Ancient Secrets from Ancient Map Makers

According to most textbooks and published material on the subject, humanity became ‘civilized’ no more than circa 6,000 years ago, or ~4,000BCE. The first centers of civilization were the Fertile Crescent of the Middle East where Sumer and Egypt sprang forth about 3,500BCE, then the Indus Valley and China and 1,500 years later civilization appeared spontaneously and independently in the Americas. All the ‘independent’ areas just mentioned have and are credited with building pyramids, have stories of  Gods giving the gifts of civilization, studied the stars with incredible accuracy, and seemed to have a real and in-depth knowledge of the vastness of, not only, our world, but, the universe, as well. They did not doubt the existence of peoples from lands across the seas, they did not seem to deny the diversity of humanity, and they seemed to have more open minds about where we came from and how we progressed than do we humans of today.

Some of these cultures seemed to have very detailed and complex concepts of time and some seem to have the mathematical comprehension to create vast structures, some that modern man still does not fully understand; yet, we consider and label these cultures as ‘primitive’ or ‘technologically childish’. We have discussed how secrets or important information about our past might have been recorded for us to discover in the construction of the Giza Plateau and we will also discuss this when we explore other pyramid complexes and the layout of henges across Europe and other sacred sites, such as city plans in the Americas. For this article though, we are going to discuss knowledge that was left to us by unidentified people from an unidentified place and time that has managed to survive, if, as with all open secrets, one only looks.

Library of Alexandria via

If I could have any one thing from all history (well known history that is)  to explore and see and wander through, it would be the Library at Alexandria. It is believed that the library contained either the actual or copies of almost every piece of known knowledge of the time. Many of these treasures of history have been lost to humanity since their collecting within the great rooms of the Library.

The Library was part of the Musaeum of Alexandria, which was the predecessor of universities as the primary centers of research and higher education. Thus their knowledge was not limited to one area or state or source. It is said that every ship arriving in port in Alexandria was searched for ‘books’ which were then taken to the library where they were copied and it was a copy that was returned to the owner of the ‘borrowed book’. However, due to political winds of change many scholars that had studied at the great library removed themselves from Alexandria to other great cities of the time, such as Constantinople with her Imperial Library.

And it is at the Imperial Library that probably the most famous ‘ancient secret’ is revealed through the works of a favored and renown Turkish Admiral of the Ottoman Navy, Piri Reis. In about 1513AD, Piri Reis compiled a map that showed the West Coast of Africa, the East Coast of South America and the Northern Coast of Antarctica. While, if your history of European exploration is a little weak, you might think so what, what makes this a big deal; the thing is that his map shows Antarctica’s coast without ice. Let that sink in. I will wait. . . . . .

Piri Reis 1513AD Map

Okay, now let’s discuss some other ‘features’ of the map that lead to some interesting thoughts, or should. Piri Reis tells us in the notes on the map, that he compiled his map from contemporary as well as older source charts that he apparently found within the Imperial Library, some dating as far back as the 4th century BCE. So Piri Reis admits that he is not the original compiler, the man is a known historical figure, he was well respected, until he fell from grace and was beheaded. He was a Naval Admiral, so he understood maps and map-making, he authored Kitabi Bahriye, a famous sailing book providing comprehensive information of the Aegean and Mediterranean Seas. Thus it can be said that the man was learned and knowledgeable about maps and map-making and the geography of the world.

So before we return to the ice free coast of Antarctica, lets see what else this enigmatic maps tells us. Other features on Reis’ map, that are of interest, include the following, with regard to South America;
1) the land mass is depicted from its eastern coast to the Andes, not yet discovered or mapped;
2) the map depicts the Falkland Islands, which were discovered in 1592;
3) the map does not show the Orinoco River, but instead shows two estuaries extending about 100 miles inland in the current location of the river;
4) the map appears to show the mouth of the Amazon not once but twice, first with only the Pora River mouth and without the island Marajo and secondly with Marajo as an island and in great detail (Marajo being discovered in 1543)
5) the map shows a large island about 700 miles off the coast of Brazil, that currently does not exist, however this island lays over the sub-oceanic Mid Atlantic Ridge where the Rocks of Sts. Peter and Paul jut above the waves.

To return to the original and most interesting anomaly, the ice free coast of Antarctica is that of Queen Maud Land, shown in accurate detail according to seismic surveys of 1948.  Antarctica was discovered in its present frozen state in 1818 and according to geological study of the area, the last time that Queen Maud Land would have been free of ice was between 15,000 – 6,000 years ago.
Military analysis of the map suggest that it is accurate and correct, mathematically speaking and seems to be drawn from an Azimuthal Equidistant Projection centered near Cairo.

