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Odd, circular crater spotted from space was actually ancient — and human-made. See it

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Archaeologists using lasers on a satellite found a circular crater on the northern coast of France — and made a monumental discovery.

A team from the National Institute for e-realistic Archaeological Research, or INRAE, were working with LiDAR, a type of radar system that uses lasers projected from a satellite orbiting Earth to scan the ground for potential structures buried under the surface, according to an April 1 news release from the Côtes d’Armor Departmental Council.

Historical structures buried over time may be invisible to the naked eye, the researchers said, but can be found and reconstructed using LiDAR with extreme precision, also preventing potential damage from an excavation.

At Cap d’Erquy, along the northern coast of France, the satellite system picked up on potential structures buried into a crater, according to the release, and the researchers took a closer look.

There appeared to be the remains of about 20 structures buried in the crater, the researchers said, and they were built in a circular formation.

The technology reconstructed the structures and created an image, released by the Côtes d’Armor Departmental Council.

The satellite imaging showed where the Iron Age structures were once built, without having to excavate them, researchers said. INRAE via the Côtes d’Armor Departmental Council

The satellite imaging showed where the Iron Age structures were once built, without having to excavate them, researchers said. INRAE via the Côtes d’Armor Departmental Council


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The structures date to the Iron Ages, the archaeologists said, sometime between the 8th and 5th centuries B.C.

The buildings were part of an ancient village, built around a central square within the depression in the ground, the researchers said.

The archaeologists believe the village would have been occupied by members of the Gallic community, who lived in the region at the time.

The Gallic people, also known as the Gauls, were a Celtic people who occupied parts of modern-day France, Belgium, Germany and Italy and lived in agricultural societies divided into tribes, according to Britannica.

During the 5th century B.C., the Gauls migrated south to the Mediterranean, Britannica says, meaning a community on the northern coast would likely have been abandoned.

Jean-Yves Peskebrel, an archaeologist on the project, said the exceptional find is that of a forgotten village.

Aside from the presence of structures, Peskebrel said LiDAR allowed the team to see decorative elements. He called the technology revolutionary, and said it makes it possible to see into the lives of those in the Iron Age.

Côtes d’Armor is a French department along the English Channel, and the site is about a 240-mile drive west from Paris.

Google Translate was used to translate the news release from the Côtes d’Armor Departmental Council.

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