A History of the World in 100 Objects

A History of the World in 100 Objects

Welcome to A History of the World. Below you can find all 100 episodes in the series. Although the series has ended, you can continue to listen to the episodes on this page or download them to keep on your computer or mp3 player by following the links on the right.

Updated: occasionally
Episodes available for: Indefinitely
Series Feed: RSS

  • 19 May 13MB

    AHOW: A History of the World Special 18 May 2011

    Peter Lewis tells a story of love, separation and hardship, through the object he added to the BBC History of the World

    Duration: 28 mins

  • 22 Oct 7MB

    AHOW: 100 Solar-powered lamp and charger 22 Oct 2010

    A lamp that runs off sunlight. Neil MacGregor, Director of the British Museum, looks at the final object in the series:

    Duration: 14 mins

  • 21 Oct 7MB

    AHOW: 099 Credit card 21 Oct 2010

    A plastic credit card. Neil MacGregor, Director of the British Museum, explores the changing role of money in the modern

    Duration: 14 mins

  • 20 Oct 7MB

    AHOW: 098 Throne of Weapons 20 Oct 2010

    Chair made from decommissioned guns. Neil MacGregor, Director of the British Museum, explores the impact of weapons on

    Duration: 15 mins

  • 19 Oct 7MB

    AHOW: 097 Hockney's In the Dull Village 19 Oct 2010

    Print by the British artist David Hockney. Neil MacGregor, Director of the British Museum, explores the sexual

    Duration: 14 mins

  • 18 Oct 7MB

    AHOW: 096 Russian revolutionary plate 18 Oct 2010

    Decorated plate from St Petersburg. Neil MacGregor, Director of the British Museum, explores the Russian Revolution by

    Duration: 15 mins

  • 15 Oct 7MB

    AHOW: 095 Suffragette-defaced penny 15 Oct 2010

    A defaced coin from 1903. Neil MacGregor, Director of the British Museum, explores the rise of mass political engagement

    Duration: 15 mins

  • 14 Oct 7MB

    AHOW: 094 Sudanese slit drum 14 Oct 2010

    A wooden drum from central Africa. Neil MacGregor, Director of the British Museum, examines a buffalo-shaped drum from

    Duration: 14 mins

  • 13 Oct 7MB

    AHOW: 093 Hokusai's The Great Wave 13 Oct 2010

    Hokusai woodblock print. Neil MacGregor, Director of the British Museum, examines The Great Wave by Hokusai, one of the

    Duration: 14 mins

  • 12 Oct 7MB

    AHOW: 092 Early Victorian Tea Set 12 Oct 2010

    Wedgwood pottery tea set. Neil MacGregor, Director of the British Museum, looks at the history of Britain's relationship

    Duration: 15 mins

  • 11 Oct 7MB

    AHOW: 091 Ship's chronometer from HMS Beagle 11 Oct 2010

    A 19th century chronometer. Neil MacGregor, Director of the British Museum, looks at an instrument that first helped

    Duration: 15 mins

  • 08 Oct 7MB

    AHOW: 090 Jade bi 8 Oct 2010

    Inscribed jade disc. Neil MacGregor, Director of the British Museum, explores life in 18th-century China through a jade

    Duration: 15 mins

  • 07 Oct 7MB

    AHOW: 089 Australian bark shield 7 Oct 2010

    Aboriginal shield collected by Captain Cook. Neil MacGregor, Director of the British Museum, looks at a shield owned by

    Duration: 14 mins

  • 06 Oct 7MB

    AHOW: 088 North American buckskin map 6 Oct 2010

    Map of the area between the Mississippi and Ohio rivers. Neil MacGregor, Director of the British Museum, explores the

    Duration: 14 mins

  • 05 Oct 7MB

    AHOW: 087 Hawaiian feather helmet 5 Oct 2010

    Feather helmet worn by Hawaiian chief. Neil MacGregor, Director of the British Museum, examines a chieftain's helmet

    Duration: 14 mins

  • 04 Oct 7MB

    AHOW: 086 Akan Drum 4 October 2010

    18th century African drum. Neil MacGregor, Director of the British Museum, examines an African drum that was taken to

