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Jacques Boucher de Perthes [1788-1868]


Definition: French customs officer Jacques Boucher de Crevecoeur de Perthes had a hobby that got him into trouble--archaeology. One of his pastimes was exploring the Somme river valley near Abbeville, France in the 1840s, where he found the site of Saint-Acheul eroding out of the river bank. This site was probably a Homo erectus occupation site, and it included Paleolithic handaxes and extinct animal remains buried together. De Perthes published his findings in a book called "Celtic and Antediluvian Antiquities." In it, de Perthes claimed that humanity had clearly been around for far longer than 6,000 years ago, as had been asserted by Bishop Ussher. The book upset a lot of people; and forwarded the cause of archaeology no end.

Thanks to kind reader Phil Robinson for his assistance with this entry. This glossary entry is part of the Dictionary of Archaeology. Sources for the term include the references listed on the front page of the Dictionary, and the websites listed in the sidebar.

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