Although Jacques de Morgan fell into relative obscurity after his death, recent research has brought to light his outstanding contribution to archaeology in the late 19th century.

Important administrative responsibilities

In Egypt, Jacques de Morgan was the director of the Service des antiquités égyptiennes. In this role, he helped conserve Egyptian heritage from the many looters then active in the region. He also masterminded the construction of the Egyptian Museum in Cairo, which continues to conserve thousands of artefacts and attracts countless visitors every year.

Morgan was also the founder of the French archeological mission in Iran which spearheaded the country's archaeological activities. In 1983, it merged with the Institut français d’iranologie in Téhéran to become the current Institut français de recherche en Iran.

A leading scientist

Trained in geology at the École des Mines, fascinated by archaeology and endowed with an inquiring mind, Jacques de Morgan left behind him a scientific corpus spanning multiple disciplines. He was aware of his limits, however, and surrounded himself with specialists who could guarantee the quality of his published work.

He was also a great pioneer of Far Eastern prehistory. His excavations in the Caucasus, Egypt, and Iran set out to identify, describe, and compare the remains of civilisations without a writing system.

A major donor to the Musée d’archéologie nationale

Morgan enjoyed a good working relationship with the Musée d’archéologie nationale and he donated part of his collections to the museum, knowing that they would be properly conserved, studied and exhibited. His different donations, particularly at the end of his mission in the Caucasus and in 1910, enabled the museum to open the comparative archaeology room. This room, which contains objects from his collection, still exists and is open to the public.

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