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THE OLDEST MAP IN THE WORLD

The oldests preserved finds of the art of prehistoric hunters in Czech Republic are the works that were found in Moravia, especially the significantly older Předmostí near Přerov, Dolní Věstonice and Pavlov. One of such archaeological findings, which proves abstract thinking in the Paleolithic period and is approximately 25,000 years old, was discovered at the camp of mammoth hunters near Pavlov in South Moravia in 1962.

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During the archaeological research of the camp of mammoth hunters, bones and mammoth tusks were left on one clay sopuch, where they were exposed to the heat of the South Moravian sun and torrents of rain. In the fall, when these bones and tusks were being cleaned up for storage, a thin but firm calcareous crust was removed from the tip of one mammoth tusk, and an engraved pattern appeared.

The map is a tip of what was originally about a meter long mammoth tusk. The found part is approximately 40 centimeters long and weighs less than a kilogram. According to archaeologists, the engravings are the first prehistoric map in the world. It was found during the survey of a prehistoric settlement at a depth of four to five meters. It lay just less than a kilometer from the place where the Vestonice Venus was found by archaeologist Karel Absolon 37 years earlier. Both prehistoric artifacts are approximately 30,000 years old.

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According to the archaeological-cartographic concept, the drawing has four basic expressive motifs. In the lower part on the left, about three-quarters of the way, a serpentine curve with a double line can express the meandering flow of the Dyje river, even with lobes of possibly flooded areas. The last quarter would then represent clay slopes furrowed by erosion, which disappeared in the 20th century as a result of the activity of a brick factory that used them as a clay pit. B. Klíma identifies the double line in the upper right with the Klentnicky stream. On an elevated spot above the junction of the serpentine double line with the steep clay slopes, the two concentric ovals could represent the camp of mammoth hunters. All these parts of the drawing would then be a plan representation of the essentially planar nature of the landscape. Above the campsite in the upper right part, in an organized jumble of parallel curves, the Pavlov hills could be shown in side view. The ground plan and side view would perhaps best express the character of the surrounding landscape as seen from the elevated camp of the mammoth hunters. In any case, it is a fascinating artistic creation of a long-ago ancestor.

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