Engraved portrait of Paul Tournal

Paul Tournal, from Narbonne, was a corresponding member of the Comité des travaux historiques et scientifiques between 1837 and 1870.

Engraving after a drawing by Jules Boilly © MAN

Between 1837 and 1870 Paul Tournal, from Narbonne, was a corresponding member of the Comité des travaux historiques et scientifiques. He was appointed a correspondent of the Commission de Topographie des Gaules in December 1865.

The founder of prehistory

Pharmacist, journalist and geologist Paul Tournal was one of the first to demonstrate the contemporaneity of prehistoric man and certain extinct species of animal, after discovering human bones at Bize (Aude), nearly 20 years before the work of Jacques Boucher de Perthes. It was Tournal who first introduced the term “prehistory”.

A prehistorian before the word existed and a protector of heritage, Paul Tournal was also the founder of the musée de Narbonne and the local archaeological commission.