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The English naturalist William Burchell explored the interior of southern Africa from 1811 to 1815, travelling in an ox cart of his own unique design. He devised or adapted numerous techniques for the preservation in the field of different categories of natural history specimens, and collected over 63,000 specimens. He also made many detailed geographical, ecological and ethnographical notes of the regions through which he passed. The expedition exemplified the shift taking place in the scientific world from armchair to field-based investigation of the natural world, in which human populations, animals and plants were to be observed in their native landscapes.

In: Naturalists in the Field