A History of the World in 100 Objects

100 EpisodesProduced by BBC Radio 4

Director of the British Museum, Neil MacGregor, narrates 100 programmes that retell humanity's history through the objects we have made

episodes iconAll Episodes

Solar-powered lamp and charger

October 22nd, 2010

13:34

The very last episode in Neil MacGregor's history of humanity as told through the things that time has left behind. The director of the British …

Credit card

October 21st, 2010

13:59

Neil MacGregor's history of the world as told through things. Throughout this week he is examining objects that speak of the great shifts in human …

Throne of Weapons

October 20th, 2010

14:09

The history of humanity, as told through one hundred objects from the British Museum in London, is drawing to an end.

Throughout this week, Neil …

Hockney's In the Dull Village

October 19th, 2010

13:24

This week Neil MacGregor's history of the world is examining the forces that helped shape our way of life and ways of thinking today. He began with …

Russian revolutionary plate

October 18th, 2010

14:05

Neil MacGregor's history of the world as told through things that time has left behind. Throughout this closing week he is examining some of the …

Suffragette-defaced penny

October 15th, 2010

14:02

Neil MacGregor's world history told through objects from the British Museum in London. The objects he has chosen this week have reflected on mass …

Sudanese slit drum

October 14th, 2010

13:47

The history of humanity as told through one hundred objects from the British Museum in London. This week Neil MacGregor, the Director of the Museum, …

Hokusai's The Great Wave

October 13th, 2010

13:49

The history of humanity - as told through one hundred objects from the British Museum in London - is once again in Japan. This week Neil MacGregor, …

Early Victorian tea set

October 12th, 2010

14:14

This week Neil MacGregor's history of the world is looking at how the global economy became cemented in the 19th century, a time of mass production and mass consumption. He tells the story of how tea became the defining …

Ship's chronometer from HMS Beagle

October 11th, 2010

14:02

Neil MacGregor's history of the world as told through things. Throughout this week he is examining the global economy of the 19th century - of mass …

Jade bi

October 8th, 2010

14:02

Neil MacGregor's world history told through the things that time has left behind. Throughout this week, Neil has been looking at Europe's discoveries …

Australian bark shield

October 7th, 2010

13:46

The history of humanity as told through one hundred objects from the British Museum in London. This week Neil MacGregor, the Director of the Museum, …

North American buckskin map

October 6th, 2010

13:53

The history of humanity - as told through one hundred objects from the British Museum in London - is once again in North America. This week Neil …

Hawaiian feather helmet

October 5th, 2010

13:55

This week Neil MacGregor's history of the world is telling the story of European encounters across the globe during the 18th century.

Today he finds …

Akan drum

October 4th, 2010

14:18

Neil MacGregor's history of the world as told through things that time has left behind. Throughout this week he is examining the often troubled …

Reformation centenary broadsheet

October 1st, 2010

13:51

Neil MacGregor's world history as told through things that time has left behind. This week Neil is looking at the co-existence of faiths - peaceful …

Mexican codex map

September 30th, 2010

14:18

The history of humanity as told through one hundred objects from the British Museum in London. This week Neil MacGregor is looking at the …

Shadow Puppet of Bima

September 29th, 2010

14:03

The history of humanity - as told through one hundred objects from the British Museum in London - is in South East Asia. This week Neil MacGregor, …

Miniature of a Mughal prince

September 28th, 2010

14:16

This week Neil MacGregor's history of the world is looking at the co-existence of faiths - peaceful or otherwise - across the globe around 400 years …

The Shi'a religious parade standard

September 27th, 2010

14:00

Neil MacGregor's world history as told through things. This week he is exploring the development and co-existence of faiths across the globe around …

Pieces of eight

September 24th, 2010

13:54

Neil MacGregor's world history as told through things that time has left behind. This week he is exploring the world between 1450 and 1600 - looking …

Kakiemon elephants

September 23rd, 2010

13:56

The history of humanity as told through one hundred objects from the British Museum in London is this week exploring the world at the time of …

