The Saint-Belek slab measuring 2×1.5 m was discovered in 1900. Then it was transferred to a private museum, where it was kept for many years and was forgotten. Several years ago it was “rediscovered” and began to be studied.
Archaeologists compared the patterns on the stone block and came to the conclusion that the map depicts the territory of a region in northwestern France. According to the researchers, the three-dimensional map of the area was created during the early Bronze Age (2150-1600 BC). This makes it the oldest of all such cards.
Examination of the engraved surface showed that some of the recessed patterns represent a three-dimensional image of the Odet River valley. Several lines show the river network in the French region of Finistere. Moreover, the creators of the map probably worked hard and long on it – its accuracy reaches 80%, experts say.
The three-dimensional map could have been used to confirm ownership of the depicted lands, the researchers said. It may have belonged to a king or prince of these territories.