Bronze Age slab found in France is oldest 3D map in Europe

Blackleaf

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Bronze Age slab found in France is oldest 3D map in Europe​

BBC News
Tuesday 6th April 2021

The Saint-Bélec Slab
The slab is covered in patterns of engravings

A freshly unearthed Bronze-Age stone may be the oldest three-dimensional map in Europe, researchers say.


The 2m by 1.5m slab (5ft by 6.5ft), first uncovered in 1900, was found again in a cellar in a castle in France in 2014.

Archaeologists who studied patterns engraved on the 4,000-year-old stone say they believe the markings are a map of an area in western Brittany.

They say this makes the slab the oldest 3D map of a known area in Europe.

Black and white image of the slab

The slab was first discovered in Brittany in 1900.

The piece of rock, known as the Saint-Bélec Slab, is believed to date from the early Bronze Age, between 1900 BC and 1650 BC.

It was first unearthed in 1900, during digs on an prehistoric burial ground in Finistère, western Brittany, by local archaeologist Paul du Chatellier.

The slab was apparently forgotten for over a century, stored for decades under a moat at Mr du Chatellier's home, the Château de Kernuz.

But researchers hunting for the slab found it in a cellar in 2014.

Markings on the rock
Markings on the rock are believed to depict an area of western Brittany


After analysing marks and engravings on the stone, the researchers suspected it could be a map.

The "presence of repeated motifs joined by lines" on its surface suggested it depicted an area of Finistère, a study in the Bulletin of the French Prehistoric Society said.

The researchers say the indentations are a 3D representation of the River Odet valley, while several lines appear to depict the area's river network.

Geo-location revealed the territory represented on the slab bears an 80% accuracy to an area around a 18 mile-long stretch of the river.

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

A mark in the rock
The "map" matches a a stretch of the River Odet valley

"There are several such maps carved in stone all over the world.

Generally, they are just interpretations. But this is the first time a map has depicted an area on a specific scale."

Dr Nicolas said the map may have been used to mark a particular area.

"It was probably a way to affirm the ownership of the territory by a small prince or king at the time," he said.

"We tend to underestimate the geographical knowledge of past societies. This slab is important as it highlights this cartographical knowledge."

Map: Brittany, shown in north-western France, with Brest, Finistere in the west.


 

55Mercury

rigid member
May 31, 2007
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Bronze Age slab found in France is oldest 3D map in Europe​

BBC News
Tuesday 6th April 2021

The Saint-Bélec Slab
The slab is covered in patterns of engravings

A freshly unearthed Bronze-Age stone may be the oldest three-dimensional map in Europe, researchers say.


The 2m by 1.5m slab (5ft by 6.5ft), first uncovered in 1900, was found again in a cellar in a castle in France in 2014.

Archaeologists who studied patterns engraved on the 4,000-year-old stone say they believe the markings are a map of an area in western Brittany.

They say this makes the slab the oldest 3D map of a known area in Europe.

Black and white image of the slab

The slab was first discovered in Brittany in 1900.

The piece of rock, known as the Saint-Bélec Slab, is believed to date from the early Bronze Age, between 1900 BC and 1650 BC.

It was first unearthed in 1900, during digs on an prehistoric burial ground in Finistère, western Brittany, by local archaeologist Paul du Chatellier.

The slab was apparently forgotten for over a century, stored for decades under a moat at Mr du Chatellier's home, the Château de Kernuz.

But researchers hunting for the slab found it in a cellar in 2014.

Markings on the rock
Markings on the rock are believed to depict an area of western Brittany


After analysing marks and engravings on the stone, the researchers suspected it could be a map.

The "presence of repeated motifs joined by lines" on its surface suggested it depicted an area of Finistère, a study in the Bulletin of the French Prehistoric Society said.

The researchers say the indentations are a 3D representation of the River Odet valley, while several lines appear to depict the area's river network.

Geo-location revealed the territory represented on the slab bears an 80% accuracy to an area around a 18 mile-long stretch of the river.

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

A mark in the rock
The "map" matches a a stretch of the River Odet valley

"There are several such maps carved in stone all over the world.

Generally, they are just interpretations. But this is the first time a map has depicted an area on a specific scale."

Dr Nicolas said the map may have been used to mark a particular area.

"It was probably a way to affirm the ownership of the territory by a small prince or king at the time," he said.

"We tend to underestimate the geographical knowledge of past societies. This slab is important as it highlights this cartographical knowledge."

Map: Brittany, shown in north-western France, with Brest, Finistere in the west.


It can't be!
Where's the little 'you are here' arrow?
 

Blackleaf

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It would be funny if it was an alien spaceship but we think it's a penis.
 

Danbones

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The item in the OP looks like the tangled, constantly mutating boot-up screen on my old blackberry playbook - only written in stone.
:)
I was always thinkin' it was a bit "boobish" too.
 
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55Mercury

rigid member
May 31, 2007
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The item in the OP looks like the tangled, constantly mutating boot-up screen on my old blackberry playbook - only written in stone.
:)
I was always thinkin' it was a bit "boobish" too.
that just shows you where our minds are at. lol

forever nineteen!

:?D
 
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Danbones

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Yeah well, 3D pink ( among other colors) circles with brown centers...the double ones without brown centers are Ass cheeks I think.
:)
Nice shaped ones too I might add. Though, to be fair, I am not much one for the rainbow colored asspect of the whole show.

Heh, but then again, they are just ( ahem...) circles.
 

55Mercury

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May 31, 2007
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♫ they're big and round, they're all around, they're big and round, they're all around ♪

:?D
 
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