next to each other in bed, naked from the waist up, with their lower halves covered by...

England 1966 BBC BM Shami Chakrabarti
Shami Chakrabarti
Shami Chakrabarti CBE , has been the director of Liberty, a British pressure group, since September 2003. Chakrabarti is the Chancellor of Oxford Brookes University.-Early life:...

, David Hockney
David Hockney
David Hockney, CH, RA, is an English painter, draughtsman, printmaker, stage designer and photographer, who is based in Bridlington, Yorkshire and Kensington, London....

98 Throne of Weapons
Throne of Weapons
The Throne of Weapons is a sculpture created by Cristóvão Canhavato out of disused weapons. It has been owned by the British Museum since 2002...

 
Mozambique
Mozambique
Mozambique, officially the Republic of Mozambique , is a country in southeastern Africa bordered by the Indian Ocean to the east, Tanzania to the north, Malawi and Zambia to the northwest, Zimbabwe to the west and Swaziland and South Africa to the southwest...

 
2001 BBC BM Kofi Annan
Kofi Annan
Kofi Atta Annan is a Ghanaian diplomat who served as the seventh Secretary-General of the UN from 1 January 1997 to 31 December 2006...

, Bishop Dinis Sengulane
Dinis Sengulane
Dinis Salomão Sengulane is the Anglican Bishop of Lebombo, Maputo, Mozambique. He helped to end the Mozambican Civil War and helped with the surrender of 600,000 weapons that were notably converted into art.-Biography:...

99 Sharia
Sharia
Sharia law, is the moral code and religious law of Islam. Sharia is derived from two primary sources of Islamic law: the precepts set forth in the Quran, and the example set by the Islamic prophet Muhammad in the Sunnah. Fiqh jurisprudence interprets and extends the application of sharia to...

 compliant
Islamic banking
Islamic banking is banking or banking activity that is consistent with the principles of Islamic law and its practical application through the development of Islamic economics. Sharia prohibits the fixed or floating payment or acceptance of specific interest or fees for loans of money...

 Visa Credit card
Credit card
A credit card is a small plastic card issued to users as a system of payment. It allows its holder to buy goods and services based on the holder's promise to pay for these goods and services...

 
United Arab Emirates
United Arab Emirates
The United Arab Emirates, abbreviated as the UAE, or shortened to "the Emirates", is a state situated in the southeast of the Arabian Peninsula in Western Asia on the Persian Gulf, bordering Oman, and Saudi Arabia, and sharing sea borders with Iraq, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, and Iran.The UAE is a...

 
2009 BBC BM Mervyn King
Mervyn King (economist)
An ex-officio member of the Bank's interest-rate setting Monetary Policy Committee since its inception in 1997, Sir Mervyn is the only person to have taken part in every one of its monthly meetings to date. His voting style is often seen as "hawkish", a perspective that emphasises the dangers of...

, Razi Fakih
100 Solar-powered lamp
Solar lamp
A solar lamp is a portable light fixture composed of a LED lamp, a photovoltaic solar panel, and a rechargeable battery.Outdoor lamps are used for lawn and garden decorations. Indoor solar lamps are also used for general illumination .Solar lights are used for decoration, and come in a wide variety...

 and charger
China 2010 BBC Nick Stern, Aloka Sarder, Boniface Nyamu

Special edition


A special radio programme on Radio 4, first broadcast on 18 May 2011, featured one of the many thousands of items nominated on the BBC website by members of the public as an object of special significance. The object chosen to be featured on the programme was an oil painting depicting a young woman that was nominated by Peter Lewis. The painting, which belonged to Lewis' uncle, Bryn Roberts, was painted from a postcard photograph of Roberts' girlfriend (and later wife), Peggy Gullup, by an anonymous Jewish artist for Roberts whilst he was a prisoner of war
Prisoner of war
A prisoner of war or enemy prisoner of war is a person, whether civilian or combatant, who is held in custody by an enemy power during or immediately after an armed conflict...

 at Auschwitz
Auschwitz concentration camp
Concentration camp Auschwitz was a network of Nazi concentration and extermination camps built and operated by the Third Reich in Polish areas annexed by Nazi Germany during World War II...

 in Poland.

Art Fund Prize


The British Museum won the 2011 Art Fund Prize for museums and galleries for its part in the A History of the World in 100 Objects series. The prize, worth £100,000, was presented to the museum by Jeremy Hunt, Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport, in a ceremony at London on 15 June 2011.

The chairman of the panel of judges, Michael Portillo
Michael Portillo
Michael Denzil Xavier Portillo is a British journalist, broadcaster, and former Conservative Party politician and Cabinet Minister...

, noted that the judges were "particularly impressed by the truly global scope of the British Museum’s project, which combined intellectual rigour and open heartedness, and went far beyond the boundaries of the museum’s walls". The judges were also very impressed by the way that the project used digital media in ground-breaking and novel ways to interact with audiences.

External links