This is a group biography of the first geologists, the people who were first to excavate from the layers of the world its buried history. These first geologists were made up primarily of gentlemen with the necessary wealth to support their interests, yet also included clergymen, academics and women. The new science of geology was pursued by this assorted band because it opened a window on Earth's ancient past. They showed courage in facing the conflict between geology and Genesis as the rocks and fossils showed that the Earth was immeasurably old, rather than springing from a creation made in the six days that the Bible claimed. This book tells the individual stories of this group, their hope and fears, triumphs and disappointments, the theological, philosophical and scientific debates their findings provoked, and the way that as a group, they were to change our understanding of the world.