Neil MacGregor: 2600 years of history in one object

A clay cylinder covered in Akkadian cuneiform script, damaged and broken, the Cyrus Cylinder is a powerful symbol of religious tolerance and multi-culturalism. In this enthralling talk Neil MacGregor, Director of the British Museum, traces 2600 years of Middle Eastern history through this single object.

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The podcasts were first broadcast last year in two ten week series, last year. Excellent series (although someone did complain that they really wanted to see the objects, which is a bit of a challenge for a radio programme), and the Beeb also gave a chance for people to choose their own object http://www.bbc.co.uk/ahistoryoftheworld/

There is even a book to accompany the series.

One of my favourites is Hinton St Mary, with the mosiac (I'm a Romanist and I was brought up in Dorset), but probably the most emotional was was the Olduvai handaxe - I'd just handled one at the BM a couple of weeks before - there was something very special about it.