'The Mountain near Stone Sund', Norway, 1755.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
Engraving of a cliff-face covered with fossils, from 'The Natural History of Norway' by Erich Pontoppidan (1698-1764), the only English translation of the work, published in London in 1755. Pontoppidan notes: 'The mountain, for half a quarter of a league, abounds with such petrified bodies, as are sought for in the cabinets of the vertuosos'. Pontoppidan was Bishop of Bergen in Norway from where he researched all aspects of Norwegian natural history and ethnography. His book contains 'a particular and accurate account of the temperature of the air, the different soils, waters, vegetables, metals, minerals, stones, beasts, birds, and fishes: together with the dispositions, customs, and manner of living of the inhabitants'.