Welcome to the Download page for the English language version of Agostino Scilla's book Vain Speculation Undeceived by Sense. The translation has been funded through an Arts Council England Designation Development Fund grant.

This translation is based on the Italian language first edition of 1670. Illustrations have been digitised from a copy of the first edition and from Scilla's original drawings held in the Sedgwick Museum Archive.

Extensive use of hyperlinks has been made throughout this publication; it may be necessary to reconfigure your reader to navigate hyperlinks. 

This eBook is an 'evaluation version', please send any comments or corrections to sedgwickmuseum@esc.cam.ac.uk with 'Scilla' as the subject heading.

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Sir John Franklin’s ill-fated expedition to the North-West Passage has often been in the news ever since he left England on the 19th May, 1845 never to return. Successive searches throughout the 19th century eventually found artefacts and human remains. But it was not until 2014 the wreck of Franklin’s ship, HMS Erebus was found and two years later the wreck of HMS Terror. Now the extraordinary story of HMS Erebus is receiving new publicity thanks to the publication of Michael Palin’s new book – ‘Erebus : the story of a ship’. Whilst the earliest searches did not find any traces of Franklin and his crew, one of them, led by Captain Kellett did find a superb mammoth tusk, which is now part of the Sedgwick Museum’s Ice Age display.



The Sedgwick Museum of Earth Sciences, the oldest of the University of Cambridge museums, has appointed its first full-time director.