Archive for the ‘paleolithic’ Tag

A History of the World in 100 Objects

This series, on BBC Radio 4, follows Neil MacGregor, Director of the British Museum, narrating humanity’s history through 100 objects. You can listen again using the BBC iPlayer.

Yesterday’s programme was on a two-million-year-old Olduvai stone chopping tool. Neil goes back to the Rift Valley in Tanzania, where a simple chipped stone marks the emergence of modern humans. He tells the story of the Olduvai stone chopping tool with contributions from flint napper Phil Harding, Sir David Attenborough and African Nobel Prize winner Dr Wangeri Maathai.

Today’s object was an Olduvai hand axe. In the presence of the most widely-used tool humans have created, Neil sees just how vital to our evolution this sharp, ingenious implement was and how it allowed the spread of humans across the globe.

Future episodes include a swimming reindeer carving, a Clovis spear point, and a bird-shaped pestle.