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0025 Explorations in Turkestan 1903 : vol.1
Explorations in Turkestan 1903 : vol.1 / Page 25 (Grayscale High Resolution Image)

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doi: 10.20676/00000177
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AT the end of 1902 the Carnegie Institution voted a grant to me "for the purpose of making, during the year 1903, a preliminary examination of the Trans-Caspian region, and of collecting and arranging all available existing information necessary in organizing the further investigation of the past and present physicogeographical conditions and archeological remains of the region."

The investigation was proposed because (1) there is a school that still holds the belief that central Asia is the region in which the great civilizations of the far East and of the West had their origins ; and (2) because of the supposed occurrence in that region, in prehistoric times, of great changes in climate, resulting in the fonnation and recession of an extensive Asian Mediterranean, of which the Aral, Caspian, and Black seas are the principal remnants.

It had long seemed to me that a study of Central-Asian archeology would probably yield important evidence in the genealogy of the great civilizations and • of several, at least, of the dominant races, and that a parallel study of the traces of physical changes during Quaternary time might show some coincidence between the phases of social evolution and the changes in environment ; further, that it might be possible to correlate the physical and human records and thus furnish a contribution to the time scale of recent geology.

At my request Professor William M. Davis assumed charge of the physicogeographical part of the preliminary reconnaissance.


I left Boston March 18, accompanied by Mr. R. W. Pumpelly as assistant, and stopping over at London, Paris, and Berlin, reached St. Petersburg on April 23. There I had to remain several weeks to perfect arrangements and obtain the papers necessary for an extended journey in Turkestan. On May 15 we left St. Petersburg, with Mr. Serge de Brovtzin as interpreter, and having been joined at Baku by Professor Davis and Mr. Ellsworth Huntington, a research assistant of the Carnegie Institution of Washington, we crossed the Caspian.

I found throughout our stay in Turkestan that orders had been sent from St. Petersburg to assist the expedition in all ways, and everything was done to facilitate