A History Of The World In 100 Objects - BBC Transcript by Neil MacGregor PDF

By Neil MacGregor

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I've chosen just a hundred objects from different points on our journey -from a cooking pot to a golden galleon, from a Stone Age tool to a credit card, and in each programme I'm going to be talking about one object from the British Museum's collection. ' We will get to the very beginning of human history, but I'm not going to start there because I want to begin with the mummies -which is where I began when I first came through these doors into the British Museum in 1954 at the age of eight, and I think that's where most people begin when they first visit a museum.

But there's another question that follows quite quickly once you start looking at these very ancient things. Our modern human species, 'homo sapiens' ('thinking man' in the Latin), evolved in Africa at least 150,000 years ago. But around 50,000 years ago, something dramatic seems to have happened to the human brain, because across the world, humans start to make patterns that decorate and intrigue, to make jewellery to adorn the body, and representations of the animals that share their world with them.

It's in fact a piece of grey-green volcanic rock, a very beautiful grey-green, and it's in the shape of a tear-drop, and it's a lot more versatile than a modern straight axe would be. The stone has been chipped to give you sharp edges along the long sides of the tear-drop, so to speak, and to give you a sharp point at one end. When you hold it up against a human hand, you are struck by how closely it matches the shape, although this one is unusually large and it is bigger than most human hands would be.

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A History Of The World In 100 Objects - BBC Transcript by Neil MacGregor


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