A large stone tablet, weighing more than a ton, was unearthed on July 21, 1999, in the town of Bashkorostan, Russia, located in the Ural Mountains. At first, the discoverers thought that the cracks and lines on the stone were formed naturally. However, it was soon discovered that the pattern on the tablet was really a detailed topographical map of the surrounding area, denoting mountain peaks, waterways, and geographical features. The perspective of the map is what confounds researchers…it shows the region from above. Dating the artifact has proven to be challenging.
One group of researchers tested a seashell that was embedded in the tablet and dated it as old as 120 million year old. But there is no indication that the map is also that old. Other researchers put its age closer to 3,000 years old. Either way, the findings are intriguing. How did ancient people have the technology to create an aerial map? Perhaps the answer will be found when researchers find a way to decipher the numerous carved inscriptions on the stone.