In the 20th century the scope of historical evidence was greatly expanded to include, among many other things, aerial photographs, the rings of trees, old coins, clothes, motion pictures, and houses.Modern historians have determined the age of the Shroud of Turin, which purportedly bears the image of Jesus, through carbon-14 dating and have discredited the claim of Anna Anderson to be the grand duchess Anastasia, the daughter of Tsar Nicholas II, through DNA testing Just as the methods at the disposal of historians have expanded, so have the subjects in they have become interested.Through these means even the most oppressed peoples—African-American slaves or medieval heretics, for example—have had at least some of their history restored.
Oral history is still important in all parts of the world, and successful transmission of stories over many generations suggests that people without writing can have a sophisticated historical sense.
It will never do so: examination of its past reveals remarkable changes in historical consciousness rather than steady progress toward the standards of research and writing that represent the best that historians can do today.
Nevertheless, 21st-century historians understand the pasts of more people more completely and more accurately than their predecessors did.
In the 20th century, however, historians shifted their focus from statesmen and generals to ordinary workers and soldiers.
Until relatively recent times, however, most men and virtually all women were excluded from history because they were unable to write.