Bötticher was born in Blumberg, Brandenburg, in 1842 and studied at the Bauakademie. After leading excavations in Greece from 1875–77, he published a weekly newspaper for architects and engineers. In 1886 Bötticher headed the registry for historic buildings and art monuments in East Prussia, and in 1891 he was named conservator of the province. From 1892-98 he published eight volumes of Bau- und Kunstdenkmäler, documenting architectural and artistic landmarks of East Prussia. He died in Warnicken.