The flickering flame of civilization

The bronze age is a connected world. But it can't sustain itself; it's too rigid, elitist and top-heavy – and civilisation is a bit like a flickering flame. It almost goes out, but in certain places it keeps going and it will spread out again.

In the concept of civilisation, there is an inherent notion that things are always going to get better. I quite clearly break with that; I think of it being more like a heart monitor, zig-zagging up and down. The interesting thing about civilisation is our need to try to develop the perfect community for ourselves, and how we fail, but also how we come back to try again.

Richard Miles discusses the ebb and flow of human civilization. He's presenting a six-part series called Ancient Worlds on BBC Two starting in November. My inner history and archeology geek is definitely excited about this one.