Encyclopedia of Global Archaeology

2014 Edition
| Editors: Claire Smith

France: Field Method Origins

  • Nathan Schlanger
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4419-0465-2_1538

Brief Definition of the Topic

It was through the innovative application of sound field methods that Jacques Boucher de Perthes (1788–1868), a customs official in northern France, contributed decisively to the establishment of human antiquity. He argued that proof of an object’s antiquity resided first and foremost in “its surrounding [ entourage] and the place where it is encountered” (Boucher de Perthes 1847: 34, 178, 181). By insisting on such principles of stratigraphic position and integrity, Boucher de Perthes could argue that the artificially shaped flint haches he found beneath meters of undisturbed gravels in association with fossil bones of extinct species were therefore of infinitely ancient age, long before the Biblical Flood (thus antediluvian). While these claims had met with skepticism, a dramatic reversal of fortune occurred in 1859 with the visit to the region of two English scientists, the wine merchant and geologist Joseph Prestwich (1812–1896) and the paper...
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.TrajectoiresMaison Archéologie & Ethnologie (MAE)NanterreFrance