The kids these days find it hard to believe we ever had to make do with something as archaic as folding paper maps for wayfinding. But just wait until they hear about how it was done in the Bronze Age! A large slab of rock, measuring five by six and a half feet, is thought to be the world’s oldest 3D map of Europe. We’re going to need a bigger glove compartment!
The rock, known as the Saint-Bélec Slab, is from France and is believed to date from the early Bronze Age, between 1900 BCE and 1650 BCE. It was initially discovered during digs of a prehistoric burial ground in Finistère (western Brittany) by local archaeologist Paul du Chatellier in 1900 CE. After his death, the archaeologist’s collection was donated to the National Archaeological Museum of Saint-Germain-en-Laye. The slab lay forgotten in its cellar until 2014 when several scholars studied du Chatellier’s writings and went in search of the artifact in the museum’s cellar.
After being rediscovered, the Saint-Bélec Slab has been studied for the last seven years, and archaeologists now believe the 4,000-year-old stone bears a crude map of a region in western Brittany.
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, according to reporting by BBC News. Comparisons to contemporary topography indicate a rough but fairly accurate resemblance to an 18-mile area in the River Odet valley.
“This is probably the oldest map of a territory [in Europe] that has been identified,” Clément Nicolas from Bournemouth University, one of the study’s authors, told the BBC. Nicolas thinks the map may have been used to identify the landholdings of a particular prince or king of the time.
“We tend to underestimate the geographical knowledge of past societies. This slab is important as it highlights this cartographical knowledge,” Nicolas continued. With this research, humanity’s breadth and interest in cartography are once again affirmed — but we do have to give it up to millennials for rocking out options with greater portability.
Correction 4/15/2021 2:44pm: An earlier version of this article stated that the slab was discovered in du Chatellier’s cellar in 2014. Instead, it was found in the cellar of the National Archaeological Museum of Saint-Germain-en-Laye, where the archaeologist’s collection had been donated after his death.
The school denounced the rapper’s “anti-Black, antisemitic, racist and dangerous statements.”
Online, dozens of artists have posted tribute artworks in honor of Mohsen Shekari’s life and calling for the immediate release of protesters.
This week, news outlets flock to TikTok, New York Times staff strikes, the problem with the phrase “late-term abortion,” and was the North Pole once a forest?
The 11,000-year-old wall relief discovered in Southeastern Turkey may reflect humans’ changing roles in the natural world during the Neolithic Revolution.
The Brazilian artist asked the museum to remove his work from a show about the Black experience, calling the institution a “White man’s theater.”
In an era of fast fashion and sweatshop exploitation, the artist demonstrates how far an industry will go to keep workers out of the picture.
This adventurous theater festival returns in person with 36 artists and companies from nine countries performing at different venues across the city.
Both Don Ed Hardy and Laurie Steelink refuse to adhere to traditional artistic hierarchies, an attitude they have shared throughout their 30-year friendship.
It took over 37 hours to pull 1,900 miles of glass filament to create the garment, now on view at the Toledo Museum of Art.
Learn more about the New York-based, globally linked program and its upcoming discussions on art and society in the time of AI and data governance.
An insidious racism is at play in interviewer Henri Renaud’s attempt to groom Thelonious Monk for public consumption on French television.
The last few years at the museum have not been without controversy, and Decatur will inherit a record of workforce struggles.