100 objects

There’s a series on the radio which was first broadcast in 2010 by the BBC called ‘A History of the World in 100 objects’ presented by Neil MacGregor who was at the time the director of the British Museum. Apparently it took four years to plan and prepare, and the objects ranged across the whole world from the earliest artefacts created by the ancestors of humans through to the latest technological item.

Its sections were subtitled

  • Making us human (2,000,000–9,000 BC)
  • After the Ice Age: food and sex (9,000–3,000 BC)
  • The first cities and states (4,000–2,000 BC)
  • The beginning of science and literature (1500–700 BC)
  • Old world, new powers (1100–300 BC)
  • The world in the age of Confucius (500–300 BC)
  • Empire builders (300 BC – AD 1)
  • Ancient pleasures, modern spice (AD 1–600)
  • The rise of world faiths (AD 200–600)
  • The Silk Road and beyond (AD 400–700)
  • Inside the palace: secrets at court (AD 700–950)
  • Pilgrims, raiders and traders (AD 900–1300)
  • Status symbols (AD 1200–1400)
  • Meeting the gods (AD 1200–1400)
  • The threshold of the modern world (AD 1375–1550)
  • The first global economy (AD 1450–1600
  • Tolerance and intolerance (AD 1550–1700)
  • Exploration, exploitation and enlightenment (AD 1680–1820)
  • Mass production, mass persuasion (AD 1780–1914)
  • The world of our making (AD 1914–2010)

Since it was a radio series, it relied on the listener being able to imagine the object and the description by MacGregor of it. There were, as you may guess, ways of viewing these objects, on-line and through an accompanying book. It was such an interesting idea, taking an object and telling a story through it.. I was intrigued by this when the series was first broadcast, and I’ve drifted back to the idea of using items as props or prompts to story-telling, trues stories or imagined ones. In my perpetual struggle over how to write my own life story, I’ve even thought about using objects I have or I remember to tell my story… if I did what should I choose? It wouldn’t be necessary to start at the beginning, although if I did, my first object may very well be my teddy-bear who was given to my by my godmother!

My featured image is a match case belonging to my great grandfather Louis Walford who died in 1895.

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