The mysterious monument site appears to have been occupied across multiple historical periods.
unusual circular monument
© Jérôme Berthet, INRAP)An aerial view of the unusual circular monument.
Archaeologists have discovered an unusual horseshoe-shaped monument and a collection of weapons and ornaments spanning multiple historical periods at a site in France.

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 center 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, according to a translated statement from the French National Institute of Preventive Archaeological Research (INRAP), which carried out the excavations.

Researchers described the finding as "unprecedented," as there are no other known sites with similar shaped constructions.

Based on the plethora of artifacts found there — including a bundle containing seven flint arrowheads, two protective armbands worn by archers, a flint lighter and a copper-alloy dagger — archaeologists determined that the site was occupied during different time periods.

variety of weapons
© Pauline Rostollan, INRAP)A variety of weapons were found at the site, including flint arrowheads.
For instance, cut flint objects found in a nearby ditch likely date to the Neolithic period, while the weapons may be traced to the Bell Beaker culture, which emerged around 4,500 years ago, Archaeology Magazine reported.

Researchers are radiocarbon dating the artifacts to pinpoint their ages, according to the statement.

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.

Lastly, archaeologists unearthed a second Iron Age necropolis containing urns with cremated remains, as well as a collection of bracelets and rings.