This event will celebrate Human Rights Day by discussing two foundational legal documents, Magna Carta and the Charter of the Forest. Magna Carta was issued in June 1215, the first document to put into writing the principles that the king and the government was not above the law. Magna Carta was intended to prevent the king from exploiting regal powers, and placed limits of royal authority by establishing law as a unique and accountable authority. The Sandwich Magna Carta was discovered in 2015, 800 years later, in a Victorian scrapbook along with an original Charter of the Forest. The Forest Charter was issued to complement Magna Carta and regulate the administration of large sections of England governed under forest rather than common law. The Preservation Research and Testing Division (PRTD) at the Library of Congress had the opportunity through a collaborative agreement, to explore and recover damaged original text and understand the background of these significant documents. This panel, which includes Jake Nadal, Fenella France, and Chris Woods, will discuss the history of the charters and what the heritage science analyses could reveal, centuries later.
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