Pumpelly, Raphael & Davis, William M., & Huntington, Ellsworth; Explorations in Turkestan with an Account of the Basin of Eastern Persia and Sistan. Expedition of 1903, under the direction of Raphael Pumpelly. Carnegie Institution of Washington, Publication No. 26, Washington, D.C. 1905. Folio, pp. viii, 324, 1 coloured plate, 1 large folding chart, 4 maps (some folding), 174 text illustrations, diagrams, maps, photos.
The work is complete and bound in a contemporary brown cloth with gilt titles and original title wrap bound in. The binding is tight and clean, text is clean with Harvard book plate on paste down and blind stamp on original title wrap. In very good condition.
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Pumpelly (1837-1923); was one of America's more noted economic geologist. He was educated at the Frieberg Mining Academy. His career spanned a period considered the "gilded age" of geology and he is considered by historians of geology to be one of the last giants of that period. His career included one of the first thorough studies of a silver mine in Arizona, some of the first studies of copper ores using a petrographic microscope, field studies in the Green Mountains of New England with the results helping to end the famed "Taconic Controversy". His first love was exploration and field work which in his own words is where he felt "at home". He travelled extensively in Asia between 1862 and 1865 and again in 1903-04. ?The results of his travels in 1903-1904 are encompassed in his “Explorations in Turkestan”. The 1903-04 expedition was the realization of a plan of Pumpelly’s to prove the relationship of climate changes in central Asia to the migrations of peoples and the evolution of civilizations. The idea was based on fragmentary suggestions of Chinese history regarding ancient cities and their inhabitants and the conclusions from geographic and geologic evidence which might give proof to the hypothesis of a changing climate. Ancient Chinese maps and records indicated the presence of a civilization in the Tarim Basin in Chinese Turkestan and the presence of lost cities buried by sands nearly 2000 years earlier. These manuscripts and maps were seen by Pumpelly during his stay in China in 1862-1863 and he had never forgotten them.?Pumpelly was furnished with needed funds for two expeditions to Turkestan by the Carnegie Institution in Washington. The 1903 expedition reconnoitered the region and seek evidence of geologic changes in association with those of ancient civilizations and a 1904 expedition to excavate ruins.
Pumpelly assigned W. M. Davis, Ellsworth Huntington and his son Raphael W. Pumpelly
the studies of the physical basis of the human history and to prove or disprove his hypothesis. He turned to the archeological evidence.
The expeditions led to important contributions to our knowledge of glacial and post-glacial conditions in central Asia and how those changes in climatic conditions effected the rives, streams, vegetation, soils and the existence of large lakes in the region. These changes led to the rise and decline of early civilizations.
Pumpelly’s published work on Turkestan outlines the archaeological investigation of historic mounds (kurgans) at Anau in Turkestan, provides a detailed account of their journey across Turkestan examining the geology, archaeology, and ethnology of the Caspian region, southern Turkestan, Kopet Dagh, the desert plains, the loess deposits near Samarkand and across the Kugart Valley, their passage through the Tian Shan Mountains; geological observations in Central Turkestan; and finally the trek through the Basin of Eastern Persia and Sistan. His work is a major contribution not only to the geology and archeology of Turkestan but also to the theory that climate change has had and will continue to have a major impact on civilizations.