"Archeology is a way of understanding the world today"


During the National Days of Archeology, Université PSL met Carole Quatrelivre, president of ArkhéoPSL, an associative club open to all archeology enthusiasts.


The ArkhéoPSL team - center : Carole Quatrelivre

My background

I am a PhD student in archeology at ENS, and I have been passionate about archeology and history since childhood, because, who is not a fan of pyramids? After the baccalaureate, I entered the Ecole du Louvre; from there I joined the ENS for a Master’s program. Currently, I conduct research on the Gauls in Île-de-France. The traces of the Gauls and Celts (the question of distinction is complex!) were very quickly the object of political recoveries in the nineteenth century, going hand in hand with a rise in European nationalism. This example alone shows how archeology is a construction, a reflection of our current world: to do archeology, for me is to understand (a little) our world today. I hope to deconstruct myths and especially spread my knowledge, ideally by education. We will remember the event Nuit Debout and Musée Dehors!

The birth of the ArkhéoPSL association

Two friends, Martin Jaillet, from the ENS, and Elisabeth Goussard, PhD student at the Ecole Pratique des Hautes Etudes (EPHE), were interested in a collection of antique Greek vases donated at the beginning of the 20th century to the ENS. We started working together for a year with a group of students from the school and other Parisian universities. The idea sprang up in Martin's mind to form an archeology club, an association that would give a more institutional framework to this project, then the idea was to create a kind of platform for debate around archeology for all PSL students. Through the ENS network, it was finally for us the best way to reach the most students. This network was created in June 2017 by Martin and Elisabeth, and I took over the club in September 2017 as president. ArkhéoPSL has become an cross-institutions club, open to all, whether you are a PhD student in archeology or just simply passionate about it. Through our activities and the newsletter, we try to promote the news of archaeological research and the debate and knowledge sharing between students, regardless of their level of education and majors.

ArkhéoPSL, an active association for archeology enthusiasts

We are thirty members, mainly PhD students and masters students who already knew each other or the association through displays in PSL institutions and Agora PSL, organized by the Union PSL in November 2017. The members come mainly from the ENS, the Ecole nationale des chartes (ENC) and the EPHE for PSL, but we also have members from other Parisian universities such as Paris I and Paris IV. We even have a retired professor of the Egyptology laboratory, AOrOc ENS, who regularly participates in the activities of the association. We get to share his organizational experience! In 2017, we organized no less than 18 events. From simple moments of meetings, time to get to know oneself outside the university, or visits to museums, we try to plan everything in advance. We try to set up guided visits by students or by museum staff: it is a privileged moment to share freely on topics that fascinate us.

Not to mention the mini Arkhéconfs. We organized a cycle of 8 conferences led by our members, which took place either at the ENS or the ENC. For each, I meet and debate with people whose topics seem potentially interesting to the public. Thanks to the logistics department of the ENS, I reserve a room and I leave the freedom to the speakers to prepare their presentation as they wish. We make audio recordings of them, so that we can distribute and make them accessible in the future to as many people as possible.

My most beautiful associative moments

We were lucky enough to have a private guided tour of the Tour Jean Sans Peur by the communication manager, Agnes Lavoye. It was a rather exceptional visit for us, with a guide who has expert knowledge on this monument. There is, of course, the first exit, the visit to the Louvre Museum in the Val d’Oise: with more than 10 people -  I did not think there would have been so many people. It has been a success both scientific and human, and we really made friends in this association! Finally (and it's purely personal), my most memorable moment was last week, when our members gave me chocolates and a thank you card.

Our goals

First goal: a dedicated office! My position as president will certainly be put back into play, but I already have ideas. I feel it is urgent to set up a real office in the upcoming year, with social networks, events, a newsletter and help from PSL, and we’d like to especially develop content for PSL Explore. Then, we hope to establish the Youtube channel and continue mini-Arkheoconfs, with a rhythm of one to two conferences per month. I had a lot of very positive feedback around this activity. Of course, we will continue our visits to sites and museums: we are far from having exhausted all the things to do. For now, we are establishing a good continuity and expansion of the association. We will try to recruit more members for continued exchange: whether they are archaeologists or not, the club is open to all. For more information, find us this weekend at the Journées nationales de l’archéologie (National Days of Archeology)!

Where I see myself in ten years

I hope to have finished my thesis and be practicing archeology. I would like to perhaps pursue a role in education. It's popularization, pedagogy, it's always this desire to share. So maybe teaching. We won’t fool ourselves, positions are hard to get, but I’m really committed to it. As for the association, we hope to have launched a dynamic in the long term and we will not rest on our laurels, that is a promise!

Further information about :

- The club and its events? Come and meet them during the Journées nationales de l'Archéologie : Archives nationales, 11 rue des Quatre Fils 75003 - Friday, June 15th to Sunday, June 17
- The Celts? "Réinventer les Celtes" is a virtual exhibition, set up with the AOrOc laboratory from ENS, available on PSL Explore