Ah, but maybe he just got lucky and imagined well! Well, maybe he did, but if he did he was not the only respected map maker with such imagination! Let us see what other renowned and learned men of the time presented in their work.

Oronteus Finaeus 1531 World Map

The next such cartographer that shows us Antarctica, under the ice, is Oronteus Finaeus. In 1531, Finaeus compiles a map that shows the coastal areas of the frozen continent ice-free. His map shows rivers and mountains, however, while he shows much more of the land mass his map is devoid of landscape features in the deep interior, suggesting the presence of glaciers during the origin of his source maps. Study of his map suggests that he used multiple source maps that used different projections, however, even so, Finaeus accurately locates Antarctica within the correct latitudes and longitudes. Finaeus’ map showing the whole coast ice-free gives a look at areas like Ross Sea that have not been seen in modern times with rivers flowing down from mountains not yet buried under a mile or more of ice, which is confirmed by core studies showing that layers of ‘fine-grained and well assorted sediment’ washed into the Ross Sea until about 6000 years ago. Thus, the cores suggest that before 6000 years ago there were in fact rivers that emptied into the Ross Sea and deposited their sediment carried down from the mountains before the glaciers covered the land and interrupted the flow.

The next 16th Century map maker that gives us more to ponder, is none other than Gerard Kremer, known to most of us that study geography as Mercator. Yes, that would be the same Mercator as Mercator projection, which is still in wide use today within the field of cartography.  Mercator included the above Finaeus Map in his Atlas of 1569 along with maps of his own. His maps such as this one showed Antarctica with identifiable Capes, Seas, Islands, Peninsulas, Bays, Mountains, Rivers and Estuaries.

Mercator World Map

As European explorers returned with their ‘first-hand’ charts Mercator’s accuracy in his maps actually decreased. It is believed that the primary reason for this flaw lies in the complexity involved in proper and accurate map making. In simple terms proper map-making requires 3 things;
1) great journeys of discovery
2) advanced mathematical and cartography skills
3) sophisticated and accurate chronometers.

16th Century Explorers were lacking the sophisticated and accurate chronometers, it would not be until the late 18th Century that modern man was able to ‘invent’ such an instrument and thus acquire the ability to map our world properly.

Buache 1737 Map

Into the 18th Century, ancient secrets were still being revealed by map-makers. French geographer, Philippe Buache’s map of Antarctica from 1737, shows a completely ice free land mass, actually 2 land-masses, thus implying that his sources were thousands of years older than either Mercator or Fineaus.

These examples are not the only ones that give us glimpses of ‘history before modern man’, but these are the most well known and since they all depict Antarctica in some form prior to her current state they show not just a glimpse but several moments in time prior to our understanding of history. The mere fact that the glimpses are recorded and have survived are amazing enough, yet the implications of their true and complete meaning are awe inspiring and should be pursued to the fullest to expand our knowledge of our history and our beginnings.  If this isn’t enough to make you wonder just when or how many times man has become ‘civilized’ then I invite you to check out for yourself the following other examples of extraordinary maps of history.
1) Claudius Ptolemy’s 2nd century Map of the North that shows southern Sweden covered with remnant glaciers and present day lakes.
2) a Chinese map carved on a stone pillar from 1137AD of precise and high quality information including accurate longitude.
3) ‘Dulcert Portolano’ of 1339AD, the map focuses on Europe and North Africa, the longitude of the Mediterranean and Black Seas are correct to within half a degree an the latitude is ‘perfect’ across the breadth, ‘with highly scientific accuracy….from Galway, Ireland to the eastern bend of the Don in Russia.’
4) Zeno Map of 1380AD, this map covers vast areas of the north as far as Greenland with longitudes and latitudes that are ‘amazingly accurate’.
5) Iehudi Ibn Ben Zara’s 1487AD Portolano of Europe and North Africa depicts glaciers further south than Sweden and also show more islands in the Aegean Sea, also the average error of longitude is less than a degree.
6) Turk Hadji Ahmed’s map of 1559 show a land strip a thousand miles wide that connects Alaska to Siberia the same land bridge that geologists say was lost to the rising sea levels with the end of the last Ice Age, a fact unknown to modern man of the 16th century.

And for further reading on the subject:
Maps of The Ancient Sea Kings by Charles Hapgood
Path of the Pole By Charles Hapgood
Fingerprints of the Gods by Graham Hancock
Underworld by Graham Hancock