more fully, Louis Félicien Joseph Caignart de Saulcy (1807–1880), French numismatist and archaeologist. De Saulcy studied at the École Polytechnique in Paris and chose a career in the military. Caught up in the romanticism of the 1820s in France, which involved looking at the nation's past, including its artistic heritage, de Saulcy became interested in some of the archaeology carried out in French territory of that period. He published some numismatic discoveries and was among the first participants in the newly created Revue de numismatique.
He might have continued this amateur work had not the death of his wife In 1850 led him to seek consolation through religion and travel by visiting the Holy Land. De Saulcy was also drawn to the Holy Land through his study of Crusader coins. His two trips—from 1849 to 1851 and later In 1863–1864—and the results of his investigations greatly influenced emerging French Orientalism. De Saulcy studied the principal monuments in Jerusalem, analyzing the masonry of the wall surrounding the Haram esh-Sharif. He excavated the Tombs of the Kings, where he discovered the sarcophagus of Sadan, a queen of Adiabene who converted to Judaism with her family and is better known by her Greek name, Helen. De Saulcy thought that these monuments dated to the time of the Israelite monarchy and therefore preceded classical Greek architecture. We now know that they belong to the first century CE.
De Saulcy was among the pioneers of Palestinian archaeology. He explored the Dead Sea area and produced excellent maps, which his military training had prepared him to draw, in what was the first scientific exploration of the region. He also was the first to use photography as a tool in archaeological research. To bolster his theories on the dating of Jerusalem's monuments, de Saulcy hired a painter, Auguste Salzmann, to photograph them. Salzmann's plates, made In 1854, were published in an album in Paris In 1856. They constitute the first collection of photographic images of Jerusalem.
[See also Jerusalem.]
- Bassan, Fernande. F. L. Caignart de Saulcy: Carnets de voyage en Orient, 1845–1869. Paris, 1955.
- Félix de Saulcy et la Terre Sainte. Notes et Documents des Musées de France, 5. Paris, 1982.
- Salzmann, Auguste. Jérusalem: Étude et reproduction photographique des monuments de la Ville Sainte depuis l'époque judaïque jusqu'à nos jours. Paris, 1856.
- Saulcy, Félicien de. Numismatique des Croisades. Paris, 1847.
- Saulcy, Félicien de. Voyage autour de la Mer Morte et dans les terres bibliques exécuté de décembre 1850 à avril 1851. 3 vols. Paris, 1853. Translated as Narrative of a Journey around the Dead Sea and in the Bible Lands in 1850 and 1851. 2 vols. Edited by Edward de Warren. London, 1853.
Translated from French by Melissa Kaprelian