A History of the World in 100 Objects…

Ok, my Kindle has officially packed up. Yes, first it just froze, then started working again a few weeks later, then while on the camping trip to Bucklegrove, the screen has gone.

Anyway, it’s paper books all the way for a while till that’s fixed. Either way, the Kindle wouldn’t have been able to present ‘the history’ in anywhere near the same high quality way, compared to the paper version. If I had an ipad, I could have downloaded it in full colour.

But, A History of the World in 100 Objects is well researched and interesting, with some very good images. There is a good background section to each of the objects and each is used to explain a period of human history, from the Stone Age to our present.

If anyone I know wants to borrow it then be my guest – it’s fairly expensive but well worth a look, especially if you are interested in history or human psychology. As a printed format, it works well and i’m not convinced that the original radio format was the best way to convey the details, given that seeing the objects is a major part of the experience of an object, for most people. A picture is worth a thousand words.

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History…

History seems to be popping up everywhere… Ok, yes, statement of the week! That’s obvious (well, more like popping out), but lately there have been quite a few separate events about history.

Andrew Marr’s ‘Making of Modern Britain’, just reading about theĀ First World War. This is particularly interesting as i’ve actually never learned about it – yes the school system is that good! ; ) Anyway, some very interesting things about the background behind what was happening and in particular the total bollocks that the famous persons of the day nearing made of the whole situation. Churchill and Lord Kitchener in particular, the latter the famous face of the ‘Your Country Needs You!’, were apparently busy ordering millions of the wrong shell types, building naval fleets which didn’t stop the Germans shelling east coast towns and the famous Gallipoli Campaign, where at least 50,000 British, Australian and New Zealand troops died in a futile exercise.

Last weekend I was in Bristol helping Mum shift some stuff around her house (which she’s in the process of moving out of), and picked up a book titled, ‘The Black Death’ – yes, very random but the few pages i’ve read are pretty shocking. Mum was an archaeologist in a previous life and still has the piles of books to prove it! The first line on the rear of the book reads, ‘At the most cautious estimate the Black Death killed one third of Europe’s inhabitants between 1347 and 1350.’

Through work, i’ve been focussing a lot more on the urban development of Gloucester and the specific development periods between the formation of the settlement by Romans in AD 86. This is for a site in the centre which is being argued over right now and because of the, shall we say, less than understanding approach of the architect, we’ve all become much better informed about the local context!

There was a Channel 5 program on last night on Egypt, which me and Jamie watched – Jamie was very excited about the shots of the Pyramids! He was just chattering away about all the tunnels and sand and beaches and columns (!) and trees etc.

It was generally about the Valley of the Kings and how burials of Pharaohs shifted from Pyramids and above ground structures, to underground tunnels etc in different areas. It showed some very cool graphics of all the tunnel burial systems and how they thought that getting deeper in the ground meant getting closer to the Nether world, and therefore closer to their ultimate goal – apparently not to hide their tombs, given that hundreds of workers would have built the tombs and therefore would have known the locations.

Another part talked about how once the Pharaohs burial sites shifted to a different capital, there was no royal structure to pay the wages of the skilled workers who created the tombs. The state then shifted to official tomb raiding to ‘recycle’ the massive amounts of gold in the tombs.

Claire also just told me about a friend of hers who is thinking about doing a degree in history through the OU. Nice one!

I’ve been thinking about signing up to a drawing course for a while – this might inspire me!

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