    Duration: 15 mins

  • 01 Oct 7MB

    AHOW: 085 Reformation Centenary Broadsheet 1 Oct 2010

    Broadsheet depicting the Reformation of the Christian Church. Neil MacGregor, Director of the British Museum, examines a

    Duration: 14 mins

  • 30 Sep 7MB

    AHOW: 084 Mexican Codex Map 30 Sept 2010

    Map showing details of the foundation of two towns in Mexico. Neil MacGregor, Director of the British Museum, examines

    Duration: 15 mins

  • 29 Sep 7MB

    AHOW: 083 Shadow Puppet of Bima 29 Sept 2010

    Puppet from the Indonesian island of Java. Neil MacGregor, Director of the British Museum, explores the relationship

    Duration: 15 mins

  • 28 Sep 7MB

    AHOW: 082 Miniature of a Mughal Prince 28 Sept 2010

    Miniature showing encounter between an Indian Mughal prince and a holy man. Neil MacGregor, Director of the British

    Duration: 15 mins

  • 27 Sep 7MB

    AHOW: 081 Shi'a Religious Parade Standard 27 Sept 2010

    Religious parade standard from Iran. Neil MacGregor, Director of the British Museum, explores the development of faiths

    Duration: 14 mins

  • 24 Sep 7MB

    AHOW: 080 Pieces of Eight 24 Sept 2010

    15th Century silver coins. Neil MacGregor, Director of the British Museum, examines pieces of eight - rough silver coins

    Duration: 14 mins

  • 23 Sep 7MB

    AHOW: 079 Kakiemon Elephants 23 Sept 2010

    A pair of Japanese porcelain elephants. Neil MacGregor, Director of the British Museum looks at how the skill of

    Duration: 14 mins

  • 22 Sep 7MB

    AHOW: 078 Double-headed Serpent 22 Sept 2010

    Turquoise ornament shaped as a serpent. Neil MacGregor, Director of the British Museum, describes the Aztecs, who

    Duration: 14 mins

  • 21 Sep 7MB

    AHOW: 077 Benin Plaque - the Oba with Europeans 21 Sept 2010

    Plaque showing aspects of Benin court life. Neil MacGregor, Director of the British Museum, examines some of Africa's

    Duration: 14 mins

  • 20 Sep 7MB

    AHOW: 076 The mechanical galleon 20 Sept 2010

    A small automaton, shaped like a galleon. Neil MacGregor, Director of the British Museum, explores the impact of travel,

    Duration: 14 mins

  • 17 Sep 7MB

    AHOW: 075 Durer's Rhinoceros 17 Sept 2010

    Albrecht Durer's famous engraving of an Indian rhino. Neil MacGregor, Director of the British Museum, tells the story of

    Duration: 15 mins

  • 16 Sep 7MB

    AHOW: 074 Jade Dragon Cup 16 Sept 2010

    Jade cup that belonged to one of the great leaders of the Timurid Empire. Neil MacGregor, Director of the British

    Duration: 14 mins

  • 15 Sep 7MB

    AHOW: 073 Inca Gold Llama 15 Sept 2010

    A simple, gold sculpture of a llama. Neil MacGregor, Director of the British Museum examines the animal that helped fuel

    Duration: 15 mins

  • 14 Sep 7MB

    AHOW: 072 Ming Banknote 14 Sept 2010

    A surviving example of one of the world's first paper banknotes - much bigger than the notes of today and dated 1375.

    Duration: 14 mins

  • 13 Sep 7MB

    AHOW: 071 Tughra of Suleiman the Magnificent 13 Sept 2010

    Personal signature of the great Ottoman ruler Suleiman the Magnificent. Neil MacGregor, Director of the British Museum

    Duration: 14 mins

  • 09 Jul 7MB

    AHOW: 070 Hoa Hakananai'a Easter Island Statue 9 Jul 2010

    Moai statue from the Island of Rapa Nui, also known as Easter Island. Director of the British Museum, Neil MacGregor,

    Duration: 15 mins

  • 08 Jul 7MB

    AHOW: 069 Statue of Huastec Goddess 8 Jul 2010

    Stone statue made in Mexico and associated with two goddesses. Director of the British Museum, Neil MacGregor examines a

