Ancient Maps
Piri Reis Map

The Piri Reis Map is the most interesting mysterious ancient map that was professionally drawn with great elegance and profession in 1513. The map was discovered by a German theologian, Gustav Adolf Deissmann in 1929 when he was cataloging documents in the Topkapi Palace library located in Istanbul. He found the enigmatic chart intermingled with abandoned and less valued materials. As documented in many of the history books, the original map was inscribed on a gazelle skin parchment. Analysis of the map by different scholars revealed that the map was drawn from a geographical and geometrical understanding of the Turkish Navy and a Sailor, Hagji Ahamed Muhidin Piri, who was mostly known as Piri Reis.

In the analysis of this map, one may feel obliged to use the terms such as seems likely, probably, plausibly, or even apparently since of the map raises droves of controversy in the understanding of the of the exact geographical positions presented on the ancient map. More so, it raises the question of the level of geographical, cartographical, and geometric understanding of 1513. Piri Reis is claimed to have used close to 20 sources and claims this in his own script found on the map. Among the most striking source inclusion in the Piri Reis map is the 1498 map by Columbus. Much of the depictions on the map, serves as evidence of an ancient seafaring civilization, who’s ancient existence has long since been forgotten. Many have theorized that this map also serves as reinforcing evidence of the ancient astronaut theory.

Since much of the ancient source maps have since been lost, several authors have written detailed works in an effort of addressing the mysterious features, geographical locations, and features depicted on the map. From the map one gets an insightful historical understanding of the pre-ice-covered Antarctica. However, this depiction and representation Antarctica on the map brings about the controversy of the above-mentioned super-culture between the 14th and 16th centuries. The controversy in such interpretation results from the fact that there exist no written records to empirically support the sophisticated knowledge of the lost culture’s understanding of astronomy, navigation, and mathematics. Antarctica is represented as a vast land with rivers, lakes, and mountains. In an effort to explain how such sophisticated knowledge was obtained, researchers such as Hapgood and Hancock postulate that the information was likely acquired from ancient satellite surveys.

However, more controversy regarding the accuracy of the geographical points and whether the map is a correct representation of the Pre-ice Antarctica arises from later surveys and the modern geographical understanding of the area. The map representation gives no evidence the Drake Passage between Antarctica and South America. This lack of roughly 923 miles of the coast that joins Tierra Del Fuego to Brazil also acts as proof that the map may not be an actual representation of the Antarctica. However, the proponents of the ancient mariner theory argue that the lack of such geographical features is evidence of lost geographical knowledge.

Ancient Maps

The Piri Reis Map does not stand alone in the assortment of enigmatic maps from antiquity that display information that should not have been known. Other convincing maps containing evidence of a lost super culture, although controversial, include the herein maps:

The Zeno Map

Interestingly, the Zeno map of the North Atlantic was first published in 1558 in Venice by Nicolo Zeno. The younger Zeno claimed he found drawings within the family storeroom among with letters dated as early as the year 1400. Documents found alongside the map described a journey made to the North Atlantic and people believed the journey transversed to North America.

However, these claims were regarded as a hoax by historians who stated Zeno wanted to make a retroactive claim for Venice to be recognized as having discovered the world, in an effort to refute Christopher Columbus as the renown world explorer.

The Bache Map

The Bache map of 1737 is credited to geographer Philippe Bauche. It is one of many images of what Antarctica looked like in pre-ice periods. Being published in 1737, the map stands as a clear evidence of the existence of sophisticated navigation, surveying, geometry, and cartographical and geographical knowledge that is scantly documented in the historical record. On the map, the Canary Islands are perfectly depicted in their exact geographical positions. The representation of the water canal that divides Antarctica was later discovered by geologists and this evidence was indicative of ice-free periods.

The Mercator Map

Another timely piece, the Mercator map of 1569 is a commonly used projection popularized in the late 18th and 19th centuries by Gerardus Mercator. This major milestone in nautical cartography was a discovery used to project the ancient world in terms of latitude and longitude. However, the author failed to explain the methodologies used for its construction, thus increasing the controversial nature of the ancient chart. Accuracy is dependent upon the latitudes as objects are distorted when the latitude progresses further from the equator.

The Oronce Fine Map

Lastly, the Oronce Fine Map of 1532 is a projection by the famous French cartographer Oronce Fine, who presented the world as one large landmass that attempts to reconcile old medieval legends and information. The map shows Antarctica with no ice caps and also classified Asia and North America as one continent, while using the term America to refer to South America. Here we find another reference to Antartica prior to its orthodox discovery in 1818.

Liv Moore

About the Author: Liv Moore is a freelance writer currently pursuing a doctorate’s degree and has conducted successful research trips on the Eastern side of L.Turkana, Northern Kenya. She has also worked with some near-coming researchers as well as some prominent archeologists all over the world. She is a regular contributor to several scientific pieces and Ancient History Encyclopedia.


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