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Bronze Age Era Stone Unearthed in France in 2014 Could Be the Oldest Map of Europe

Image for representation purpose only. (News18 Telugu)

Image for representation purpose only. (News18 Telugu)

The etching on the slab depicts a region in Western Brittany, making it the world's oldest known three-dimensional map of a European region.

A Bronze age stone that was rediscovered in 2014 in France could be the oldest available 3D map of Europe. French scientists have been conducting studies on the slab since 2017 and now in their findings, they confirm that the marking on the stone dates back to 4000 years. The research points out that the slab could be from the early bronze era, between 1900 BC to 1650 BC.

According to a report in BBC, the slab was first discovered in 1900 by a French Archeologist named Paul du Chatellier during a dig at burial ground Finistère, western Brittany. However, it was forgotten for over a century as it stayed stored under a moat at du Chatellier's home. The slab was shifted to a museum in 1924 and later to a caste in France. However, the significance of the slab was forgotten before its rediscovery in 2014.

Even after its rediscovery in 2014, there wasn’t much happening until 2017, when scientists from the French National Institute for Preventive Archaeological Research, Bournemouth University and The University of Western Brittany had a look at the slab.

The etching on the slab depicts a region in Western Brittany, making it the world's oldest known three-dimensional map of a European region. The slab's topography appears to be purposefully 3D-shaped to reflect the Odet Valley, and many lines on it seem to depict the river network,

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Studies confirm that the 2m by 1.5m (5ft by 6.5ft) map depicts an18 km long area around the river stretch with an accuracy of almost 80 per cent.

The researchers suggest that while there are several such maps carved on stones, this particular slab is the first one to depict an area on a specific scale.

This slab map was possibly used to mark the ownership of a particular area. They further emphasised that it could be an important reference to study the cartographical knowledge of past societies.

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first published:April 07, 2021, 18:17 IST