The Saint-Bélec slab, believed to date back as far as 4000 years, is hypothesized by researchers to have been the oldest 3D map of Europe, according to a study published earlier this week in the French Prehistoric Society. The team of archaeologists in France, which worked off of the slab that was discovered in western Brittany, used "whole slab observations, general and detailed photographs with oblique lighting, and several 3D survey methods (photogrammetry, general and high definition 3D-scanning) to record the surface topography of the slab at different scales and to analyze the morphology, technology, and chronology of the engravings," according to the study.From the scans, the archeologists concluded that the different rises and falls upon the surface of the slab represent the topographical landscape in the surrounding region, making the Saint-Bélec slab a three-dimensional map. Several shape analyses have shown a high accuracy rate when comparing the markings on the slab to the upper Odet River valley in the region. "This is probably the oldest map of a territory that has been identified," Dr. Clément Nicolas, one of the authors of the study, told the BBC. "There are several such maps carved in stone all over the world. Generally, they are just interpretations."The man who originally discovered the stone, Paul du Chatellier, studied what some scholars thought were "shapeless human representation," according to a report published by Science Alert. The report also states that du Chatellier "reserved the slab in his private collection, before it was sold by his children to the French Museum of National Archaeology." There, it was put into isolation for several decades, only to be rediscovered a few years ago.Researchers are still uncertain as to what the other carvings on the stone represent, but hypothesize that they reflect other unknown settlements dating back to the Bronze Age.