History in the Media

History Today, August 2000 | Go to article overview

History in the Media


News

The site of the largest Roman civilian settlement within the Hadrian's Wall world heritage site has been identified near the Cumbrian town of Mary-port. The town, extending for nearly a quarter of a mile, indicates the importance of the north-west coast in Roman trading networks. (May 29th and June 13th)

Two submerged Egyptian cities have been rediscovered by archaeologists working near Alexandria. Herakleion and Menouthis, known from Classical Greek writings, were covered by the waters over 1,000 years ago. However, archaeologists have found that their ruins lie only five metres below the surface, thinly covered by sand. (June 5th)

The Turkish President, Ahmet Necdet Sezer, has offered a temporary reprieve for the Roman garrison city of Zeugma, due to be flooded with the construction of the Birecik dam on the Euphrates. The additional ten days granted for the excavations should allow archaeologists to rescue more of the 3rd-century AD mosaics, being uncovered from the sites of Roman villas. (June 6th)

Stealing History, a report by the Museums Association and the International Council of Museums, has accused Britain of being a core market for the trade of illicitly acquired antiquities. The high percentage of unprovenanced articles auctioned in London is seen by the report's authors as `inherently implausible'. ICOM is particularly concerned about the levels of violence and looting of objects in countries such as Mali, Cambodia, Mexico and Iraq. (June 13th)

The manuscript collection built up by 16th-century archbishop of Canterbury, Matthew Parker, will be open to the public for the first time in four centuries in a planned new library at Corpus Christi college in Cambridge. Under the direction of Elizabeth I, Parker sought out manuscripts setting out the history of the English church, including gospels from 6th-century Italy and 8th-century Northumbria. (June 6th)

The Nelson Society has criticised the proposed sale of the Cornish hotel where news of the victory at Trafalgar was first announced. The Union Hotel in Penzance, currently home to Nelson memorabilia and the Trafalgar Bar, would be renamed Hypatia House -- after the 5th-century AD Egyptian female mathematician -- and become a centre for courses on the historical understanding of female achievements. (June 13th)

New research on the Roman city of Pompeii has revealed that an earthquake struck a few days before the eruption of Vesuvius in AD 79, and that much of the city was still being rebuilt after an earlier quake in AD 62. Antonio Verone, the former director of excavations at the site, also claims that Pompeii was a divided town, with opulence coexisting next to extreme poverty. (June 13th)

A report by English Heritage lists many neglected civic buildings at risk of decay. The mostly Victorian and Edwardian buildings -- listed as Grade II and so not subject to such stringent controls -- have suffered from the lack of public resources for routine maintenance, including Birmingham's 19th-century town hall, now considered in danger. Elsewhere, the World Monuments Fund has included a 19th-century marble column in Ireland on its annual list of the world's most endangered heritage sites. …

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