Weekly theme: After the Ice age - food and sex
Last week we heard about how making and using objects made us human. This week, we find the last Ice Age drawing to a close, about 10,000 years ago, and our ancient ancestors understanding and developing ideas about two of the most fundamental of human concerns: food and sex.
Jill Cook, curator of the oldest objects at the British Museum, told me about the impact of the outstanding development of the age: farming.
Before farming we had to go with the seasons, follow the animals and respect the natural world as very much part of it. Once we became farmers our relationship with nature changed. It became a relationship which wants to dominate nature, to change and control it.
Harnessing nature by cultivating crops and domesticating animals was a slow revolution that took centuries and occurred independently in about seven different parts of the world. But its effect went much further than food supply.
Farming meant people could stay in one place for much longer and to envisage, and invest in, the future by clearing the land and planting crops. The development of farming encouraged the development of villages, and gave us the chance to plan ahead.
We start to stay in one place and we become ever more reliant on things. People who haven't got land need to make things to trade for food. We start to distrust each other, so we have to make notes about what we've traded. If we haven't got goods to trade, we need money. We also need pots to cook and store things in.
Our population begins to build. Politics and hierarchies develop. All the things which are part of our modern world, including the devastating effects of climate change, crop failure and famine, began at this point.
This week's objects tell the story of humans finding new ways to find food, new ways to live, and starting to understand the male role in reproduction.
There's domesticated beasts in the Egyptian clay model of cattle; new food preparation tools in the shape of the Jomon pot from Japan and Bird-shaped pestle from Papua New Guinea; the Maya maize god worshipped in Mexico to explain seasonal crop cycles, and the early contemplation of the sexual act in the lovers figurine from the Middle East.
Despite a distance of 10,000 years, the impact of this age on our lives is clear: the towns and cities we live in, the pots we use to cook our dinner and even the markets we buy it from - puts a new perspective on seasonal veg when you consider those people who in millennia past developed the tools and knowledge to make it possible, doesn't it?
It might only be week two, but in these objects we find the roots of the modern world - to subvert the old cliché, perhaps the ancient past isn't such a foreign country after all?