René Ginouvès (Clermont l’Hérault 1926 - Paris 1994)

Professor of Classical Archaeology at the University of Paris X Nanterre from 1968 to 1994, specialised in Greek architecture (especially baths, nymphaea and water networks), he conducted excavations in several ancient cities in Greece, Asia Minor, Cyprus and Macedonia (Delphi, Argos, Gortys in Arcadia, Laodicea on the Lycus, Soloi). He was also member of the Ecole Française d’Athènes (1950-1956) and Professor at the Universities of Lille, Rennes, Paris Sorbonne and Nancy (1962-1968).

He was a pioneer in the application of computer science in classical archaeology, with particular reference to the implementation of data banks, the normalisation of archaeological language and the definition of standard descriptive terminology. Ginouvès soon recognised the advantages of Information Technology for the Humanities, as long as its application is accompanied by a solid methodological reflection and is achieved without losing sight of scientific archaeological purposes.

Director of the Centre de recherches d'archéologie classique (now Archéologie du Monde grec et systèmes d’information) at the University of Paris X Nanterre (1969-1989), he gave birth to a research team dedicated to the application of computer science to archaeology (TAAC: Centre de recherche sur les Traitements Automatisés en Archéologie Classique). During the 1970s and the 1980s he developed, in collaboration with experts from various fields of research, multilingual standard vocabularies, also suitable for computer applications, with particular reference to ancient mosaics, shapes of Greek vases and Greek and Roman architecture.

Two years after his death, the Maison d’Archéologie et d’Ethnologie was inaugurated in Nanterre and dedicated to René Ginouvès, one of the designers of its project. In the website of the Maison – a research organisation that brings together different researchers in the human and social sciences – A.-M. Guimier Sorbets edited a section entitled "Hommage à René Ginouvès".