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Mysterious Monument Shaped Like a Bow Tie

An extraordinary ancient monument containing weapons and artifacts has been discovered in in France.

horseshoe-shaped ancient monument discovered in Marliens, Eastern France
Aerial view of the triple enclosure | Jérôme Berthet, Inrap

Surprisingly, these artifacts do not belong to one particular historical period but many, spanning thousands of years. Archaeologists from the French National Institute of Preventive Archaeological Research (INRAP), who led the excavation work, described the finding as "unprecedented," as there are no other known sites with similar shaped constructions.

Located in Marliens, a commune in eastern France, the site has a large bowtie-shaped structure, whose middle sports a circular construction measuring 36 feet (11 meters) in diameter. This centre circlet is interconnected by a 26-foot-long (8 m) horseshoe-shaped structure on one side and a jug-handle-shaped feature on the other, reports Live Science.

The recovered artifacts and weapons include flint arrowheads, protective armbands used by archers, a flint lighter, and a copper-alloy dagger - and these relics suggest that the location was populated at different times.

For example, says Interesting Engineering, the carved flint items unearthed in a nearby ditch are thought to date from the Neolithic era (from around 7,000 B.C.), when early human civilization began practicing agriculture. Meanwhile, the weapons discovered at the site are likely to be related to the Bell Beaker civilization, which thrived some 4,500 years ago. The Bell Beaker culture, notable for its unique pottery and burial practices, is considered an important European archeological period.

Other constructions found at the site include several wells with clay lining at the bottom that are thought to be from the Bronze Age, as well as a necropolis with five circular enclosures containing burial remains and a funeral pyre. Based on five copper-alloy pins, an amber-beaded necklace and pottery shards scattered there, archaeologists determined that this portion of the site dates to sometime between 1500 and 1300 B.C.

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