    Duration: 14 mins

  • 07 Jul 7MB

    AHOW: 068 Shiva and Parvati Sculpture 7 Jul 2010

    Indian temple statue of divine Hindu couple, Shiva and Parvati. Director of the British Museum, Neil MacGregor,

    Duration: 14 mins

  • 06 Jul 7MB

    AHOW: 067 Icon of the Triumph of Orthodoxy 6 Jul 2010

    Icon from Constantinople showing the Triumph of Orthodoxy. Director of the British Museum, Neil MacGregor, tells the

    Duration: 15 mins

  • 05 Jul 7MB

    AHOW: 066 Holy Thorn Reliquary 5 Jul 2010

    Christian reliquary from medieval Europe. Director of the British Museum, Neil MacGregor, examines an object designed to

    Duration: 14 mins

  • 02 Jul 7MB

    AHOW: 065 Taino Ritual Seat 2 Jul 2010

    Wooden seat carved in the shape of an ancestor spirit by the Taino, one of the pre-European, native Caribbean peoples.

    Duration: 15 mins

  • 01 Jul 7MB

    AHOW: 064 The David Vases 1 Jul 2010

    A pair of vases from the Yuan dynasty in China, made from instantly-recognisable blue and white porcelain. Neil

    Duration: 15 mins

  • 30 Jun 7MB

    AHOW: 063 Ife Head 30 Jun 2010

    Head of an Oni, a ruler of Ife in Nigeria, one of medieval Africa's most powerful and wealthy kingdoms. With deeply

    Duration: 15 mins

  • 29 Jun 7MB

    AHOW: 062 Hebrew Astrolabe 29 Jun 2010

    Astronomical instrument from medieval Spain which could perform multiple tasks, from working out the time to preparing

    Duration: 15 mins

  • 28 Jun 7MB

    AHOW: 061 Lewis Chessmen 28 Jun 2010

    Ivory chess pieces found in the Outer Hebrides. They take us to the world of Northern Europe at a time when Norway ruled

    Duration: 15 mins

  • 25 Jun 7MB

    AHOW: 060 Kilwa pot sherds 25 Jun 2010

    Pieces of broken pottery found on the island of Kilwa Kisiwani, off the coast of Tanzania. Neil MacGregor, Director of

    Duration: 15 mins

  • 24 Jun 7MB

    AHOW: 059 Borobudur Buddha head 24 Jun 2010

    Head of a Buddha statue from Borobudur in Java. Neil MacGregor, Director of the British Museum, examines a stone head

    Duration: 15 mins

  • 23 Jun 7MB

    AHOW: 058 Japanese bronze mirror 23 Jun 2010

    Bronze mirror decorated with dancing cranes. Neil MacGregor, Director of the British Museum, looks at this mirror which

    Duration: 15 mins

  • 22 Jun 7MB

    AHOW: 057 Hedwig glass beaker 22 Jun 2010

    Glass beaker from central Europe probably made by a Muslim craftsman. Neil MacGregor, Director of the British Museum,

    Duration: 15 mins

  • 21 Jun 7MB

    AHOW: 056 Vale of York Hoard 21 Jun 2010

    Hoard of coins and other items buried in a silver cup. Neil MacGregor, Director of the British Museum, examines a great

    Duration: 15 mins

  • 18 Jun 7MB

    AHOW: 055 Chinese Tang figures 18 Jun 2010

    Ceramic figures from the burial of a Chinese Tang general. Neil MacGregor, Director of the British Museum, describes

    Duration: 15 mins

  • 17 Jun 7MB

    AHOW: 054 Statue of Tara 17 Jun 2010

    Statue of female Buddhist deity Tara from Sri Lanka, who represents mercy and compassion. Neil MacGregor, Director of

    Duration: 15 mins

  • 16 Jun 7MB

    AHOW: 053 Lothair Crystal 16 Jun 2010

    Crystal engraved with images from the Biblical story of Susanna. Director of the British Museum, Neil MacGregor, looks

    Duration: 14 mins

  • 15 Jun 7MB

    AHOW: 052 Harem wall painting fragments 15 Jun 2010

    Portraits from a wall painting of women from the caliph’s palace in Samara. Director of the British Museum Neil

