Magazine article History Today

History in the Media. (Frontline)

Magazine article History Today

History in the Media. (Frontline)

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Archaeologists have discovered a Jewish ritual bath -- or mikvah -- in London, the only surviving evidence of the first Jewish community in the medieval city. The bath, built before the expulsion of the Jews from England in 1290, was found in the cellar of a 13th-century house in Milk Street in the City of London. Jewish women would have bathed in the mikvah as part of a ritual cleansing before entering a synagogue or attending a wedding. One other similar bath survives in England, discovered at Jacob's Well, Bristol in 1987. (October 25th)

A new bridge over a Norwegian motorway is the unlikely site for a structure first planned by Leonardo da Vinci. Originally designed to cross the Golden Horn at Istanbul in 1520, the bridge was dismissed as unrealistic by Sultan Beyazit II. After seeing the sketch, a Norwegian planner was determined to build the `pressed-bow' structure, so named for its wooden arches shaped like a series of archer's bows to support the pathway. The version in Aas township has been scaled down from Leonardo's 364m bridge to a more modest 100m. (November 1st)

Archaeologists have identified one of Britain's largest prehistoric hill forts in the North Yorkshire Moors. The 40-acre site at Sutton Bank, near Thirsk, has been dated to 400BC in a survey by English Heritage and the North York Moors National Park Authority. The structure was first mapped as an earthwork by the Ordnance Survey in the mid-19th century, only to be wrongly identified subsequently as part of the nearby medieval boundary ditches. Despite wartime aerial photographs of the area, there was no inkling of the true identity of the site until this summer. (November 2nd)

Three communications towers are to be listed, in recognition of their importance in British postwar technology. London's 1960s BT Tower -- also known as the Post Office Tower -- is joined by the 900ft Emley Moor ITV mast in the Yorkshire Pennines, and the Durham county police communications tower at Aykley Heads, both designed by Arup. (November 6th)

A national database of war memorials, listing 45,000 UK sites, has been launched at the Imperial War Museum. Entries relate largely to the 20th century and include plaques in churches, schools and hospitals, gardens and commemorative buildings. A joint initiative between the IWM and the Royal Commission on the Historic Monuments of England, the inventory is available in the Museum's reading rooms. Fieldwork is continuing in Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales. (November 8th)

Many of Italy's most famous museums and historic sites will in future be run by private companies. Already approved by Prime Minister Berlusconi, the plans will be voted into law next month, and are designed to halt years of neglect and lack of funds at the numerous sites around Italy. …

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