André Leroi-Gourhan (1911-1986) was an autodidact, brimming with curiosity. His interest in oriental languages led him towards the field of ethnology, and in particular the study of comparative techniques. In the 1930s, he played an active role in the creation of the Musée de l’Homme in Paris. After the second world war he became a teaching professor at the university of Lyon and the Sorbonne, and added prehistory to his scientific interests. In 1967, he created the CNRS “Prehistoric Ethnology” research team, to which many researchers currently working at Étiolles now belong. The methodological revolution inspired Leroi-Gourhan during the field campaigns at Arcy-sur-Cure (Yonne) in 1946 and at Pincevent (Seine-et-Marne) from 1964. He also developed structuralist theories on the recent European Palaeolithic, which were popularised by his talks at the Collège de France and in several books.