What makes this discovery truly remarkable is that these markings bear an 80 percent similarity to a 29-kilometer stretch of the Odet.
Ancient discoveries mesmerize historical enthusiasts around the world. These historical remains and matter from decades ago provide fascinating insights into the vast differences between the past and the present. However, these findings have uncovered an even more intriguing purpose. A 4000-year-old stone has become more than a historical souvenir. It has become a treasure map. According to IFL Science, researchers have expressed delight in the finding of the stone and have made quite a few interesting references.
Going back to the Bronze Age, researchers and archaeologists made a captivating find of the partly broken Saint-Bélec slab back in 1900 at a prehistoric site in Finistère, France. However, it disappeared for over a century and was again rediscovered in 2014. Sci News reports that the broken slab was re-used in the burial of the Saint-Bélec towards the end of the early Bronze Age. It measures 3.86 meters long and 2.1 meters wide and dates from between 2150 and 1600 BCE. Until the 1990s, people stored the slab in a niche in the castle moat. In 2014, the slab was found again in a cellar of the castle.
The first photograph of the Saint- Bélec slab, when it was found by Paul du Chatellier in Leuhan, Finistere, Brittany, France in 1900. pic.twitter.com/tUhZdXxRGl— Ceallaigh (@O_Ceallaighs) February 12, 2022
However, after finding it again, researchers were engrossed in figuring out the hidden meaning and significance it held. According to Arkeonews, researchers are using it after 4,000 years of dormancy to uncover ancient sites in northwestern France. The stone is said to have etchings believed to represent the Odet River.
How a Bronze Age rock became a 'treasure map' for researchers.— AFP News Agency (@AFP) October 17, 2023
The so-called Saint-Belec slab was claimed as Europe's oldest map by researchers in 2021 and they have been working ever since to understand its etchingshttps://t.co/w7ZDOQ4MmF pic.twitter.com/1xV1LzPxWO
What makes the story even more captivating is that the markings bear an 80 percent similarity to an area around a 29-kilometer stretch of the Odet. Due to this crazy representation, the Saint-Bélec slab was recognized as Europe’s oldest 3D map. Archaeologists then decided to further study the stone carefully and point out other landmarks of the Bronze Age. While many may argue about the modern equipment and technology meant to ease the discovery process, researchers are hell-bent on using the Saint-Bélec slab to decipher where their next historic finding lies.
Arkeonews shared the opinion of researchers on the matter. “Using the map to try to find archaeological sites is a great approach. We never work like that,” said Yvan Pailler, one of the researchers and a professor at the University of Western Brittany, who is equally in awe of the 4000-year-old rock.
"It's a treasure map," he added. The article mentioned that it was only a matter of time before the researchers were able to understand and try to decode the symbols and etchings on the stone. "There were a few engraved symbols that made sense right away," Pailler said. In the coarse bumps and lines, the team could see the rivers and mountains of Roudouallec, which is part of the Brittany region–about 500 kilometers from Paris.
The Saint-Bélec Slab, a 4,000-year-old carving first uncovered in western Brittany in 1900, and recently rediscovered in the cellar of a chateau, may be a map depicting a network of waterways in the region's Odet River valley. https://t.co/pHXkq8K4Ge pic.twitter.com/3gTWNzKYjb— Archaeology Magazine (@archaeologymag) April 8, 2021
With several other deposits, markings, textures and more, the stone is an invaluable find that can possibly lead to a plethora of priceless discoveries. The researchers have truly hit a jackpot with this one. The stone is evident in its visuals, looking like a 3D map the researchers said. With a diverse texture, irregularities, lines and more, it truly offers an umbrella of findings for archaeologists to uncover. Paillar and his team are back at the site where the slab was discovered to find more to add to their study. “We are trying to better contextualize the discovery, to have a way to date the slab,” Pailler added.