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4 - Frozen Relics

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  28 April 2022

Lachlan Fleetwood
Affiliation:
University College Dublin
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Summary

Pressing geological questions emerged during the early nineteenth-century exploration of the Himalaya, especially around fossils, volcanoes and glaciers. This chapter considers the place of East India Company employees and travellers on the fringes – both geographically and socially – of rapidly evolving debates. The chapter argues that overlapping political frontiers, topographical barriers and ‘cultural borderlands’, all shaped geological practices. The chapter begins with a group of fossils sold by Bhotiyas under the name of bijli ki har or ‘lightning bones’, which reveal tensions between specimens that were both scientifically and cosmologically significant. The chapter also considers the important roles of brokers in locating and transporting fossils, especially by discussing the career of Pati Ram. This is followed by a broader assessment of how these material remains fit into discussions about the upheavement of the Himalaya and notions of a universal deluge. Expanding from fossils, the chapter concludes by examining glaciers (especially debates over their existence in the Himalaya, and evidence of their retreat over both long timescales and within the memories of Himalayan peoples).

Type
Chapter
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Science on the Roof of the World
Empire and the Remaking of the Himalaya
, pp. 130 - 170
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2022

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  • Frozen Relics
  • Lachlan Fleetwood, University College Dublin
  • Book: Science on the Roof of the World
  • Online publication: 28 April 2022
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/9781009128117.005
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  • Frozen Relics
  • Lachlan Fleetwood, University College Dublin
  • Book: Science on the Roof of the World
  • Online publication: 28 April 2022
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/9781009128117.005
Available formats
×

Save book to Google Drive

To save content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about saving content to Google Drive.

  • Frozen Relics
  • Lachlan Fleetwood, University College Dublin
  • Book: Science on the Roof of the World
  • Online publication: 28 April 2022
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/9781009128117.005
Available formats
×