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(1797-1875). Distinguished British geologist who was one of the chief proponents of the Uniformitarian or Fluviatilist school of geology. In marked contrast to the previously dominant Catastro-phist view, this held that all changes which have occurred in the earth’s surface must be explained in terms of processes still at work, such as the movements of rivers and glaciers, changes in sea-level etc. Lyell’s Principles of Geology (1830-33) established the view that the earth had been in existence for very much longer than the 6000 years allowed by the biblical chronology and laid open the way for the later acceptance of the antiquity of man.

The Macmillan dictionary of archaeology, Ruth D. Whitehouse, 1983Copied