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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This summer, young visitors to some of our UCM museums have the opportunity to participate in an exciting artist-led treasure hunt. Hidden Tales: the Riddle of the White Sphinx, created by Mark Wells and Sorrel May, and illustrated by Jennifer Bell encourages families to explore our museums in a different way... Author Mark Wells tells all here.



Fifty years ago, Cambridge mineralogist, Dr Stuart Agrell was given VIP treatment and a police escort after flying into Heathrow from the USA because he was carrying a bag full of very precious rock material. The samples were amongst the most expensive ever collected as they had been retrieved from the moon by two of the American Apollo 11 mission astronauts. The programme of their investigation was a remarkable and unprecedented example of international scientific collaboration, which still continues.

Stuart Agrell on the underground with a carpet bag of rocks from the Apollo 11 missionGuess what I’ve got in my bag? 50 years ago, Cambridge mineralogist, Stuart Agrell nonchalantly carried some of the most valuable rocks ever collected back to Cambridge in his holdall. (© Mirrorpix, reproduced with permission)