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, often called the Saint-Belec slab, is engraved with markings that signify 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.
“At this time, it’s the oldest map of a territory in Europe,” he stated.
“You’ll be able to see on the slab carvings which, at first sight, will not be comprehensible.
“You will need to actually take your time to begin to comprehend the best way the motifs are organised and structured and the best way they’re interlinked by means of strains.”
Archaeologist Paul du Chatellier found the slab at an historical burial floor in Finistere in 1900, and it was saved for many years at considered one of his properties.
Researchers solely started to check the rock — which measures 2.2 metres by 1.5 metres and weighs a ton — in 2017.
The repeated motifs joined by strains represented a territory 30 kilometres lengthy and 21 kilometres huge and will signify the possession of the land by a prince or a king, the researchers stated.
“If we may decipher what these symbols imply, we might know what the map represents,” Paillier stated, including that the slab raises many questions.
“Can we nonetheless speak about societies the place writing did not exist and of pre or protohistory when you’ll be able to produce a map with a caption?”
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