Louis Laurent Gabriel de Mortillet

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Louis Laurent Gabriel de Mortillet
Louis Laurent Gabriel de Mortillet
Born 29 August 1821
Meylan, Isère
Died 25 September 1898 (1898-09-26) (aged 77)
St Germain-en-Laye
Nationality French
Fields anthropology

Louis Laurent Gabriel de Mortillet (29 August 1821 – 25 September 1898), French anthropologist, was born at Meylan, Isère.


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 25 September 1898.

Published works[edit]

  • Musée préhistorique, (1881).
  • Le préhistorique, antiquité de l'homme, (1882).
  • Les Nègres et la civilisation égyptienne (1884).
  • Origines de la chasse, de la pêche et de l'agriculture (1890).
  • Le préhistoire : origine et antiquité de l'homme, 1900.[1]


Public Domain This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainChisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "article name needed". Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press.