John Smith

The book by John Smith, "Prehistoric Man in Ayrshire' is over 100 years old, but still represents one of the best accounts of this period in the archaeology of the county. It's celebrated author was not only knowledgeable in archaeology but also geology, natural history, travel, languages and literature. He published several papers and books on a range of subjects, communicated with many of the important scientists and societies of his day, and was always willing to lead excursions, give away books and parts of his collection, and to share his knowledge.

Although born in Clarkson, Lanarkshire (in 1845), he spent most of his life in Ayrshire around Dalry and Kilwinning, with a spell in Glasgow. He was an active walker and keen natural historian right up to his death in 1930. 

He donated his collection of about 30, 000 specimens to the Geological Survey in Edinburgh in May 1930, but the  Dick Institute is lucky enough to have in it's collections a stalagmite he found at Cleaves Cove, and one of his notebooks written between 1880 and 1896 which contains many of his illustrations. 

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