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The Commission de Topographie des Gaules (1858-1879)

The Commission de Topographie des Gaules (1858-1879)

The Commission de Topographie des Gaules (CTG) was created July 17, 1858 by the impetus of Napoleon III. Its precise objectives were the creation of three maps (Gaul under Julius Caesar’s proconsul; Gaul under Roman domination; Merovingian Gaul) and two dictionaries (Dictionary of Celtic Archeology; Dictionary of Gallo-Roman Archeology).
The Commission’s attention to the recording of data (topographic, cartographic, photographic, project of collection…) perfectly illustrates the change in French archeology in the middle of the 19th century towards a scientific discipline. These new recording techniques explain the growing interest for historical geography.
The Commission de Topographie des Gaules did not abandon, however, the traditional epigraphic investigations that were simpler to complete than the surveys of monuments or cartographic projects. General Creuly, the CTG’s vice president, wrote out 1,316 pages of Latin inscriptions in his notebooks and had the CTG’s illustrators create 400 plates of Latin texts surveyed in the French territory.
This project consists of the digitization and indexing of the archival and documentary collections of the Commission de Topographie des Gaules, which are largely unknown today, inaccessible, and disparate. Illustrating the transformation of French archeology in the 19th century, these archives will be accessible to a scholarly audience and enhanced with the appropriate tools. These works reflect the cluster’s themes of constructing connections to the past, heritage policies in different historical periods, and mediation of these representations from the 19th century to today.

Project leaders
Christian LANDES, head heritage curator, National Museum of Archeology / National domain of Saint-Germain-en-Laye;
Françoise BÉRARD, curator general of libraries, National Museum of Archeology / National domain of Saint-Germain-en-Laye

Internal cluster partners
National Museum of Archeology / National domain of Saint-Germain-en-Laye;
French National Library (BnF), Department of Western Manuscripts

Associated members
French National Archives;
Departmental Archives;
Historical Service of the Ministry of Defense

Duration: 2 years