This essay reflects on two models of indelibility or persistence that emerge from the nineteenth-century geological and archaeological imagination, advanced and illustrated by figures who attended to a peculiar intuition that voices and faces are forms that, in their different ways, persist and are susceptible to interpretative historical recovery. The essay proposes that these models, represented in Florence McLand-burgh's short story "The Automaton-Ear" (1873) and in Francis Galton's technique of composite photography, stage two sides of a significant debate in the nineteenth century concerning the extent to which the social and physical world was increasingly apprehended in ways defined by such notions as the general, the pattern, the statistical and the average, and the compound and the layered.