An ordnance officer of Napoleon III, Jean-Baptiste Auguste Verchère de Reffye was director of the emperor’s heavy artillery workshop at Meudon. Passionate about ancient armaments, he closely followed the work of the Commission de Topographie des Gaules, in particular the excavations at Alise-Sainte-Reine. In seeking to reconstruct ballistae, onagers and catapults, his work prefigured experimental archaeology. He was also very involved in the creation of the musée gallo-romain, the future musée d’Archéologie nationale, and helped lay the foundations of this historical museum dedicated to archaeology.

MAN ©RMN-Grand Palais (musée d'Archéologie nationale)/Tony Querrec
Photograph of Jean-Baptiste Auguste Verchère de Reffye