    Duration: 15 mins

  • 14 Jun 7MB

    AHOW: 051 Maya Relief of Royal Blood-Letting 14 Jun 2010

    Maya temple carving showing a scene of ritual blood-letting. Neil MacGregor, Director of British Museum, looks at a

    Duration: 15 mins

  • 11 Jun 7MB

    AHOW: 050 Silk princess painting 11 Jun 2010

    Fragile silk painting telling story of industrial espionage. Neil McGregor, Director of the British Museum, explores the

    Duration: 15 mins

  • 10 Jun 7MB

    AHOW: 049 Korean roof tile 10 Jun 2010

    Roof tile with image of an intimidating face intended to scare evil spirits from a house. The tile is from Kyongju, the

    Duration: 15 mins

  • 09 Jun 7MB

    AHOW: 048 Moche Warrior pot 9 Jun 2010

    Pot in the shape of a kneeling warrior, made by the Moche in South America. Neil McGregor, Director of the British

    Duration: 15 mins

  • 08 Jun 7MB

    AHOW: 047 Sutton Hoo helmet 8 Jun 2010

    Helmet found in the grave of an Anglo-Saxon warrior king. Neil McGregor, Director of the British Museum, travels to East

    Duration: 15 mins

  • 07 Jun 7MB

    AHOW: 046 Gold coins of Abd Al-Malik 7 Jun 2010

    Gold coins from Syria. Neil McGregor, Director of the British Museum, looks at how the Syrian capital Damascus was

    Duration: 15 mins

  • 04 Jun 7MB

    AHOW: 045 Arabian Bronze Hand 4 Jun 2010

    Life sized bronze hand with writing on the back. Neil MacGregor, Director of the British Museum, explores the religious

    Duration: 15 mins

  • 03 Jun 7MB

    AHOW: 044 Hinton St Mary Mosaic 3 Jun 2010

    Mosaic of one of the earliest known images of Christ. Neil MacGregor, Director of the British Museum, looks at this

    Duration: 14 mins

  • 02 Jun 7MB

    AHOW: 043 Silver Plate Showing Shapur II 1 Jun 2010

    Silver plate showing Sasanian King Shapur II, who ruled Iran, Iraq and Afghanistan. Neil MacGregor, Director of the

    Duration: 15 mins

  • 01 Jun 7MB

    AHOW: 042 Gold Coin of Kumaragupta I

    Gold coin from the Gupta empire, showing a goddess and a horse. Neil MacGregor, Director of the British Museum, explores

    Duration: 15 mins

  • 31 May 7MB

    AHOW: 041 Seated Buddha of Gandhara 31 May 2010

    One of the earliest images of the seated Buddha. Neil MacGregor, Director of the British Museum, looks at how Buddhism

    Duration: 14 mins

  • 28 May 7MB

    AHOW: 040 Hoxne pepper pot 28 May 2010

    A silver pepper pot from a Roman treasure hoard found buried in England. Neil MacGregor, Director of the British Museum,

    Duration: 15 mins

  • 27 May 7MB

    AHOW: 039 Admonitions Scroll 27 May 2010

    Chinese scroll with advice for palace ladies on correct behaviour. Neil MacGregor, Director of the British Museum,

    Duration: 15 mins

  • 26 May 7MB

    AHOW: 038 Ceremonial Ballgame Belt 26 May 2010

    A ceremonial stone belt from central America. Neil MacGregor, Director of the British Museum, looks at the ceremonial

    Duration: 15 mins

  • 25 May 7MB

    AHOW: 037 North American Otter Pipe 25 May 2010

    Stone pipe shaped as an otter and used in ritual tobacco-smoking. The pipe is one of hundreds shaped as animals that

    Duration: 15 mins

  • 24 May 7MB

    AHOW: 036 Warren Cup 24 May 2010

    A silver cup that offers a rare glimpse into the world of sexual love in ancient Rome. Neil MacGregor, Director of the

    Duration: 15 mins

  • 21 May 7MB

    AHOW: 035 Head of Augustus 21 May 2010

    Head of Augustus, the first Roman emperor. Neil MacGregor, Director of the British Museum, looks at one of the world’s

