A Bronze-age slab first uncovered in 1900 in western France is the oldest map in Europe, in keeping with a research launched this week.
The 4,000-year-old object, generally known as the Saint-Belec slab, is engraved with markings that characterize a part of the Black Mountains area of western France, stated Yvan Pailler, an archaeologist and one of many authors of the research printed within the Bulletin of the French Prehistoric Society.
“Today, it is the oldest map of a territory in Europe,” he stated.
“You can see on the slab carvings which, at first sight, are not understandable.
“You should actually take your time to begin to comprehend the best way the motifs are organised and structured and the best way they’re interlinked via traces.”
Archaeologist Paul du Chatellier discovered the slab at an ancient burial ground in Finistere in 1900, and it was stored for decades at one of his properties.
Researchers only began to study the rock — which measures 2.2 metres by 1.5 metres and weighs a ton — in 2017.
The repeated motifs joined by lines represented a territory 30 kilometres long and 21 kilometres wide and may signify the ownership of the land by a prince or a king, the researchers said.
“If we might decipher what these symbols imply, we might know what the map represents,” Paillier said, adding that the slab raises many questions.
“Can we nonetheless discuss societies the place writing did not exist and of pre or protohistory when you possibly can produce a map with a caption?”
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