Louis Laurent Gabriel de Mortillet bigraphy, stories - Archaeologists

Louis Laurent Gabriel de Mortillet : biography

August 29, 1821 - September 25, 1898
Louis Laurent Gabriel de Mortillet

Biography

He was educated at the Jesuit college of Chambéry and at the Paris Conservatoire. Becoming in 1847 proprietor of La Revue indépendante, he was implicated in the Revolution of 1848 and sentenced to two years' imprisonment. He fled the country and during the next fifteen years lived abroad, chiefly in Italy.

In 1858 he turned his attention to ethnological research, making a special study of the Swiss lake-dwellings. He returned to Paris in 1864, and soon afterwards was appointed curator of the museum at St Germain. Mortillet used artifact types to distinguish periods and named them after sites (Chelléenne, Moustérienne, Solutréenne, Magdalénienne, Robenhausienne). He believed that they were universal stages; i.e. unilineal evolution. He became mayor of the town, and in 1885 he was elected deputy for Seine-et-Oise.

He had an infamous leading role in conservative and stiff rejecting Sautuola's discovery of the paintings in Altamira as the original work of palaeolithic man.

He had meantime founded a review, Matériaux pour l'histoire positive et philosophique de l'homme, and in conjunction with Broca assisted to found the French School of Anthropology. He died at St Germain-en-Laye on the 25th of September 1898.

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