Nautilus: a modern sequel to 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea

Nautilus has now been published by Fireship Press.

Nautilus cover 1-compressed

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Place names research workshop, Oslo, 12-13 May 2015

“A trio of Penn State Abington students joined  a team of international researchers in Olso workshop participantsNorway this summer, documenting the early exploration of the world’s northernmost archipelago. A grant awarded to Abington’s resident polar explorer and professor of anthropology, P.J. Capelotti, funded the experience.”



Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Review of ‘Shipwreck at Cape Flora’ in the journal Polar Geography

“…with Capelotti’s smooth writing style and extensive research, many people will be able to enjoy these exciting tales of grand adventure.  For historians looking for a different perspective on a tired subject, to students looking for an exciting, in-depth review of Arctic exploration in its larger context, Capelotti’s book presents the narrative in a way that both informs and compels the reader to learn more about Arctic exploration.  Though there are other books within the [University of Calgary Press’s] Northern Lights series that highlight Arctic exploration, Shipwreck at Cape Flora is an exceptional addition to the series. Capelotti’s book offers both an exciting tale of adventure, while providing the series with a historical background of Arctic exploration.

Chris McEvoy, writing in Polar Geography 38 (2): 2015.  

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Review of “Shipwreck at Cape Flora”

From Canada’s History:

The voyages of Benjamin Leigh Smith in the late 1800s were anything but halcyon. In Shipwreck at Cape Flora, American archaeologist P.J. Capelotti delivers a comprehensive biography of Leigh Smith, one of the most significant but unsung Arctic explorers.

This is an incredible feat, since Leigh Smith never published his research and, unlike other explorers, shied away from any opportunity for fame and glory from his five Arctic expeditions. Drawing from unpublished diaries and journals and his own explorations of the places Leigh Smith visited, Capelotti describes Leigh Smith’s life as very unusual and awkward right from childhood. This perhaps provides a plausible motive for the explorer’s passion to find a part of the world with which he could better connect.

The entire book is a well-written adventure, but the best story is Capelotti’s tale of the events leading up to Leigh Smith’s fifth and final expedition, when his beloved ship Eira foundered off Cape Flora, Franz Josef Land, north of Russia. Remarkably, it is a story of survival, as not one member of the crew was lost during nearly a year trapped on the ice. The account of how they survived is also fascinating.

–Deborah Morrison


Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Archaeology and Heritage of the Human Movement into Space

Archaeology and Heritage of the Human Movement into Space

Coming in August:

“This volume addresses the creation, documentation, preservation, and study of the
archaeology of lunar, planetary, and interstellar exploration. It defines the attributes
of common human technological expressions within national and, increasingly, private
exploration efforts, and explore the archaeology of both fixed and mobile artifacts in the
solar system and the wider galaxy.

“This book presents the research of the foremost scholars in the field of space archaeology
and heritage, a recent discipline of the field of Space Archaeology and Heritage.
It provides the emerging archaeological perspective on the history of the human
exploration of space. Since humans have been creating a vast archaeological preserve in
space and on other celestial bodies. This assemblage of heritage objects and sites attest
to the human presence off the Earth and the study of these material remains are best
investigated by archaeologists and historic preservationists. As space exploration has
reached the half century mark, it is the appropriate time to reflect on the major events and
technological development of this particular unique 20th century arena of human history.”

Image | Posted on by | Leave a comment

Benjamin Leigh Smith: The forgotten explorer of the frozen north

Somewhere in the Arctic Ocean, about halfway between mainland Norway and the North Pole, there’s an archipelago where Benjamin Leigh Smith’s name marks its easternmost point.

Article from the BBC Newsmagazine, 29 September 2013.

Link | Posted on by | Leave a comment

The place names of Zemlya Frantsa-Iosifa: Leigh Smith’s Eira expeditions, 1880 and 1881–1882, by Capelotti and Forsberg, now online

The place names of Zemlya Frantsa-Iosifa: Leigh Smith’s Eira expeditions, 1880 and 1881–1882
P.J. Capelotti and Magnus Forsberg
Polar Record
In the summer of 1880, the British explorer Benjamin Leigh Smith made the first reconnaissance of the western reaches of Zemlya Frantsa-Iosifa [Franz Josef Land] in the specially built polar research vessel Eira. This was the first expedition to go ashore in the archipelago after its acknowledged discovery by Weyprecht and Payer in 1873. Combined with his brief reconnaissance in 1881 before Eira sank near Cape Flora, Leigh Smith added a total of 41 place names, 37 of which are still in use, to its geographic nomenclature during his two expeditions, 1880 (39 place names) and 1881–1882 (2). The 1880 names were a post-expedition collaboration, between Leigh Smith and Clements Markham, Secretary of the Royal Geographic Society (RGS). Leigh Smith provided the names of colleagues and scientists who had either been with him in 1880 or on one of his earlier expeditions to Svalbard, or those of favoured relatives, while Markham, along with Sir George Nares as an RGS peer reviewer, added the names of particularly influential individuals in geographical circles as well as a variety of museum curators who identified natural history collections returned by the expedition. Additionally, two place names are connected to the Dutch Willem Barents expedition of 1879.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment