A Mild Retraction – BBC’s 100 Objects

Over the weekend I was listening to more of the BBC’s History of the World in 100 Objects and I feel that I have to take back some of my enthusiasm for the series.  The broad generalizations that the host makes about the artifacts and the conclusions drawn about modern and ancient humans are vapid and irresponsible in many cases.

The show is very much a propaganda piece for the British Museum–“oh, history is universal, human experience is universal”–not terribly surprising from a museum that is trying to hold onto their colonial spoils.

Besides all of that, the show can be deeply uninteresting and misses a lot of opportunities to talk about the context of the object–the materials involved, the excavation/accessioning process, etc.

I’ll listen to a few more before unsubscribing from the podcast altogether; I’m at 9 out of 100 objects, so a 10% sample may not be representative.

Anyone else have a listen and form an opinion?

Author: colleenmorgan

Dr. Colleen Morgan (ORCID 0000-0001-6907-5535) is the Lecturer in Digital Archaeology and Heritage in the Department of Archaeology at the University of York. She conducts research on digital media and archaeology, with a special focus on embodiment, avatars, genetics and bioarchaeology. She is interested in building archaeological narratives with emerging technology, including photography, video, mobile and locative devices. Through archaeological making she explores past lifeways and our current understanding of heritage, especially regarding issues of authority, authenticity, and identity.

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