On October 13, 1814, French archaeologist and historian Jules Étienne Joseph Quicherat was born. Quicherat was one of the founders of archaeology in France. In 1847, he inaugurated a course of archaeological lectures at the École des Chartes. His students circulated his principles throughout France, recognizing him as the “founder of national archaeology”. He wrote on the history of medieval France, and also edited texts of the trial and rehabilitation of Joan of Arc (1841-49).
Jules Quicherat attended the College of Sainte-Barbe where he received his classical education. In 1835, he entered the École des Chartes. It is believed that Quicherat was inspired by Michelet who had just writted a work on Joan of Arc. Quicherat published a text of the trials of Joan including contemporary evidence on her heroism in his Procès de condamnation et de réhabilitation de Jeanne d’Arc and the Aperçus nouveaux sur l’histoire de Jeanne d’Arc.
In 1847, Jules Quicherat inaugurated a course of archaeological lectures at the École des Chartes. One year later he was appointed professor of diplomatics there. Quicherat became known as a good teacher and despite his nasal voice his lecture hall was known to be always full. In his works La Formation française des anciens noms de lieu and De l’ogive et de l’architecture ogivale, Quicherat introduced his theory on the use of stone arches important for the history of religious architecture. In an 1874 article on L’âge de la cathédrale de Laon, he declared an exact date for the birth of Gothic architecture.
Quicherat started transcribing his archaeology lectures towards the end of his professional life. However, only the introductory chapters, up to the 11th century, were found among his papers. Still, his students circulated his principles throughout France, recognizing him as the founder of national archaeology. In 1871, Quicherat was nominated director of the Ecole des Chartes. In 1878 he gave up his duties as professor, and in 1882 he died suddenly a short time after having corrected the proofs of Supplément aux témoignages contemporains de Jeanne d’Arc, published in the Revue Historique.
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