Today we will have two similar posts. They will both point to a podcast about ancient history and both these podcasts will teach something fascinating about ancient technologies (writing, metal working and more) even if both podcasts intend to actually talk about some other subject and bring these early technologies only up as an aside. Here is the second post.
I think I read somewhere that Professor Richard Bulliet is not just a specialist in the history of Iran. Take the early lecture of his history of Iran taught at Columbia University (iTunesU url, iTunesU feed) and you will experience he is also a historian of technology. When he speaks of the early history of Iran, he extensively and very vividly delves into the early technologies.
Right to the fine technical details he explains metal technologies and their development, from copper to the varieties of bronze to iron. Next he brings the development of the wheel to life. This is not just about round, rolling things, this is about axles, about the connection between the wheel and the axle. About number of wheels, about beasts of burden, about roads and only much much later wheelbarrows. This is not just enlightening for the background of Iran's history, this is fantastic world history.