Article ID: CBB784673383

Telling Time With Mammoths: Frozen Flesh and Temporal Arrangement in the Science of the North Since 1800 (2023)


Until recent decades, permafrost-preserved frozen mammoths were among the rarest of scientific specimens: only one was successfully collected between 1806 and 1902. With global warming and increased industrial activity in the circumpolar north, in the twenty-first century discovering these creatures has become a seasonal phenomenon. This article traces this broad trajectory, examining how distinct temporalities—planetary, industrial, and Indigenous—intersect and inform distinct frozen mammoths that surfaced over the last 223 years. Told in four acts, the article considers how frozen mammoths tell time, informing debates over the planet’s past, present, and possible futures according to the moment into which they emerged. Frozen mammoths function as material loci for time and temperature, enabled by the cold of the circumpolar region, and enabling multi-temporal epistemologies to take shape around their remains.

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Article Hansun Hsiung; Laetitia Lenel; Anna-Maria Meister (2023) Introduction: Entangled Temporalities. Journal for the History of Knowledge. unapi

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Authors & Contributors
Stone, Philip
Digby, Susan A.
Engels, Jens Ivo
Hedeen, Stanley
Houltz, Anders
Rainbow, Philip S.
Archives of Natural History
Science, Technology, and Human Values
Social Studies of Science
Journal for the History of Knowledge
Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences
Technology and Culture
University of Chicago Press
University Press of Kentucky
The University of Chicago Press
Natural history
Science and technology studies (STS)
Collectors and collecting
McCormick, Robert M.
Ross, James Clark
De la Beche, Henry
Digby, Bassett
Ussher, James
Wajcman, Judith
Time Periods
21st century
19th century
20th century
20th century, late
18th century
17th century
Polar regions
Siberia (Russia)
Natural History Museum (London, England)
British Museum. Natural History

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