Skip to main content Accessibility help

Boule's error: on the social context of scientific knowledge

  • David Van Reybrouck (a1)


On August 3, 1908, two young French clergymen with a passion for prehistory, the brothers Amédée and Jean Bouyssonie, discovered in a cave near the village of La Chapelle-aux-Sains (Department of Corréze) an almost intact Neanderthal skeleton. Recognizing both the importance of their find and their own inexperience with such fossils, they handed the skeleton to Marcellin Boule, professor of palaeontology at the Muséum national d’histoire naturelle in Paris.

Hide All
Albarello, B. 1987. L’affaire de l’Ilomme de la Chapelle-aux- Saints, 1905–1909. Treignac: Les Monédières.
Bloor, D. 1976. Knowledge and social imagery. London: Routledge & Kegan Paul.
Boule, M. 1911–1913. L’Homme fossile de La Chapelle-aux-Saints. Annales de Paléontologie 6 (1911): 164; 7 (1912): 65–208; 8 (1913); 209–79.
Boule, M. 1921. Les Hommes fossiles: Éléments de paléontologie humaine. Paris: Masson.
Boule, M. 1923. Fossil men: elements of human palaeontology. Edinburgh: Oliver & Boyd.
Boule, M. & Vallois, H. V., 1957. Fossil men: a textbook of human palaeontology. London: Thames & Hudson.
Bowler, P. J. 1986. Theories of human evolution: a century of debate 1844–1944. Oxford: Blackwell.
Callon, M. 1986. Some elements of a sociology of translation: domestication of the scallops and the fishermen of St Brieuc Bay, in Law, J. (ed.), Power, action, and belief: a new sociology of knowledge?: 196233. London: Routledge & Kegan Paul.
Callon, M. & Latouk, B. 1992. Don’t throw the baby out with the Bath School! A reply to Collins and Yearley, in Pickering, A. (ed.), Science as practice and culture: 34368. Chicago (IL): University of Chicago Press.
Daniel, G. E. 1975. A hundred and fifty years of archaeology. London: Duckworth.
Groenen, M. 1994. Pour une histoire de la préhisloire. Grenoble: Jerôme Millon.
Hammond, M. 1982. The expulsion of the Neanderthals from human ancestry: Marcellin Boule and the social context of scientific research, Social Studies of Science 12: 136.
Laudan, L. 1977. Progress and its problems: towards a theory of scientific growth. London: Routledge & Kegan Paul.
Latour, B. 1987. Science in action. Milton Keynes: Open University Press.
Latour, B. & S. Woolgar 1979. Laboratory life: the social construction of scientific facts. Beverly Hills (CA): Sage.
Straus, W. L., Jr. & Cave, A. J. E.. 1957. Pathology and posture of Neanderthal Man, Quarterly Review of Biology 32(4): 34863.
Tattersall, I. 1995. The fossil trail: how we know what we think we know about human evolution. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Trigger, B.G. 1989. A history of archaeological thought. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Trinkaus, E. & Shipman, P. 1993. The Neanderthals: changing the image of mankind. London: Jonathan Cape.
Van Reybrouck, D. 1995. On a creative middle ground between the extremes: an archaeological dialogue with Bruce G. Trigger, Archaeological Dialogues 2: 16071.
Vinck, D. 1995. Sociologie des sciences. Paris: Armand Colin.
Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

  • ISSN: 0003-598X
  • EISSN: 1745-1744
  • URL: /core/journals/antiquity
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *



Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed