Product has been added to the basket
Shopping Basket
Basket is empty
Item has been added to bibliography

History of Geology and Medicine, A

Product Code: SP375
Series: GSL Special Publications - print copy
Author/Editor: Edited by C.J. Duffin, R.T.J. Moody and C. Gardner-Thorpe
Publication Date: 06 December 2013
There are 2 reviews for this product | Add a review


Special Publication 375

The historical links between Geology and Medicine are surprisingly numerous and diverse. This, the first ever volume dedicated to the subject, contains contributions from an international authorship of geologists, historians and medical professionals.

Rocks, minerals, fossils and earths have been used therapeutically since earliest times and details recorded on ancient papyri, clay tablets, medieval manuscripts and early published sources. Pumice was used to clean teeth, antimony to heal wounds, clays as antidotes to poison, gold to cure haemorrhoids and warts, and gem pastes to treat syphilis and the plague, while mineral springs preserved health. Geology was crucial in the development of public health. Medical men making important geological contributions include Steno, Worm, Parkinson, Bigsby, William Hunter, Jenner, John Hulke, Conan Doyle, Gorini and various Antarctic explorers.
A History of Geology and Medicine will be of particular interest to Earth scientists, medical personnel, historians of science and the general reader who has an interest in science.

Published online 14/11/2013. Print copy available from 06/12/2013.

Other Societies rate: please see the Bookshop FAQ for a list of qualifying membership organisations. 


Related title: Geology and Medicine: Historical Connections (Special Publication 452)

Geology and Medicine: Historical Connections

Type: Book
Ten Digit ISBN:
Thirteen Digit ISBN: 978-1-86239-356-1
Publisher: GSL
Binding: Hardback
Pages: 512
Weight: 1.23 kg


DUFFIN, C. J. Geology as medicine and medics as geologists

DUFFIN, C. J. Lithotherapeutical research sources from antiquity to the mid-eighteenth century

LIñáN, E., LIñáN, M. & CARRASCO, J. Cryptopalaeontology

CARRASCO, J. & LIñáN, M. The stomatological use of stones cited in the Kitab al-tasrif treatise (Abulcasis, 1000 CE)

DUFFIN, C. J. The gem electuary

MACGREGOR, A. Medicinal terra sigillata: a historical, geographical and typological review

ROLFE, W. D. I. Materia medica in the seventeenth-century Paper Museum of Cassiano dal Pozzo 

DUFFIN, C. J. History of the pharmaceutical use of pumice

CONSOLE, R. Pharmaceutical use of gold from antiquity to the seventeenth century

BARROSO, M. D. S. Bezoar stones, magic, science and art

DUFFIN, C. J. Some early eighteenth century geological Materia Medica

ALIVERTI, M. Religiosity and magic in some lithoiatric practices of European folk medicine

MATHER, J. D. Britain’s spa heritage: a hydrogeological appraisal

ROBINS, N. S. & SMEDLEY, P. L. Groundwater – Medicine by the Glassful?

PEARN, J. H. & GARDNER-THORPE, C. Sunday Stone: an enduring metaphor of mining diseases and underground mining conditions

BERGMAN, B. P. The influence of geology in the development of public health

BEK-THOMSEN, J. From flesh to fossils – Nicolaus Steno’s anatomy of the Earth

HOCH, E. Diagnosing fossilization in the Nordic Renaissance: an investigation into the correspondence of Ole Worm (1588–1654)

GARDNER-THORPE, C. Education forms the tender mind

LEWIS, C. James Parkinson’s ‘system of successive creations’

LISTON, J. J. From obstetrics to oryctology: inside the mind of William Hunter (1718–1783)

WILSON, L. G. John Jeremiah Bigsby, MD: British Army physician and pioneer North American geologist

HULL, G. C. Five eighteenth-century medical polymaths

WILLS, S. John Whitaker Hulke, surgeon and palaeontologist

MARTILL, D. M. & POINTON, T. Dr Arthur Conan Doyle’s contribution to the popularity of pterodactyls

ANGETTER, D. C., HUBMANN, B. & SEIDL, J. Physicians and their contribution to the early history of earth sciences in Austria

GULY, H. Medical geologists during the Heroic Age of Antarctic exploration

PORRO, A., CRISTINI, C., FALCONI, B., FRANCHINI, A. F. & LORUSSO, L. Vomiting stones: mental illness and forensic medicine in 18th century Italy

LORUSSO, L., FALCONI, B., FRANCHINI, F. A. & PORRO, A. Geology, conservation and dissolution of corpses by Paolo Gorini (1813–1881)



Review by John Ford in Journal of Medical Biography

It is remarkable that this conjunction of the two disciplines has not been attempted before as many therapies have been dependent upon geological sources and many medical men have studied and made important contributions to earth sciences. The work springs from a conference held in London in 2011 and with all such publications the papers are of variable interest, although the standard of scholarship and writing is uniformly high.

There is something for everybody in this beautifully produced volume. The lavish illustrations (reflected in the price) are complemented by papers that will surely be cited frequently and which themselves will be a stimulus for further study. The editors are to be congratulated on achieving their aims in such an approachable way while at the same time producing a work of a high academic standard.

Richard Porter

Geoscientist vol 1 Feb 2015

…a truly diverse collection that makes this eclectic series of papers a fascinating reading.

The papers in the publication are varied in scope and give a broad history of the interrelationship between geology and medicine. The book is well illustrated, including some in colour, and the 15+ pages of references are a very useful addition to what will certainly be seen as a definitive work of reference. This is the first ever volume dedicated to this subject – an enjoyable read that can be recommended to all who have an interest in the history of geology and the history of medicine. It will certainly be recognised in future as a seminal work.

Please login to submit review.

Back to search results

You pay
£ 125.00 each

List price: £ 125.00
Fellow's price: £ 62.50
Other societies price: £ 75.00
View this item in the Lyell Collection

What is the Lyell Collection?

Find out more about the Lyell Collection at

What is the Lyell Collection