Neil MacGregor discovers the oldest ball game on earth. Read more
Ancient Pleasures, Modern Spice (1 - 600 AD)
Ceremonial Ballgame Belt
Neil MacGregor discovers the oldest ball game on earth.
Neil MacGregor examines an ancient Chinese scroll that rules on how women should behave.
Hoxne Pepper Pot
Neil MacGregor uses a silver pepper pot to tell of the Roman spice trade with India.
The Rise of World Faiths (200 - 600 AD)
Seated Buddha from Gandhara
Neil MacGregor tells the story of one of the world's best known figures, the Buddha.
Gold Coin of Kumaragupta I
Neil MacGregor examines the rise of religious imagery in India under the Guptas.
Silver Plate Showing Shapur II
Neil MacGregor examines a dramatic image of power and faith from ancient Iran.
Hinton St Mary Mosaic
Neil MacGregor encounters one of the earliest images of Christ.
Arabian Bronze Hand
A mysterious bronze hand helps tell the story of religious belief in Arabia before Islam.
The Silk Road And Beyond (400 - 700 AD)
Gold Coins of Abd al-Malik
Two gold coins from Syria which sum up one of history's greatest political upheavals.
Sutton Hoo Helmet
Neil MacGregor with one of the most sensational finds from Anglo-Saxon Britain.
Moche Warrior Pot
Neil MacGregor examines a pottery warrior figure from a forgotten people in Peru.
Korean Roof Tile
Neil MacGregor delves into the history of an artefact from Korea.
Silk Princess Painting
Neil MacGregor examines a painting from the Silk Road.
Inside The Palace: Secrets At Court (700 - 950 AD)
Maya Relief of Royal Blood-Letting
A disturbing, bloody image from the ancient Mayan civilisation.
Harem wall painting fragments
Neil MacGregor on mysterious faces from a harem in an ancient city north of Baghdad.
Neil MacGregor examines an engraved crystal and royal intrigue at the heart of Europe.
Statue of Tara
Neil MacGregor looks at a beguiling statue of the Buddhist deity Tara.
Chinese Tang tomb figures
Neil MacGregor examines a collection of tomb figures from Tang dynasty China.
Pilgrims, Raiders and Traders (900 - 1300 AD)
Vale of York Hoard
Neil MacGregor explores a great Viking silver hoard discovered in North Yorkshire.
Hedwig glass beaker
Neil MacGregor with a glass vessel linked with a saintly miracle worker.
Japanese bronze mirror
Neil MacGregor tells the story of a bronze mirror found in a sacred pond in Japan.
Borobudur Buddha head
Neil MacGregor examines a stone head of the Buddha from Borobudur on the island of Java.
Kilwa pot sherds
Neil MacGregor sifts through broken pot fragments from an African beach.
Status Symbols (1200 - 1400 AD)
Neil MacGregor examines a board game found in the Outer Hebrides.
Neil MacGregor examines an extraordinary astronomical instrument.
Neil MacGregor examines a magnificent brass head from the African city of Ife.
The David Vases
Neil MacGregor examines a pair of porcelain vases from Yuan dynasty China.
Taino Ritual Seat
Neil MacGregor tells the story of a ritual seat from a lost Caribbean culture.
Meeting The Gods (1200 - 1400 AD)
Holy Thorn Reliquary
Neil MacGregor examines a reliquary made for a thorn from Christ's crown of thorns.
Icon of the Triumph of Orthodoxy
Neil MacGregor tells the story of a 14th-century icon from the Byzantine Empire.
Shiva and Parvati Sculpture
Neil MacGregor examines a stone sculpture of the Hindu deity Shiva and his consort Parvati
Statue of Huastec Goddess
Neil MacGregor examines a sculpture of a goddess made by the Huastec people of Mexico.
Hoa Hakananai'a Easter Island Statue
Neil MacGregor discusses one of the extraordinary giant figures from Easter Island.
The Threshold of the Modern World (1375-1550 AD)
Tughra of Suleiman the Magnificent
Neil MacGregor with the personal monogram of Suleyman the Magnificent.
Neil MacGregor with a 14th century bank note - from Ming Dynasty China.
Inca Gold Llama
Neil MacGregor with a model of a llama - the animal behind the Inca Empire.
Jade Dragon Cup
Neil MacGregor with a jade cup that belonged a great leader of the Timurid Empire.
Neil MacGregor discusses Durer's Rhinoceros.
The First Global Economy (1450 - 1600 AD)
The mechanical galleon
Neil Macgregor with a clockwork galleon designed for a grand dinner table.
Benin plaque - the Oba with Europeans
Neil MacGregor with some of the best examples of African art, the great plaques of Benin.
Neil MacGregor with one of the stars of the British Museum - an Aztec serpent.
Neil MacGregor with porcelain white elephants from Japan.
Pieces of eight
Neil MacGregor with the first truly global money - silver pieces of eight.
The 100th Object
Evan Davis runs through the contenders for A History of the World's last object.
Tolerance and Intolerance (1550 - 1700 AD)
The Shi'a religious parade standard
Neil Macgregor with a powerful symbol from Shia Iran.
Miniature of a Mughal prince
Neil MacGregor with a miniature painting from Mughal India.
Shadow Puppet of Bima
Neil MacGregor explores religion and politics in South East Asia - through a shadow puppet
Mexican codex map
Neil MacGregor explores the Spanish religious conquest of Mexico with a map.
Reformation centenary broadsheet
Neil MacGregor with a souvenir of the 100th anniversary of the Protestant reformation.
Exploration, Exploitation and Enlightenment (1680 - 1820 AD)
Neil MacGregor with an African drum taken to America during the slave trade.
Hawaiian feather helmet
Neil MacGregor with a feathered helmet given to Captain Cook by Pacific Islanders.
North American buckskin map
Neil MacGregor with a buckskin map from North America.
Australian bark shield
Neil MacGregor with an aboriginal bark shield brought from Australia by Captain Cook.
Neil MacGregor with an object from the 18th century Chinese Enlightenment - a jade ring.
Mass Production, Mass Persuasion (1780 - 1914 AD)
Ship's chronometer from HMS Beagle
Neil MacGregor with the chronometer that accompanied Darwin to South America.
Early Victorian tea set
Neil MacGregor tells the story of the global trade in tea - with a Victorian tea set.
Hokusai's The Great Wave
Neil MacGregor with a familiar image - Hokusai's The Great Wave.
Sudanese slit drum
Neil MacGregor with a wooden drum from Sudan that Kitchener presented to Queen Victoria.
Neil MacGregor with a penny coin defaced by suffragettes with the words "Votes for women".
The World of Our Making (1914 - 2010 AD)
Russian revolutionary plate
Neil MacGregor nears the end of his world history - with a Russian revolutionary plate.
Hockney's In the Dull Village
Neil MacGregor considers the state of human rights - with a David Hockney print.
Throne of Weapons
Neil MacGregor with an African throne - made from decommissioned guns.
Neil MacGregor with a credit card - one that is compliant with Sharia law.
Solar-powered lamp and charger
Neil MacGregor's last object in his world history - a solar-powered lamp and charger.
The man who got Delhi on track
India's capital city built a Metro to tackle its traffic and air pollution problems
Melisende, Queen of Jerusalem
Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss the most powerful woman in the C12th Kingdom of Jerusalem
Quarrels, Women and Bad Magic
Why were witches mainly women? Scotland's war with Satan continues into the 17th century.
The Legacy of the Trojan War
Why do the legendary walls of a Bronze Age city still cast such a long shadow?
The History of General Elections
Greg Jenner and the team head to the polls to discover the history of General Elections.