Henri Edouard Prosper Breuil (84), French archaeologist who did research with Dr Robert Broom in SA, dies in Paris


Henri ‘Abbé’ Breuil Henri ‘Abbé’ Breuil. Source:http://hqinfo.blogspot.com/2011/04/ancient-art-3-chiHenri ‘Abbé’ Breuil

Monday, 14 August 1961

Professor Henri Breuil came to South Africa as a part of a six year trip across Southern Africa with a mission to examine rock shelters and rock art. Most of his research in South Africa was conducted with Dr Robert Broom, a paleontologist who was passionate about paleoanthropology.

An ordained priest and a great draftsman, Breuil’s interest in Paleolithic art began when he was still in his home country. He travelled throughout the world to countries that boast Paleolithic art; studying and reproducing them in colour. It is Southern Africa’s rich rock art that lured him to the sub continent. Not only did he become an expert in copying and authenticating primitive art, but he also developed a technique for dating the cave paintings. His most important and well known contribution to Paleolithic art is perhaps authenticating the Altamira paintings, which were thought to be forgeries before his analysis of them.


  1. BookRags, ‘Encyclopedia of World Biography on Henri Edouard Prosper Breuil’ [online] Available at www.bookrags.com [Accessed: 8 July 2011]
    • Answers, ‘Henri Breuil’ [online] Available at www.answers.com [Accessed: 8 July 2011]
    • Encyclopedia Britanna, '
    Henri Brenuil' ,[online], Available at www.britannica.com [Accessed: 23 August 2013]
    • The African Rock Art Digital  Archive,'
    Henri Breuil' , [online], Available at www.sarada.co.za [Accessed: 23 August 2013]

Last updated : 23-Aug-2013

This article was produced for South African History Online on 12-Aug-2011