Abbé Cochet

Archaeologist and prehistorian Jean Benoît Désiré Cochet joined the Académie de Rouen in 1842 and was appointed inspector of historic monuments in 1849. He became a non-resident member of the CTHS in 1843.

© MAN

Archaeologist and prehistorian Jean Benoît Désiré Cochet joined the Académie de Rouen in 1842 and was appointed inspector of historic monuments in 1849. He became a non-resident member of the CTHS in 1843. In the 1860s, he became a correspondent of the Commission de Topographie des Gaules.

An abbé with a passion for archaeology

Désiré Cochet discovered his passion for archaeology aged 18, when he found the remains of a Roman villa in Etretat. Having reported on his finds, he became a correspondent of the regional commission of antiquities, and was then introduced to Arcisse de Caumont. An ordained priest from 1836, he became known as a field archaeologist with a great attention to detail. Throughout his life he travelled all over Normandy and published more than 150 books, pamphlets and articles.

He was appointed a corresponding member of the Académie des inscriptions et belles-lettres in 1864, and became curator of the musée des antiquités in Rouen in 1867.

Along with Boucher de Perthes, he is considered one of the founding fathers of archaeology as a scientific discipline. Many archaeologists have paid tribute to him in their work, as can be seen in Alfred Caraven’s map.