History in the Media


HERMITAGE OUTPOST

A deal has been signed by Vladimir Putin and Romano Prodi to create a branch of St Petersburg's Hermitage State Museum in the 14th-century Castello Estense, Ferrara, in Italy. The venture will be paid for by the two countries. The Castello Estense will open its first Hermitage exhibition in the autumn, on 16th-century Ferrara school art. (March 19th)

PRESIDENTIAL SECRETS

The US House of Representatives has voted to allow greater access to the papers of former presidents. Since 2001 historians have had to show a 'specific need' to study former presidents' documents, while vice-presidents and the designees of deceased presidents could block such moves. The vote means former presidents would have 40 days to oppose the study of their papers and a serving president would have the authority to override this. (March 16th)

HERITAGE PROTECTION

The Department for Culture, Media and Sport has proposed a new system of managing heritage sites. Heritage Protection for the 21st Century, the first government white paper on the historic environment for a generation, promises a 'simpler and more efficient system' which will increase public involvement. Proposals include replacing the listing, scheduling and registering systems with one single system for designating historic places, and strengthening protections for World Heritage Sites and archaeological remains in the marine environment and on cultivated land. (March 8th)

COMMON ANCESTRY?

Geneticists working on DNA data from across the British Isles are presenting the theory that the inhabitants of Britain and Ireland are more closely related than previously thought. Until now the ancestry of the population of each island was believed to be disparate, Irish descending from Celts and the English from the Anglo-Saxons. However, the results of the DNA tests show overall genetic similarities which suggest that a single people have been the majority inhabitants of both islands, with external gene pools from invading peoples such as Celts, Romans, Angles, Saxons, Vikings and Normans forming only a minor addition. (March 7th)

THE PARTY'S OVER

Archaeologists in Pakistan are calling for a complete ban on the use of historical sites for private functions. The Punjab Archaeology Department (PAD) fears heritage areas are being damaged by permitting them to be used as event venues, following the use of Lahore Fort as the location for a fashion show. Director General of the PAD, Oriya Maqbool Jan, is concerned that decorating and dressing the sites for events is causing damage. The proposed ban, would apply to places such as Dewan-e-Aam, Dewan-e-Khas, Sheesh Mahal and Jahangir's Quadrangle.

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