    Duration: 15 mins

  • 20 May 7MB

    AHOW: 034 Chinese Han lacquer cup 20 May 2010

    A lacquer cup made on the orders of the Chinese Han dynasty emperor. Neil MacGregor, Director of the British Museum,

    Duration: 15 mins

  • 19 May 7MB

    AHOW: 033 Rosetta Stone 19 May 2010

    Ancient Egyptian stela with text in Greek, heiroglyphs and demotic. The Rosetta Stone is one of the British Museum’s

    Duration: 15 mins

  • 18 May 7MB

    AHOW: 032 Pillar of Ashoka 18 May 2010

    A fragment from a pillar edict of Indian ruler Ashoka. Neil MacGregor, Director of the British Museum, looks at how

    Duration: 15 mins

  • 17 May 7MB

    AHOW: 031 Coin with head of Alexander 17 May 2010

    Coin showing Alexander the Great, issued by one of his successors. Neil MacGregor, Director of the British Museum, tells

    Duration: 14 mins

  • 26 Feb 7MB

    AHOW: 030 Chinese bronze bell 26 Feb 2010

    A Chinese bell which plays different notes when hit in different places. Confucius believed in a society that worked in

    Duration: 15 mins

  • 25 Feb 7MB

    AHOW: 029 Olmec Stone Mask 25 Feb 2010

    A stone face made by Olmecs, the first Central American culture to build cities and develop writing. As the Parthenon

    Duration: 14 mins

  • 24 Feb 7MB

    AHOW: 028 Basse Yutz Flagons 24 Feb 2010

    The Basse Yutz Flagons - two bronze drinking flagons made by the Celts in Northern Europe 2,500 years ago and considered

    Duration: 15 mins

  • 23 Feb 7MB

    AHOW: 027 Parthenon sculpture: Centaur and Lapith 23 Feb 2010

    Sculpture of a half-man, half-horse rearing over a dead human from the Parthenon in Athens, Greece. Carved out of marble

    Duration: 15 mins

  • 22 Feb 7MB

    AHOW: 026 Oxus Chariot Model 22 Feb 2010

    This hand-sized model of a gold chariot pulled by four horses helps explain the rule of Cyrus, the 'king of kings', and

    Duration: 15 mins

  • 19 Feb 7MB

    AHOW: 025 Gold Coin of Croesus 19 Feb 2010

    One of the world’s earliest coins, minted in ancient Turkey about 2,500 years ago. Neil MacGregor, Director of the

    Duration: 14 mins

  • 18 Feb 7MB

    AHOW: 024 Paracas Textile 18 Feb 2010

    Pieces of cloth found wrapped around a mummified body on the coast of Peru. The early Peruvians went to astonishing

    Duration: 15 mins

  • 17 Feb 7MB

    AHOW: 023 Chinese Zhou ritual vessel 17 Feb 2010

    A Chinese bronze vessel used both for feasting and as an object to be buried alongside the dead for use in the

    Duration: 14 mins

  • 16 Feb 7MB

    AHOW: 022 Sphinx of Taharqo 16 Feb 2010

    A sphinx with the black African face of pharoah Taharqo of Kush, in Sudan. These days few people even know that the

    Duration: 14 mins

  • 15 Feb 7MB

    AHOW: 021 Lachish Reliefs 15 Feb 2010

    Stone carvings from the palace of King Sennacherib of Assyria, showing his army attacking the town of Lachish, near

    Duration: 14 mins

  • 12 Feb 7MB

    AHOW: 020 Statue of Ramesses II 12 Feb 2010

    Colossal statue of Ramesses II, one of ancient Egypt’s most famous and successful pharaohs. Neil MacGregor, Director

    Duration: 14 mins

  • 11 Feb 7MB

    AHOW: 019 Mold Gold Cape 11 Feb 2010

    A gold cape made almost 4,000 years ago and discovered in 1833, by a group of workmen looking for stones in a field near

    Duration: 15 mins

  • 10 Feb 7MB

    AHOW: 018 Minoan Bull Leaper 10 Feb 2010

    A small, bronze sculpture of a man leaping over a bull from the island of Crete is the starting point for an exploration

    Duration: 15 mins

  • 09 Feb 7MB

    AHOW: 017 Rhind Mathematical Papyrus 9 Feb 2010

    An ancient Egyptian papyrus from around 1550 BC, used to train scribes. It contains 84 different calculations to help

    Duration: 14 mins

  • 08 Feb 7MB

    AHOW: 016 Flood Tablet 8 Feb 2010

    A small tablet, found in modern Iraq, tells of a plan by the gods to destroy the world by means of a great flood.

