Alexandre Bertrand (1820-1902) was named secretary of the Commission de Topographie des Gaules in 1858.

Photo © RMN-Grand Palais (musée d'Archéologie nationale)/Tony Querrec

Alexandre Bertrand, secretary of the Commission de Topographie des Gaules from 1858, was responsible for the extensive organisation of a census of archaeological remains.

A teacher at the CTG

A former pupil of the École française in Athens, Alexandre Bertrand initially became a teacher of rhetoric at a secondary school in Rennes. In 1858, aged 38, he was appointed secretary of the Commission de Topographie des Gaules, perhaps through Alfred Maury.

An archaeologist with a passion for megaliths

A major figure in archaeological research in France, he was particularly interested in the study of megaliths and quickly came to edit the Revue archéologique. He made many visits to museums and archaeological sites, supervised excavations and helped build a vast scientific network.

The first great director of the musée gallo-romain de Saint-Germain

In 1866, Alexandre Bertrand was named interim director of the musée gallo-romain, following the departure of Claude Rossignol. It was therefore he who had the honour of accompanying Napoleon III at the museum’s inauguration on 12 May 1867. He remained at the head of the museum, which later became the musée des Antiquités nationales, until his death in 1902.

To find out more, see Hélène Chew’s biography.