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Approximately 9,000 years ago in Anatolia, Turkey, an artist drew what could be the world’s oldest known map, complete with a volcano erupting in the background. A recent discovery of lava rock from that time serves as evidence that the painting may indeed be an early example of both cartography and vulcanology.
“I can’t say with 100 percent certainty,” Keith Clarke, a cartographer not involved in the PLOS ONE study, told NPR, “but I would believe that the evidence is now in … favor of it actually being a map.”
Beyond opening a window into our past, the map may hold a warning for the future. Another layer of pumice from approximately 29,000 years ago suggests that the volcano may still be active and presents a hazard for the current residents of the region in Konya Province of south-central Turkey, noted the authors of the PLOS ONE study.