    Duration: 14 mins

  • 05 Feb 7MB

    AHOW: 015 Early writing tablet 5 Feb 2010

    A small clay tablet made in Mesopotamia about 5,000 years ago. It is covered with sums but also some of the world’s

    Duration: 14 mins

  • 04 Feb 7MB

    AHOW: 014 Jade axe 4 Feb 2010

    A 6,000-year-old, polished, stone axe found in Canterbury but made in the Alps. Between 5,000 and 2,000BC Mesopotamia

    Duration: 14 mins

  • 03 Feb 7MB

    AHOW: 013 Indus seal 3 Feb 2010

    The ancient city of Harappa lies around 150 miles north of Lahore, in Pakistan. It was once one of the great centres of

    Duration: 14 mins

  • 02 Feb 7MB

    AHOW: 012 Standard of Ur 2 Feb 2010

    A set of mosaic scenes, mounted on a single box, show powerful images of battle and regal life. The Standard of Ur was

    Duration: 15 mins

  • 01 Feb 7MB

    AHOW: 011 King Den's Sandal Label 1 Feb 2010

    A small label, made from hippopotamus ivory and attached to the sandals of one of the earliest known kings of Egypt.

    Duration: 14 mins

  • 29 Jan 7MB

    AHOW: 010 Jomon Pot 29 Jan 10

    A 7,000-year-old Japanese clay pot has managed to remain almost perfectly intact. Pots began in Japan around 17,000

    Duration: 15 mins

  • 28 Jan 7MB

    AHOW: 009 Maya Maize God Statue 28 Jan 10

    This stone Maize God was discovered on the site of a major Mayan city in present-day Honduras and is wearing a headdress

    Duration: 14 mins

  • 27 Jan 7MB

    AHOW: 008 Egyptian Clay Model of Cattle 27 Jan 10

    Four frail-looking cows were made from Nile mud in Egypt 5,500 years ago, long before the time of the pyramids or the

    Duration: 14 mins

  • 26 Jan 7MB

    AHOW: 007 Ain Sakhri Lovers Figurine 26 Jan 10

    A palm-sized stone sculpture made in Northern Israel 12,000 years ago clearly shows a couple entwined in the act of

    Duration: 14 mins

  • 25 Jan 7MB

    AHOW: 006 Bird-shaped Pestle 25 Jan 10

    At the end of the Ice Age, one of the most important parts of human existence was finding enough food to survive. Taking

    Duration: 14 mins

  • 22 Jan 7MB

    AHOW: 005 Clovis Spear Point 22 Jan 2010

    This sharp spearhead helps us understand how humans spread across the globe. By 11,000 BC humans had moved from

    Duration: 14 mins

  • 21 Jan 7MB

    AHOW: 004 Swimming Reindeer 21 Jan 2010

    Found in France and dating back 13,000 years, this is a carving of two swimming reindeer. The creator of this carving

    Duration: 14 mins

  • 20 Jan 7MB

    AHOW: 003 Olduvai Handaxe 20 Jan 2010

    As early humans slowly began to move beyond their African homeland, they took with them one essential item - a handaxe.

    Duration: 14 mins

  • 19 Jan 7MB

    AHOW: 002 Olduvai Stone Chopping Tool 19 Jan 2010

    A simple chipped stone from the Rift Valley in Tanzania marks the emergence of modern humans. Faced with the needs to

    Duration: 15 mins

  • 18 Jan 7MB

    AHOW: 001 Mummy of Hornedjitef 18 Jan 10

    This ornate Egyptian coffin holds secrets to the understanding of their priests' religion, Egyptian society and its

    Duration: 14 mins

  • 11 Jan 1MB

    AHOW: Welcome

    Welcome to this new BBC podcast. If you subscribe to the podcast feed, you should receive the first episode of this

    Duration: 1 min