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End of part one

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Paul Sargeant Paul Sargeant | 17:51 UK time, Friday, 26 February 2010

A brief pauseSo that's your lot for a few weeks. Thirty episodes in the first part of A History of the World in 100 Objects has taken us from around 2,000,000BC to about 300BC.

In terms of objects, our route through history so far could be plotted as: mummy, rock, rock, tusk, stone, kitchen utensil, figurine, figurine, idol, saucepan, designer label, box, stamp, axe, notepad, storybook, textbook, sports memorabilia, eveningwear, monument, war report, sculpture, bowl, cloak, coin, toy car, sculpture, wine glasses, pendant and a bell.

But storywise - and off the top of my head - I've learnt about flint knapping, ancient astrology, maths, pottery, myth, weaving, propaganda, drinking and Chinese philosophy, among others. Which, I think, is sort of the point that objects can tell you more than you may think at first glance.

If you're catching-up with the programmes then there are several choices. From Friday 5 February there is a weekly omnibus on Radio 4 in the evenings, which will look at the objects so far in sets of five. If you want to hear the original shows again, then you can listen to any of them online from the object page. Pick one from the list above and just look for the big pink button on the British Museum objects. Finally, if you want to take the episode away and listen elsewhere then you can now download the mp3 file from the object pages - the link is just under the 'Listen to this programme' button - or find them all on our podcast page.

We'll still be having features here on the blog while we wait for the new series to begin in May. There will be some behind-the-scenes stuff from the British Museum and I'll be looking at more objects around the country and elsewhere on the web, as well as taking a closer look at your objects.

So keep adding your objects to the site and let us know what you think about the series so far.

  • The photo is by hokutosuisse and it's used under licence.
  • Mark Damazer, Controller of Radio 4, has posted his thoughts on the first part of A History of the World, the wider project and the return of Book of the Week on the Radio 4 blog.

What do you think? Add a comment


  • Comment number 1.

    Congratulations on A History of the (Ancient) World (in 30 objects). I thought that Neil MacGregor was remarkably erudite on radio, the object-based approach to history works very well online, up there with Lord Clark of Civilisation (on television). As for Paul, David and your blog, perhaps you need to court controversy online?

  • Comment number 2.

    Listening to feed back we were amazed to hear that some people are unhappy with this programme. We think it is one of the best things that have been broadcast in recent years. The music is very evocative and leads into riveting listening and the fact that we can't see the items makes it even more interesting. We are even considering travelling to London to see the items in the 'flesh'. Please carry on as you are.
    Are you going to produce a book or CD??????

  • Comment number 3.

    I have really enjoyed this series and can't wait for the next "tranche." I'm American and listen to the podcast via iTunes, then come back to the website later to look at the photos. I'm going to miss what has become a pleasant daily ritual.

    I am an avid subscriber to numerous BBC podcasts, and I am wondering if the proposed BBC cutbacks will have any effect on the continued availability of podcasts in general. I hope not!

  • Comment number 4.

    Thank you for the break which I need to catch up, am currently two weeks behind! Love the series and can't wait to get to the British Museum to actually see some of the objects. Radio 4 at its best!

  • Comment number 5.

    Just listened to Radio 4 Feedback and was surprised to hear that some people don't like the programme. Mainly seemed to be people complaining about changes to the schedule. I think it's a fantastic programme one of the very best that Radio 4 has ever done and I shall be waiting impatiently for it to restart.

    Only one request, please can we have different music, or no music. I am starting to find the music (which I liked originally) incredibly irritating. It's especially bad when listening to podcasts, when you get the same intro repetitively - so even if it was still in the programme, please take it out of the podcast or give us a weekly omnibus!

  • Comment number 6.

    A fantastic programme, the most interesting new thing on the radio for ages.
    Another gem, perfect for developing on television.

  • Comment number 7.

    After listening to the podcast of Feedback (26 feb) and amazed with the comments people were making about the programme. I can’t find fault with the programme, although I don’t think it’s necessary to thank the user for downloading the podcast at the beginning of every podcast.

  • Comment number 8.

    Great to hear that everyone is enjoying the series. The views on Feedback did seem a little negative to me but everyone has their own opinion.

    val w - do go and visit the museum. You'll have great fun trying to track down the objects and also bump into hundreds of other extraordinary things along the way. And don't miss the Enlightenment Room, one of my favourite places in London.

    kleines c - are you encouraging us to be outrageous or just deliberately provocative? I'm sure we wouldn't want have an answerphone moment on the blog.

    And finally, TheMurtad - surely your mother told you to mind your Ps and Qs?

    Paul Sargeant - Blog editor

  • Comment number 9.

    Congratulations on the series.Is it possible to be informed exactly when the second tranche will begin in May?

  • Comment number 10.

    If I may address your question directly, Paul:

    " ... kleines c - are you encouraging us to be outrageous or just deliberately provocative?"

    I am not suggesting a Gilligan/Kelly, Brand/Ross or Elgin marbles provocation/outrage/controversy, either at the BBC or the British Museum, but I felt, for example, that David's blog entry about the concept of a 'golden age' merited serious debate online, and I was disappointed by the lack of response.

