Lost Cities and Unexplored Lands by Maeve Alpin

Many 19th century world explorers and their discoveries made a tremendous impact on history. One of my favorite Egyptologist, Jean François Champollion, journeyed to Egypt, as one of the four members of the Franco-Tuscan Expedition, in 1827.  Of course he is primarily known for deciphering the rosette stone and unlocking the knowledge and history of the ancients Egyptians. Jean Francois Champollion is also the first curator of the Egyptian collection at the Louvre. Another great Egyptologist of the day was the Italian strongman Giovani-Battista Belzoni, beginning in 1817, he used the hydraulic engine he invented to help excavate Egyptian tombs and temples. 

Another famed archeologist of the day was the German adventurer, Heinrich Schliemann. Using a copy of Homer’s The Illiad as his guide, he excavated the ancient city of Troy in 1871, searching for Priam’s treasure.  He discovered the remains of eleven cities built on top of each other and the relics he found included a cache of gold and silver, including earrings, necklaces, and even diadems that might have been worn by a queen.

Just the words - lost city- conjure up mystery and adventure and there were wonderful finds in the Regency, Victorian, and Edwardian periods. In 1812, the Swiss explorer, Johann Ludwig Burckhardt brought international attention to the lost city of Petra, made up of incredible stone structures carved into the actual rock of Mount Hor in Jordan. Shortly after that, in 1818, General Taylor discovered the sacred pillars, palaces, temples, and monasteries of Sanchi in India, dating back to the 3rd century BC, it’s the oldest Buddhist sanctuary in existence.  Then, in 1911, explorer Hiram Bingham revealed the jungle enshrouded lost City of the Incas, an amazing pre-Columbian site, Machu Picchu, built on a mountain ridge, 7,970 feet above sea level.

Regarding unexplored lands, adventurous include David Livingstone, well known for his rescue by his fellow explorer Henry Stanley during an 1865 expedition to Africa in an attempt to find the source of the Nile. Not only was the famed Norwegian polar explorer, Roald Amundsen the first person to reach the South Pole but also the first person to fly over the North Pole and he did so in a dirigible in 1926. 

There are so many more explorers than these mentioned, you are sure to find inspiration from an adventurer of the Regency, Victorian, or Edwardian age.  Adopting characters of world adventures provides unique costuming options.  I’ve included photos I snapped of great examples that, speaking of adventure, were taken this year at Aetherfest and the Oklahoma Steampunk Expo.

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Comment by Christina Scott Sayer Grey on May 20, 2011 at 1:47pm
Have you read Dea Birkett's "Spinsters Abroad"?  It is a lovely book about female explorers during the 19th and early 20th centuries.  Splendid.
Comment by Maeve Alpin on May 20, 2011 at 4:41pm
Thank you, I think I've heard about it but I've never read. It sounds like something I'd love. Thanks.

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