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Dead Sea Level : Science, Exploration and Imperial Interests in the Near East - Haim Goren

Dead Sea Level

Science, Exploration and Imperial Interests in the Near East

Hardcover

Published: 15th March 2011
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`It is with the deepest Regret that I do myself the Honour of informing you that the Tigris Steamer was totally lost during a Hurricane of indescribable violence, which, after the short struggle of Eight Minutes, sent a fine Vessel to the Bottom in Five Fathoms Water, and deprived His Majesty of Fifteen valuable Men, with Five Natives in Addition.' Captain Francis Rawdon Chesney, leader of the Euphrates Expedition, 1834--7, to Sir John Cam Hobhouse, 2nd Baronet Broughton.

`Communications being thus established by canals sufficiently broad and deep, the rushing in of the two seas would restore the now Dead Sea to its ancient level, and convert it into an active channel of intercourse between Europe and Asia; the whole bulky commerce of which might then pass through this canal... shortening the time of the voyage between England and India.' Captain William Allen, The Dead Sea: A New Route to India (1855).

The Dead Sea, in the Jordan Rift Valley, and the Tigris-Euphrates river system are two of the great natural features of the Middle East. But in the nineteenth century they had an added political significance: the one as a possible gateway for a Russian invasion of Egypt, the other as a potentially faster route to India. At least, that is the traditional explanation for the presence in the region of the major international powers of the day. This important new book questions that view.

Drawing upon extensive original research, the author shows how geopolitical factors were but one aspect of a larger, more complex picture. Through a study of two important projects of the time -- international efforts to determine the exact level of the Dead Sea, and Chesney's Euphrates Expedition to find a quicker route to India -- Haim Goren shows how other forces than the games of the big powers and the interests of empire were involved. He reveals the important role [continued on back flap] played by private individuals and organisations and their personal motivations and interests. He establishes a wealth of new connections between the key players and reveals for the first time an important Irish nexus. The result is a work that adds an important new dimension to our existing understanding of this period.

`In the nineteenth century, Western research in the Holy Land was propelled by geographical curiosity, scientific enquiry, international politics and Biblical scholarship, and the more practical issue of improved communications with the British Indian Empire. Dead Sea Level, based on a breathtaking range of scholarship and informed by research across many countries, links key areas of historical and geographical enquiry to reconstruct a critical period in regional history. It is a work of exemplary scholarship -- a learned, reflective landmark in Middle East studies. It will transform our understanding, and prompt a range of fresh thinking, on aspects of the history of the Middle East, science, imperialism and religion.' Andrew Lambert, Laughton Professor of Naval History, Kings College, University of London.

'This is a work of exemplary scholarship - learned, reflective, and deeply considered.' - Andrew Lambert, Laughton Professor of Naval History, Kings College, University of London

Illustationsp. vii
Preface and Acknowledgementsp. xiii
Introductionp. xvii
Britain, Europe and the Near East, 1830-50p. 1
Palestine and the Near East, 1830-50: Historical and Geo-Political Backgroundp. 3
European Military Agents in the Early 1830s: 'The Early Spies'p. 25
The Euphrates Expedition, 1834-7p. 59
The Dead Sea and the Jordan Rift Valley: Myth and Researchp. 117
The Dead Sea and the Jordan Rift Valley: Geological Mysteries, Biblical Memories and Scientific Explanationsp. 119
Early Explorersp. 139
'The Chase After the Level': Dead Sea and Jordan Depression Surveys 1837-48, First Barometrical Measurementsp. 207
Who Should be Crowned the Great Discoverer? Publications and Discussions Following Moore and Beek's Reportp. 223
Additional Surveys and Triangulationp. 231
Conclusive Explorations: Molyneux and Lynchp. 249
Concluding Remarksp. 263
Notesp. 277
Bibliographyp. 313
Names Indexp. 348
Places Indexp. 354
Table of Contents provided by Ingram. All Rights Reserved.

ISBN: 9781848854963
ISBN-10: 184885496X
Series: Tauris Historical Geography Series
Audience: Tertiary; University or College
Format: Hardcover
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 384
Published: 15th March 2011
Publisher: I.B.Tauris & Co Ltd
Country of Publication: GB
Dimensions (cm): 23.4 x 15.6  x 3.81
Weight (kg): 0.74
Edition Number: 1