Fossilised snails on the Steppes

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William Bateson

Amongst the many less well-known explorers of the Central Asian steppelands, few were quite so intrepid as William Bateson, a Cambridge scientist who spent months alone in the late 1880s searching for fossilised snails in the many large lakes that can be found scattered across what is today northern Kazakhstan.

I recently took the opportunity to read through Bateson’s diaries, held by Cambridge University Library, and was delighted to find that Bateson was an inveterate note-taker – and photographer. The University Library has now published a short article I have written about Bateson and his importance to the history of Central Asian exploration. You can find the article here.

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Map showing areas in which Bateson travelled and collected specimens

Transcribing the Atkinson Diaries – RGS talk

On Monday 13th May I will be giving a talk at the Royal Geographical Society in London on my work transcribing Thomas Atkinson’s diaries. “Be Inspired – Transcribing the Atkinson Diaries” will take place at RGS headquarters at 1 Kensington Gore, SW7 2AR and starts at 14.30. Having spent the last couple of years travelling regularly to the RGS to work on these remarkable diaries, I will have a lot of fascinating information to share. Atkinson’s diaries cast new light on his relationship with his wife Lucy and provide details of their travels that cannot be found in their books. Click on the link above to book a ticket.