    I shall try and write something on the message boards for the second tranche.

  • Comment number 11.

    Well I wouldn't normally bother with jumping through the hoops needed to register with this site but felt I had to say how much I'm enjoying this series - mostly listened to whilst jogging; with the transcripts, where available they also make great English lessons for my work colleagues too!!

  • Comment number 12.

    Jonathan - Glad you made the jump. You've done the hard bit so feel free to come back and join in. Anyone else wondering about commenting, you just need to register. Usual stuff: name, a password and an email. Only takes two minutes and you can use the same account to add objects to the site.

    Philip - The programmes should start again on 17 May but that's not yet set in stone (or carved on a cuniform).

    kleines c - Glad you're not encouraging me to stir up the tabloids. Feel free to spread the word. It's an open forum and we welcome any discussions.

  • Comment number 13.

    So far, this has been very nearly the best programme on R4 for a long time: a great idea, splendid description and comment from Neil MacGregor, hitting exactly the right note.The only thing that stops it being totally the best is the dreadful "music". Why, why, why? It doesn't need music of any kind.Take a leaf out of In Our Time's book.

  • Comment number 14.

    With all the debate about BBC radio during this week it is good to know that we will have this wonderful series to look forward to in the months ahead. I do however have some concerns about Paul’s comment that “The programmes should start again on 17 May but that's not yet set in stone” !! Please reassure us it will be back.

    I have always been challenged by the more ancient aspects of history which only occasionally “light my fire”. I struggle to get a perspective on the significance of objects and how they fit the timeline in terms of developments in other countries and continents. This series addresses that issue for me, not in a way which is dumbed down but in a way that makes me want to know more through my own enquiry. Thanks for “lighting the fire” BBC and for goodness sake keep up the good work.

  • Comment number 15.

    Don't worry, humblechris. The series is definitely coming back - we've still got 70 objects to get through! So put it in your diary.

  • Comment number 16.

    AHOW is a great series, which I listen to as a podcast on my pocket PC. My podcast player displays the image embedded in the podcast - which for AHOW just shows a standard Radio 4 AHOW image.
    Whilst listening to the objects described I'm left wondering what they look like. Wouldn't it be great if the podcast embedded image showed the actual object for each podcast?
    I to am very eagerly awaiting the next "tranche"... Roll on May!

  • Comment number 17.

    Congratulations on a wonderful idea beautifully executed.Well done to all especially Neil Macgregor.My comment is about the Swimming Reindeer. I believe the religious connection outlined particularly by the Archbishop of Canterbury to be at the very least tenuous.How do we know that the man or woman who made this wonderful piece had any religious inclinations ? Perhaps one dark winters night sat in their cave they just wanted to make something lovely to put on the mantle piece? Or possibly they just wanted to make something to show the beauty of nature and wonder of the natural Universe? After all as Neil Macgregor points out they must have spent a long time watching it - hence the wonderful attention to detail on the carving.We will of course never know.However there is enough religion coming later in the programmes without claiming a connection so soon.Many thanks for a great series.

  • Comment number 18.

    Finding the omnibus editions is difficult; the iPlayer references for each omnibus edition can be found only if the particular omnibus edition is showing on iPlayer and within the current 7-day window, and the iPlayer pages do not carry any relevant 'more like this' references.

    Therefore, please could the main AHOW programme page (1) reference the omnibus page (2), and vice versa, or, even better, put all the programme references on the same page?



    P.S. Why is ahref link functionality not turned on in these comments as it is on other blogs?

  • Comment number 19.

    Hi Russ,

    Just spotted your comment. We'll take another look at how we direct people to the omnibus programmes when they come round again. You make a good point about the /programmes omnibus page.

    Not sure about the href funtionality. Looks like they did work in your post though. Sorry for any confusion.

  • Comment number 20.

    Well done for an excellent first part. It gave a glimpse into the kinds of consciousness that was beginning to make itself felt in the history of our race. Could it be that the semiconscious parts of our brains acted as a midwife to consciousness? This question was triggered when Neil MacGregor listed the many artistic styles of Ice age artist (Episode 4 of AHW the swimming reindeer) and caused me to look again at the pot and mat designs within the British Museum.
    In the repetition of the geometric themes it does suggest a process of reaching for a more conscious awareness of the functioning of our brains. It took a while but I have managed to post a blog on which illustrates this idea.

  • Comment number 21.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?

  • Comment number 22.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 23.

    Congratulations to the BBC for the excellent History of the World in 100 objects series. Please put it on CD. I would love to send it to my sister in Canada and buy another copy for my car.

    Thank you.

  • Comment number 24.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 25.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?

  • Comment number 26.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 27.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?

  • Comment number 28.

    Indeed I also had trouble finding the omnibus editions. it might be outside of the seven day window, but I tried the link (1) rule/programme and iPlayer can't find it also."

    please help :)

  • Comment number 29.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?

  • Comment number 30.

    May we have this available as a podcast or CD please. It is excellent

  • Comment number 31.

    I know what you mean. I would love to have it. I'd even purchase the CD. I still can't any of the omnibus to work. Nor any of the above. I did find that it is listed as internet/programme! I love it! I'll let my friends know.


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