The oldest geographical map in Europe was accidentally found in a museum. Reedus

Archaeologists have discovered an object that can be considered the oldest geographical map in Europe. True, a stone slab with a map was found back in 1900, after which it remained in oblivion for more than a century.


According to a French magazine Bulletin of the French Prehistoric Society, the so-called Saint-Belek slab, discovered during excavations of a mound about four thousand years ago, entered the National Museum of Antiquities in 1924 from a private collection and was kept in storerooms for more than 90 years. It was dotted with some lines, dots and images, but their meaning remained unclear.

Saint-Belek plate.

© DENIS GLIKSMAN

Only in 2017, high-resolution 3D images of the slab were at the disposal of French and British researchers. They found repeating symbols on them – circles, squares, bowls and lines.

Comparing the drawings on the slab with maps of the area where it was discovered, experts from the Universities of Bournemouth (Britain) and Western Brittany (France) came to the conclusion that the Saint-Belek slab, processed approximately in 2150-1600 BC, is a map the valley of the Odet river in Brittany.

The river network is depicted on a map of the early Bronze Age, covering an area of ​​21 by 30 kilometers, with amazing accuracy. Ancient cartographers also put on the slab signs indicating the location of villages and settlements, fields, gravestones.

Perhaps this is the oldest map of the territory known to man, – suggested one of the authors of the study, Dr. Clemens Nicholas from the University of Bournemouth.

Recently, on the island of Skholm in the UK, traces of ritual burials were discovered that could have been made there 3,750-9,000 years ago. It is curious that the rabbits were the first to stumble upon the archaeological site, and only then the island keepers discovered stone tools, which were thrown out of the hole by the rodents.

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