Double-headed serpent

September 22nd, 2010

13:44

The history of humanity - as told through one hundred objects from the British Museum in London - is back in South America. This week Neil MacGregor, …

Benin plaque - the Oba with Europeans

September 21st, 2010

13:57

This week Neil MacGregor's history of the world is exploring the impact of the great European age of expansion and discovery during the 15th and 16th …

The mechanical galleon

September 20th, 2010

13:54

Neil MacGregor's world history as told through things. This week he is exploring the impact of Western European travel, trade and conquest between …

Durer's Rhinoceros

September 17th, 2010

14:04

Neil MacGregor's world history as told through things that time has left behind. This week he is exploring vigorous empires that flourished across …

Jade Dragon Cup

September 16th, 2010

14:00

The history of humanity as told through one hundred objects from the British Museum in London is this week exploring powerful empires around the …

Inca Gold Llama

September 15th, 2010

14:01

The history of humanity - as told through one hundred objects from the British Museum in London - is back in South America. This week Neil MacGregor, …

Ming Banknote

September 14th, 2010

14:00

This week Neil MacGregor's history of the world is exploring the great empires of around 1500 - the threshold of the modern era. Today he is in Ming …

Tughra of Suleiman the Magnificent

September 13th, 2010

13:51

Neil MacGregor's world history as told through things. This week he is exploring the great empires of the world around 1500 - from the Inca in South …

Hoa Hakananai'a Easter Island Statue

July 9th, 2010

14:08

This week Neil MacGregor is exploring the sophisticated ways in which people connected to gods and ancestors in the Middle Ages. He is looking at religious images from India, France, Mexico and Turkey.

Today - in the …

Statue of Huastec Goddess

July 8th, 2010

13:55

The history of humanity as told through one hundred objects from the British Museum in London is in Mexico. This week Neil MacGregor is meeting the …

Shiva and Parvati Sculpture

July 7th, 2010

13:59

The history of humanity as told through one hundred objects from the British Museum in London is back in India. This week Neil MacGregor is with the …

Icon of the Triumph of Orthodoxy

July 6th, 2010

14:07

This week Neil MacGregor's world history as told through objects is describing how people expressed devotion and connection with the divine in the …

Holy Thorn Reliquary

July 5th, 2010

13:56

Neil MacGregor's world history as told through things. This week he is exploring the sophisticated ways that people expressed religious yearning in …

Taino Ritual Seat

July 2nd, 2010

14:09

The history of humanity as told through one hundred objects from the British Museum. This week the Museum's director, Neil MacGregor, is exploring …

The David Vases

July 1st, 2010

14:24

The history of the world as told through objects that time has left behind. This week Neil MacGregor, the director of the British Museum, has chosen …

Ife Head

June 30th, 2010

14:07

The history of humanity as told through one hundred objects from the British Museum is back in Africa. This week Neil MacGregor is exploring high …

Hebrew Astrolabe

June 29th, 2010

14:18

Neil MacGregor's world history as told through objects at the British Museum. This week he is exploring high status objects from across the world …

Lewis Chessmen

June 28th, 2010

14:25

This week Neil MacGregor, the director of the British Museum, has chosen some of the great status symbols of the world around 700 years ago - objects …

Kilwa pot sherds

June 25th, 2010

14:01

This week Neil MacGregor has been looking at objects from Japan, Britain, Java and central Europe, exploring the great arcs of trade that connected Africa, Europe and Asia a thousand years ago. Today he sifts through a …

Borobudur Buddha head

June 24th, 2010

14:12

A history of the World in one hundred objects arrives on the Indonesian island of Java. This is the series that offers a new history of humanity through the individual objects that time has left behind. These items are …

Japanese bronze mirror

June 23rd, 2010

14:03

The history of humanity as told through one hundred objects from the British Museum in London. This week Neil MacGregor is looking at objects from …

Hedwig glass beaker

June 22nd, 2010

14:09

Neil MacGregor's world history as told through objects at the British Museum. This week he is looking at how objects moved around the medieval world …

Vale of York Hoard

June 21st, 2010

14:07

The history of the world as told through objects that history has left behind. This week Neil MacGregor, the director of the British Museum, has …

Chinese Tang tomb figures

June 18th, 2010

14:20

This week Neil MacGregor is exploring life in the great royal courts across the world during Europe's medieval period, from the heart of Europe to Mexico and Sri Lanka. Today he is in China of the Tang Dynasty around …

Statue of Tara

June 17th, 2010

14:03

The history of the world as told through one hundred of the objects. The objects are selected from the collection of the British Museum by its …

Lothair Crystal

June 16th, 2010

13:52

This week, Neil MacGregor is exploring life in the great royal courts around the world during Europe's medieval period. It's easy to forget that the civilisations of Tang China, the Islamic Empire and the Maya in …

Harem wall painting fragments

June 15th, 2010

14:08

Neil MacGregor's world history as told through objects at the British Museum. This week, he is exploring life and intrigue in the great courts of the …

Maya Relief of Royal Blood-Letting

June 14th, 2010

14:08

The history of the world as told through objects. This week Neil MacGregor, the Director of the British Museum, is exploring power and intrigue in …

Silk Princess Painting

June 11th, 2010

14:13

Throughout this week, Neil MacGregor has been exploring the world of the late 7th century, with objects from South America, Britain, Syria and Korea.

Today's object is from the 4000 mile tangle of routes that has become …

Korean Roof Tile

June 10th, 2010

14:09

4 Extra Debut. Korea: source of modern-day electronic components. Neil MacGregor delves into the history of an artefact from the region.

Moche Warrior Pot

June 9th, 2010

14:22

The history of the world as told through one hundred objects arrives in 7th Century Peru. Throughout this week Neil MacGregor is exploring along the …

Sutton Hoo Helmet

June 8th, 2010

14:03

The history of the world as told through one hundred objects. This week Neil MacGregor, the director of the British Museum, is exploring the world in …

Gold Coins of Abd al-Malik

June 7th, 2010

14:08

The history of the world as told through one hundred of the objects that time has left behind. The objects are from the British Museum and tell the …

Arabian Bronze Hand

June 4th, 2010

14:23

Throughout this week Neil MacGregor is looking at how the great faiths were creating new visual aids to promote devotion around the world of 1700 years ago. Having looked at emerging images from Hinduism, …

Hinton St Mary Mosaic

June 3rd, 2010

13:58

This week Neil MacGregor is exploring how many of the great religions, less than 2000 years ago, began creating sophisticated new images to aid prayer and focus devotion. Many of the artistic conventions created then …

Silver Plate Showing Shapur II

June 2nd, 2010

14:02

Throughout this week Neil MacGregor is describing how people across the globe around 1700 years ago found new images to express their religious beliefs. Today's object is a dramatic visualisation of power and faith in …

Gold Coin of Kumaragupta I

June 1st, 2010

14:19

This week Neil MacGregor is exploring how several of the great religions around the world, less than 2000 years ago, began creating sophisticated new images to represent their beliefs and their deities. Many of the …

Seated Buddha from Gandhara

May 31st, 2010

13:49

This week the history of the world as told through one hundred objects is looking at how the world's great religions began trying to find the perfect …

Hoxne Pepper Pot

May 28th, 2010

14:12

Neil MacGregor's world history told through objects at the British Museum arrives in Britain at the time of the Roman collapse. Throughout this week …

Admonitions Scroll

May 27th, 2010

14:20

Throughout this week, Neil MacGregor has been exploring pleasure and recreation across the world of 200 years ago. Today he arrives in China to explore a painting based on a poem that attempts to define the proper …

Ceremonial Ballgame Belt

May 26th, 2010

14:11

Neil MacGregor's history of humanity as told through one hundred objects that time has left behind. This week he is looking at objects of leisure and …

North American Otter Pipe

May 25th, 2010

14:10

The history of the world as explained through objects arrives in North America 2000 years ago and a stone pipe used in ritual. It is one of hundreds of pipes shaped as animals that were found in huge mounds in present …

