Musée Saint Raymond

From earth to light: photographic and documentary revelations

Hello ! My name is Emilie Trébuchet and I’ve been an archivist with Inrap for 7 years. Before that I was an archaeologist, also with Inrap, and I directed several operations. After ten years of fieldwork in many different places, searching for new knowledge and perspectives, I felt a need to return to my early interests (books, writing, images, and documentation). I thus have a double education, as an archaeologist and archivist, specializing in images. My work day revolves around these two disciplines, which I find amazing and would like to share with you. My perspective as an archaeologist influences my perception of the archives, and vice versa.

The archaeology of photographic archives

And today, 13 May 2015, happens to be a very special day: it is the inauguration of the exhibit “Dans l’oeil du viseur. Pictures revealing archaeology” at the Saint-Raymond museum in Toulouse, of which I am the scientific curator.
This exhibit, and its catalog, is the outcome of an internship I did at the municipal archives bureau of Toulouse, as part of my Master 2 Professional degree “Archives and Images”, which I realized in 2010-2011 in Toulouse (Université du Mirail, Educational leave funded by Inrap). It is the result of an intensive search for images of archaeology over a 3 month period in the ancient photograph collection of Toulouse: this work involved research, analysis and the processing and valorization of archival documents, which was just as exciting as an archaeological operation. It was also an unforgettable adventure which will be continued through various projects in progress.

An exhibit space. ©J.F. Peiré

The exhibit space. ©J.F. Peiré

Example of a photograph displayed and showing, in 1869, a last pile of the Daurade bridge in Toulouse, shortly before its destruction (1875). © Municipal Archives of Toulouse

Example of a photograph displayed and showing, in 1869, a last pile of the Daurade bridge in Toulouse, shortly before its destruction (1875). © Municipal Archives of Toulouse

The inauguration was an opportunity to thank the museum (Cl. Jacquet on the left, general curator of the exhibit, and me), the Municipal Archives of Toulouse and Inrap. The speeches were followed by a guided visit of the exhibit and a reception. © M. Dayrens

The inauguration was an opportunity to thank the museum (Cl. Jacquet on the left, general curator of the exhibit, and me), the Municipal Archives of Toulouse and Inrap. The speeches were followed by a guided visit of the exhibit and a reception. © M. Dayrens

Archives of archaeology

Archival management is the work of a team, at Inrap made up of 13 agents, distributed (répartis) among different archaeological centers across France. Since I find the French grammatical rule of gender ridiculous, I am going to write “réparties” (the feminine form of “distributed”) since we are 12 women out of 13! We would like to have a louder voice, and to be more numerous because:
– the production of documents and data continues to grow and constitutes the heart of the activity of archaeologists,
– the sources of information are multiplying,
– new technologies continually transform our profession.

My typical day as an archivist at the Inrap bureau in Tours is filled with many tasks, and discussions as well. When I arrive at the office in the morning, I take a look at the new documents to be catalogued, I greet my colleagues and answer their questions, and ensure that the documentation center can welcome them. My main task is in effect to manage the archival documents and facilitate their access to archaeologists: in our on-line document catalog, Dolia, we continually announce the new publications acquired, as well as the reports produced by archaeologists – an exceptional resource for research! For the past two years, I have also been very interested in the digital records of excavation and its archiving. There is a lot to do…

The Inrap documentation center in Tours © G. Babin, intern at Inrap

The Inrap documentation center in Tours © G. Babin, intern at Inrap

The reports © G. Babin, intern at Inrap

The reports
© G. Babin, intern at Inrap

My days can be filled with many other priorities as well: locating information for archaeological operations, developing tools (synthesis, curation, information transmission, etc.), education, intern training, student orientation, meetings, orders, etc. I also communicate regularly with archivists in other structures.

This profession, which requires continual evolution and is situated at the interface of other professions (AST, archaeologists, CAD-CAM, research and development, etc. at Inrap), is very interesting, even if is sometimes a battle to make its importance known. It amuses me to think that archivists are sometimes perceived as archives themselves: they represent the memory of activities and are regularly consulted. We never really know how to use them, nor what purpose they will serve, but we know that one day they will become indispensable…

Emilie Trébuchet, Inrap archivist and archaeologist, UMR 7324