A History of the World in 100 Objects

Monday, January 09, 2012

Neil MacGregor, director of the British Museum, talks about selecting100 man-made artifacts that each provide an intimate glimpse of an important turning point in human civilization. The 100-episode BBC series A History of the World in 100 Objects, and its companion book, A History of the World in 100 Objects, stretches back two million years and covers the globe. From the very first hand axe to the ubiquitous credit card, each item tells a story, and together they relate the larger history of mankind.

Starting Tuesday, January 10, the Leonard Lopate Show will be airing the BBC series A History of the World in 100 Objects, an object a day for 100 days.

© Trustees of the British Museum
Stone chopping tool from the Olduvai Gorge in Tanzania.

Two million BC-10,000 BC. Find out more here.

© Trustees of the British Museum
Title of the Rhind Mathematical Papyrus from the tomb of an ancient Egyptian scribe.

2000 BC-1000 BC. Find out more here.

© Trustees of the British Museum
The Flood Tablet, the most famous cuneiform tablet from the ancient Middle East.

1000 BC - 600 BC. Find out more here.

© Trustees of the British Museum
A model of a chariot, found as part of a treasure hoard in what is now Tadjikistan.

600 BC-200 BC. Find out more here.

© Trustees of the British Museum
Inner coffin of the ancient Egyptian priest Hornedjitef.

600-200 BC. Find out more here.

© Trustees of the British Museum
Rosetta Stone.

200 BC - 200.

© Trustees of the British Museum
Double-headed serpent.

1400-1600. Find out more here.

© Trustees of the British Museum
Throne of Weapons

2001. Copyright Kester 2004. Find out more here.

© Trustees of the British Museum
Solar-powered lamp and charger.


Neil MacGregor

Comments [13]

Susan from Manhattan

The objects discussed can easily be found by Googling, but I agree it would really help to have photos or links here on the WNYC site. I think it's a great idea for a series, and I love the injection of a bit of ancient history into a show that's daily and mostly about current culture.

Mar. 14 2012 01:21 PM
Greg Caulfield from New York

The object that are similar are . NYC
1 . Cridit card
2. Mech gallen
3. Waren Cup
4. Ball game belt
5. Rosetta stone

Mar. 13 2012 01:35 PM

The most interesting thing about this series is that it's led me to find other things to listen to whenever it starts. Thank goodness for internet radio.
I was enthused about this series and tried to like it, but it is a snoozefest. Why, WNYC, why?
How many more Objects to go?

Feb. 17 2012 09:06 AM
Palisades from Westchester County

Not a word I use often, but this series is insufferable. Are we committed to all 100 objects?
I used to listen to WNYC all day. Then I started tuning in to other stations to avoid Tell Me More and SoundCheck. Now I tune out when this nonsense starts.
I barely listen on the weekends anymore, because of the repetition of shows, and I hate being forced to choose between Car Talk on AM or Car Talk on FM, or Prairie Home Companion on AM or on FM. Why have two stations?

Feb. 17 2012 08:58 AM

I heard many of these episodes in podcast format before. I find the presentation clear and concise and a great encouragement to look at the things I handle everyday, such as the computer keboard i am typing on as good pointers to where i am in the historical process.
I heard a piece yesterday on the idea of selecting objects to reflect the city of New York and for that I nominate The Pushcart. I am old enough to recall one of the last vendors who walked his cart, which outweighed him many times over shouting "Bananas!". New York: the city of hard work, commerce and the occasional shout in the street.

Feb. 10 2012 09:10 AM
Adam from NYC

It has come to the point where I have to turn the volume down or change the station when this segment comes on. I just cannot tolerate the sound of the narrators voice anymore, it is unbearable.

Feb. 09 2012 09:54 AM

It's a great series. And I agree that it's a pity that we cannot see the item that is being described. That would help enormously.

Jan. 31 2012 01:20 PM
Al from Manhattan

Am I alone in thinking that beyond the preening erudition and emphasis in Mr MacGregor's voice, what the man actually saysin his series is complete waffle.

Jan. 30 2012 09:56 AM

I caught today's episode and came here to get a look for myself at the object being described (the 11000 year old loving couple). I am disappointed that you only have photos of 10 of the 100 objects... After all, radio is great, but limited in the visual department. I hope you will post photos of more of the objects (ideally with multiple views) -- given the sculptor's description of the piece, I would have liked to see it in rotation.

Jan. 18 2012 04:17 PM

Really have to object to a progressive organization like WNYC cooperating with the British Museum which has looted cultures around the world. How many of these objects are stolen? What a disgrace.

Jan. 13 2012 01:20 PM
Maxine H. Adler-Pou from Las Cruces, NM

New series sounds great. Can't wait.

Jan. 12 2012 01:14 PM
Amy from Manhattan

In the promo for this exhibit, Mr. MacGregor says the credit card is "a promise in plastic." But isn't a dollar (or other currency) bill equally a promise in paper? Or a check, for that matter?

Jan. 09 2012 01:57 PM
Dan from Herald Square.

Can't wait for this to start!

Jan. 09 2012 09:17 AM

Leave a Comment

Email addresses are required but never displayed.

Get the WNYC Morning Brief in your inbox.
We'll send you our top 5 stories every day, plus breaking news and weather.