Founded by Jules Gailhabaud, the Revue archéologique first appeared in 1844. This coincided with a revival in interest for remains from the past and an increasing number of archaeological discoveries. Initially focused on classical antiquity, its scope gradually expanded to other regions.
In 1861, the review published images of arms found at the ferme de l'Épineuse, near Alise-Sainte-Reine, and an extract from the Moniteur universel newspaper telling the story of Napoleon III’s visit to the site. From 1863 the review was edited by Alexandre Bertrand, secretary of the Commission de Topographie des Gaules and director of the musée gallo-romain, today the musée d'Archéologie nationale.