Warren Cup

May 24th, 2010

14:05

Throughout this week Neil MacGregor, the director of the British Museum in London, is exploring the ways in which people were seeking pleasure around the world 2000 years ago, from pipe smoking in North America to court …

Head of Augustus

May 21st, 2010

14:03

Neil MacGregor concludes the first week of the second part of his global history as told through objects from the British Museum. This week he has …

Chinese Han lacquer cup

May 20th, 2010

14:07

In a week of programmes exploring the nature of power and the emergence of new rulers around the world 2000 years ago, Neil MacGregor takes us to Han …

Rosetta Stone

May 19th, 2010

14:05

Today's programme finds Neil MacGregor in the company of one of the best known inhabitants of the British Museum - the Rosetta Stone. Throughout this week he is exploring shifting empires and the rise of legendary …

Pillar of Ashoka

May 18th, 2010

14:11

The history of the world as told through objects at the British Museum arrives in India over 2000 years ago. Throughout this week Neil MacGregor is …

Head of Alexander

May 17th, 2010

13:52

Neil MacGregor opens the second part of his global history as told through objects from the British Museum in London. This week he is exploring the …

Chinese Bronze Bell

February 26th, 2010

14:05

Neil MacGregor continues to explore the emergence of sophisticated new powers across the world 2,500 years ago, from the Parthenon in Greece to the great empire of Cyrus in Persia and the forgotten people of the Olmec …

Olmec Stone Mask

February 25th, 2010

13:49

Neil MacGregor selects a miniature mask to tell the story of the Olmec, the mysterious people of ancient Mexico who lived before the time of the Aztecs or Maya.

As the Parthenon was being created in Greece and the …

Basse Yutz Flagons

February 24th, 2010

14:11

Neil MacGregor's history of the world recounted through objects at the British Museum arrives in Northern Europe 2,500 years ago.

Neil explores the early world of the Celts through two bronze drinking flagons, …

Parthenon Sculpture: Centaur and Lapith

February 23rd, 2010

14:11

Neil MacGregor examines the emergence of powerful new forces across the globe around the fifth century BC, from Confucius in China to Cyrus in …

Oxus Chariot Model

February 22nd, 2010

14:09

Neil MacGregor's world history told through objects at the British Museum arrives in Persia 2,500 years ago. Throughout this week, Neil examines …

Gold Coin of Croesus

February 19th, 2010

13:50

Neil MacGregor has been looking at the collapse of old regimes and the emergence of new powers from the Middle East to China. In this programme, he …

Paracas Textile

February 18th, 2010

14:02

The director of the British Museum, Neil MacGregor, retells the history of human development from the first stone axe to the credit card, using 100 selected objects from the Museum.

The theme so far has been one of …

Chinese Zhou Ritual Vessel

February 17th, 2010

13:56

The Director of the British Museum Neil MacGregor retells the history of human development from the first stone axe to the credit card, using 100 selected objects from the Museum.

Three thousand years ago the world was …

Sphinx of Taharqo

February 16th, 2010

13:40

Neil MacGregor continues to describe the power struggles across the globe around 3,000 years ago, as ambitious new forces set about creating the first cities and building sophisticated new societies - from the Middle …

Lachish Reliefs

February 15th, 2010

13:49

Neil MacGregor's history of the world told through objects from the British Museum arrives at the Palace of Sennacherib in Northern Iran.

Throughout …

Statue of Ramesses II

February 12th, 2010

13:49

Director of the British Museum Neil MacGregor retells the history of human development from the first stone axe to the credit card, using 100 selected objects from the Museum.

The story arrives in Egypt around 1250 BC. …

Mold Gold Cape

February 11th, 2010

14:16

Director of the British Museum Neil MacGregor retells the history of human development from the first stone axe to the credit card, using 100 selected objects from the Museum.

Neil MacGregor continues to explore the …

Minoan Bull Leaper

February 10th, 2010

14:08

Director of the British Museum Neil MacGregor retells the history of human development from the first stone axe to the credit card, using 100 selected objects from the Museum.

