André Leroi-Gourhan

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André Leroi-Gourhan

Leroi-Gourhan, André


Born Aug. 25, 1911, in Paris. French archaeologist and ethnologist. Professor at the University of Paris (from 1956); director of the Institute of Ethnology (from 1963).

Leroi-Gourhan is best known for his investigations of Upper Paleolithic sites and dwellings and cave art and sculptured representations. He systematized the latter by classifying them into epochs and styles; he considered this art to be a reflection of primitive mythology. In his book Evolution and Technology (vols. 1–2, 1943–45) he provided a universal systematics of the phenomena of material culture, tracing its evolution from the primitive to the age of machines and seeking to substantiate general laws of “technomorphology” and the rule of “technical determinism.” His book The Gesture and the Word (vols. 1–2, 1964) attempts an even more sweeping universal historical generalization. The development of human culture in this work is regarded as part of the evolution of living matter. Biological evolution, in the view of Leroi-Gourhan, leads to ethnic and cultural development. Leroi-Gourhan’s conception, flawed by excessive technicality and a belief in the biological determination of social processes, is not accepted by Soviet scholars and scientists.


“Religii doistorii.” In the collection Pervobytnoe iskusstvo. Novosibirsk, 1971. (Translated from French.)
Préhistoire de l’art occidentale. Paris, 1965.


Tokarev, S. A. “A. Lerua-Guran i ego trudy po etnografii i arkheologii.” In the collection Etnologicheskie issledovaniia za rubezhom. Moscow, 1973.
References in periodicals archive ?
In this long critique of Heidegger, through analyses of Gilbert Simondon, Andre Leroi-Gourhan, and Jacques Derrida, Stiegler re-reads the myth of Prometheus and challenges the strands of Western philosophy that posited an originary, non-technological human.
There is a clear and briefly acknowledged debt here to the structuralist studies of cave art undertaken by Andre Leroi-Gourhan in the 1950s.
Since the first Late Palaeolithic structures were defined in the Chatelperronian Layers X-IX by Andre Leroi-Gourhan in the Grotte du Renne, France (Leroi-Gourhan & Leroi-Gourhan 1964) questions have arisen about their interpretation as cultural rather than natural features and their classification as houses rather than living surfaces (Gamble 1986; Kolen 1999).
Painted caves were previously, for the most part, classified according to a stylistic chronology devised by Andre Leroi-Gourhan (1965), which would place the Chauvet paintings in the Solutrean period (between 22 000 and 18 000 years ago).
Before, the main tendency was towards synthetic figurative art, defined thus by Andre Leroi-Gourhan (1992: 223): 'the lines express the essential elements of the shape of the subject represented, without rendering the fine nuances of real, visible contours'.
A different gang considers the legacy of Andre Leroi-Gourhan (1911-86).
In the same year (1980-81) Francoise Audouze and Andre Leroi-Gourhan gave a summary of the history of French archaeology entitled 'France: a continental insularity'.
This may be the place to say a little more about one of the greatest French prehistorians of the 20th century, Andre Leroi-Gourhan.
Apres Leroi-Gourhan: les chemins de la technologie, in Andre Leroi-Gourhan ou les voles de l'homme: 61-89.
The socialization of technology: from Marcel Mauss to Andre Leroi-Gourhan
Unfortunately all these efforts which had a certain influence in the West on Gordon Childe, Andre Leroi-Gourhan and Pedro Bosch-Gimpera, declined rapidly under the Stalinist dictatorship, with the return of a vision both nationalist and overwhelmingly evolutionist, promoted by the linguist Mar and his followers (Shnirelman 1995).
In the first, the excavators thought there was nothing to be learned from the apparent disorder of the bones and removed them using a water jet and a sieve; the second site had the good fortune to be excavated by Andre Leroi-Gourhan, who in a careful and time-consuming operation mapped the position of every bone.