William Smith (1769-1839)
As a surveyor for canal projects Smith saw exposed fossilized remains embedded in large vertical sections of the Earth. He noticed that some types of fossils tended to appear only in specific strata, which enabled him to create a chronology of strata formation. Antiquarian sites, ancient roads, and ruins also functioned as landscape markers in his geological surveying. Smith observed that Roman roads like the Fosse Way were built ‘to avoid the tenacious clay land’ of Hertfordshire, Buckinghamshire, and Suffolk.