The series arrives in Crete around 1700 BC …

Rhind Mathematical Papyrus

February 9th, 2010

13:56

The Director of the British Museum, Neil MacGregor, retells the history of human development from the first stone axe to the credit card, using 100 selected objects from the Museum.

In a week that explores man's early …

Flood Tablet

February 8th, 2010

13:57

The Director of the British Museum, Neil MacGregor, retells the history of human development from the first stone axe to the credit card, using 100 selected objects from the Museum.

A small tablet was found in modern …

Early Writing Tablet

February 5th, 2010

13:54

This week's programmes looks at the growing sophistication of humans around the globe, between 5000 and 2000 BC. Mesopotamia had created the royal city of Ur, the Indus valley boasted the city of Harappa and the great …

Jade Axe

February 4th, 2010

14:00

This week's programmes look at the growing sophistication of modern humans around the globe between 5000 and 2000 BC. Mesopotamia had built the royal city of Ur, the Indus valley boasted the city of Harappa, and the …

Indus Seal

February 3rd, 2010

13:56

The ancient city of Harappa lies around 150 miles north of Lahore in Pakistan. It was once one of the great centres of a civilisation that has largely disappeared, one with vast trade connections and boasting several of …

Standard of Ur

February 2nd, 2010

14:21

Neil MacGregor examines the first great civilisations and one of the most spectacular discoveries of ancient royal goods. The magnificent gold and …

King Den's Sandal Label

February 1st, 2010

13:47

Director of the British Museum Neil MacGregor investigates the impact on human society of large numbers of people coming together in the world's first cities between 5000 and 2000 BC. As they did so, they developed new …

Jomon Pot

January 29th, 2010

14:02

The Director of the British Museum, Neil MacGregor, retells the history of human development from the first stone axe to the credit card, using 100 selected objects from the Museum.

Neil tells the story of a …

Maya Maize God Statue

January 28th, 2010

13:54

The Director of the British Museum, Neil MacGregor, retells the history of human development from the first stone axe to the credit card, using 100 selected objects from the Museum.

Neil focuses on the world of the …

Egyptian Clay Model of Cattle

January 27th, 2010

13:54

The Director of the British Museum, Neil MacGregor, retells the history of human development from the first stone axe to the credit card, using 100 selected objects from the Museum.

Neil selects four miniature clay cows …

Ain Sakri Lovers Figurine

January 26th, 2010

13:56

The Director of the British Museum, Neil MacGregor, retells the history of human development from the first stone axe to the credit card, using 100 selected objects from the Museum.

Neil investigates a palm-sized stone …

Bird-shaped Pestle

January 25th, 2010

13:53

Neil MacGregor continues his retelling of human history using 100 selected objects from the British Museum. This week he explores the profound changes that humans experienced at the end of the Ice Age. By this period, …

Clovis Spear Point

January 22nd, 2010

13:43

The Director of the British Museum, Neil MacGregor, retells the history of human development from the first stone axe to the credit card, using 100 selected objects from the Museum.

Neil describes an object that dates …

Swimming Reindeer

January 21st, 2010

13:46

The Director of the British Museum, Neil MacGregor, retells the history of human development from the first stone axe to the credit card, using 100 selected objects from the Museum.

Found in France and dating back …

Olduvai Handaxe

January 20th, 2010

13:58

The Director of the British Museum, Neil MacGregor, retells the history of human development from the first stone axe to the credit card, using 100 …

Olduvai Stone Chopping Tool

January 19th, 2010

14:02

The Director of the British Museum, Neil MacGregor, retells the history of human development from the first stone axe to the credit card, using 100 selected objects from the Museum.

Neil goes back two million years to …

Mummy of Hornedjitef

January 18th, 2010

13:48

The Director of the British Museum, Neil MacGregor, retells the history of human development from the first stone axe to the credit card, using 100 selected objects from the Museum.

At the age of eight, Neil visited the …

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