The collections of the musée gallo-romain grew rapidly thanks to donations from the emperor, the Commission de Topographie des Gaules (CTG) and its members, King Frederick VII of Denmark and the prehistorian Boucher de Perthes. The museum’s objective was to gather all material documenting Gaul’s occupation, from as early as possible until the reign of Charlemagne, and to compare this material with that of other civilisations.
“Objects with proven provenance”
The consultative commission created to lead the museum’s organisation required that the objects that were central to its collections came from clearly identified locations. Along with original objects found during excavations, there was a significant collection of casts of objects of confirmed origin, indispensable for identifying the period. The museum also had items from other countries in its collections, for comparison and to help understand the influence different civilisations had on one another.
The Commission de Topographie des Gaules, a significant donor to the museum
More than 2,650 items added to the museum’s inventory between 1862 and 1879 were donated by the CTG and its members, or were acquisitions funded by the CTG. In May 1862, the CTG gave its first gift of objects for the collections. It consisted of artefacts recovered from burial mounds at the Chaumes d’Auvenay in the Côte-d’Or region by Félicien de Saulcy. These were followed by items which were central to the museum’s collections, including arms from Alesia, objects from Bibracte, funerary artefacts from Magny-Lambert, deposits from Réallon, belt buckles from Sillingy and items from the Paladru lake.