Is this the oldest map in Europe? Stone slab with markings made 4,000 years ago shows part of France


Is this the oldest map in Europe? Giant stone slab with engraved markings 4,000 years ago represents a region of France during the Bronze Age

  • A stone slab forgotten for a century has been considered the oldest map of Europe
  • The stone slab dates to about 4,000 years ago during the Bronze Age.
  • It was first discovered in France in 1900 and then sat in the cellar of a castle until 2017
  • Experts recently analyzed the slab, which shows engravings from Western Britain.
  • There is a 3D way to represent the Odet river valley in France

A Bronze Age stone slab unearthed in France in 1900 has been rediscovered in a new analysis that considers it the oldest known map of Europe.

A team of French scientists determined that the marks were etched 4,000 years ago and represent an area in western Brittany, France.

The slab, dubbed the Saint-Bélec Slab, includes elements the team says they would expect in a prehistoric map, including ‘repeating motifs linked by lines to give the layout of a map.

The etched surface suggests that the slab’s topography was intentionally shaped in 3D to represent the Odet River valley, while various lines appear to represent the river network.

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A Bronze Age stone slab unearthed in France in 1900 has been rediscovered in a new analysis that considers it the oldest known map of Europe.

A Bronze Age stone slab unearthed in France in 1900 has been rediscovered in a new analysis that considers it the oldest known map of Europe.

‘A map is’ a drawing or plan of the earth’s surface or part of it,’ the team wrote in the ad.

“The Saint-Bélec slab contains, in fact, the three most probative elements of prehistoric cartographic representation: homogeneous composition with engravings identical in technique and style and repetition of motifs”.

The slab had been forgotten over time as it was moved to different places in France.

It was first reused in a funerary structure during the late Bronze Age.

A team of French scientists determined that the marks were etched 4,000 years ago and represent an area in western Brittany, France.

A team of French scientists determined that the marks were etched 4,000 years ago and represent an area in western Brittany, France.

Using high-resolution 3D surveys and photogrammetry of the slab, the team was able to confirm that the etchings matched 80 percent of an area surrounding the 18-mile-long Odet River.

Using high-resolution 3D surveys and photogrammetry of the slab, the team was able to confirm that the etchings matched 80 percent of an area surrounding the 18-mile-long Odet River.

The slab formed one of the walls of a stone coffin that contained several bodies with the engravings facing the interior of the tomb.

When it was first unearthed in 1900, experts moved it to the Museum of National Antiquities in 1924 and then moved to a caste in France until it was found in 2014.

However, it wasn’t until 2017 that researchers from the French National Institute for Preventive Archaeological Research (Inrap), Bournemouth University and the University of Western Britain saw the carved slab.

Using high-resolution 3D surveys and photogrammetry of the slab, the team was able to confirm that the etchings matched 80 percent of an area surrounding the 18-mile-long Odet River.

The slab, dubbed the Saint-Bélec Slab, includes elements the team says they would expect in a prehistoric map, including 'repeating motifs linked by lines to give the layout of a map.

The slab, dubbed the Saint-Bélec Slab, includes elements the team says they would expect in a prehistoric map, including ‘repeating motifs linked by lines to give the layout of a map.

When it was first unearthed in 1900, experts moved it to the Museum of National Antiquities in 1924 and then moved to a caste in France until it was found in 2014. However, it wasn't until 2017 that researchers discovered its true meaning. .

When it was first unearthed in 1900, experts moved it to the Museum of National Antiquities in 1924 and then moved to a caste in France until it was found in 2014. However, it wasn’t until 2017 that researchers discovered its true meaning. .

“This is probably the oldest map of a territory that has been identified,” Dr Clément Nicolas of Bournemouth University, one of the study’s authors, told the BBC.

There are several such maps carved in stone around the world. Generally, they are just interpretations. But this is the first time that a map has represented an area on a specific scale. ‘

The rock sheet is five feet by six feet long and is said to highlight that the area was a hierarchical political entity territory that tightly controlled a territory in the early Bronze Age, and breaking it may have indicated doom and deconsecration.

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