Buckland, William; Reliquiae Diluvianae. Or, Observations on the Organic Remains contained in the Caves, Fissures, and Diluvial Gravel, and on other Geological Phenomena; attesting the action of an Universal Deluge. 1st edition, John Murray, London, 1823. Quarto, pp., vii, 303 with errata, plus 27 engraved and lithograph plates and maps (incl. one hand-coloured folding section and 2 hand-coloured single-page geological maps) and one folding table.
The work is complete and in a contemporary half calf over marbled boards, gilt spine titles and raised spine bands. Light wear to binding edges, binding is tight and clean, minor off setting to some plates and very minor spotting. owner’s book plate (H. Stanton Hill 1913-2004)) to paste down tipped over original owner’s book plate which is Lieutenant-Colonel Thomas James Birch (1768-1829). Birch changed his last name back to the family name of Bosville in 1824. A career military officer, Birch was also an amateur paleontologist and close friends with Buckland, Charles Lyell, Gideon Mantell and Mary Anning. He would buy any fossils that Anning had available. The correspondence between Birch and Gideon Mantell is preserved with all of Mantell’s original documents at the National Library in New Zealand. The book is in very good condition with a wonderful history.
William Buckland (1784-1856) was English scientist, ordained minister (but never practiced) and Professor of Geology at Oxford University. He was known for trying to reconcile religion with the new discoveries being made in geology and paleontology, especially Mary Anning’s fossil discoveries. His discoveries in the geological sciences gave Oxford an international standing in the sciences. He was responsible for the first description in1824 of a recognized dinosaur fossil, although the term dinosaur did not exist at the time. He published “Notice on the Megalosaurus or Great Lizard of Stonesfield”. Buckland also announced - reassured by Cuvier that it was correct - the first fossil mammal from the Age of Reptiles. Conventional wisdom of the time said mammals came only after the great reptiles.
Two of his major works were "Reliquiae Diluvianae” 1823, and "Geology And Mineralogy Considered With Reference To Natural Theology” which was first published in London in1836. Buckland will also be remembered as the best British geologist of his time to build a careful local stratigraphy of a region based on known fossil evidence. Within "Reliquiae Diluvianae” Buckland describes the surrounding strata and geology of Kirkdale Cave and its fossils. His work proving that Kirkdale Cave had been a prehistoric hyena den, for which he was awarded the Copley Medal, was praised as an example of how scientific analysis could reconstruct events from the distant past and to reconstruct ancient ecosystems. However he then went on to describe the site as an example of a habitat that existed immediately before the biblical flood in an attempt to reconcile the fossils with religion. The work is still considered one of his major contributions to the geological sciences.