Barry Cunliffe introduced by Tim Whitmarsh


By Steppe, Desert and Ocean is nothing less than the story of how humans first started building the globalised world we know today. Set on a huge continental stage from Europe to China, Barry Cunliffe, one of the world’s most celebrated archaeologists, tells a tale covering over 10,000 years, from the origins of farming around 9000 BC to the expansion of the Mongols in the 13th century AD. An unashamedly ‘big history’, it charts the development of European, Near Eastern and Chinese civilisations and the growing links between them by way of the Indian Ocean, the Silk Roads and the great steppe corridor, which crucially allowed horse riders to travel from Mongolia to the Great Hungarian Plain within a year. Along the way, it is also the story of the rise and fall of empires, the development of maritime trade and the shattering impact of predatory nomads on their urban neighbours.