The Piri Reis Map

In 1929 a group of historians at the Topkapi Palace in Istanbul, Turkey, found an old map. Imprinted on an old Gazelle skin dated 1513 they uncovered a segment of an amazing map. The chart seemed to depict part of the Atlantic Ocean and included the Americas and Antarctica in perfect detail. The mysterious thing was it had been drawn up only a few years after Columbus’ discovery, and three centuries before Antarctica was even known about. Over the years since the find, debate has raged about how the cartographer had assimilated his knowledge.

Piri Reis Map

The Piri Reis Map - with dimensions reported as 90 cm x 63 cm, 86 cm x 60 cm, 90 cm x 65 cm, 85 cm x 60 cm, 87 cm x 63 cm, and 86 cm x 62 cm. These discrepancies are largely due to the damaged corner - is only one of several anomalous maps drawn in the 15th Century and earlier which appear to represent better information about the shape of the continents than should have been known at the time. Furthermore, this information appears to have been obtained at some distant time in the past. 

The Piri Reis map is most interesting because of the attribution of the source of its information, and the extraordinary detail of the coastal outlines. It was found in 1929 in the Imperial Palace in Constantinople. It is painted on parchment and dated 919 A.H. (in the Islamic calendar), which corresponds to 1513 AD. It is signed by an admiral of the Turkish Navy named Piri Ibn Haji Memmed, also known as Piri Re'is. According to Piri Reis, the map had been assembled from a set of 20 maps drawn in the time of Alexander the Great.

This map and others were analyzed by Charles H. Hapgood and his graduate stutents.
Many Piri Reis Map enthusiasts believe the level of geographical detail and mathematical knowledge needed to create the map was far beyond the reach of navigators from the sixteenth or earlier centuries. Indeed, experts at the United States Air Force in the 1960s found the map so accurate they used it to replace false information on their own charts. Some people believe the map could only have been achieved with the help of aerial surveys, and suggest alien creatures mapped the planet thousands of years ago, leaving their results behind to be copied by Mankind.

One striking thing about this map is the level of detail of the coasts and interiors in South America. Although the scale is somewhat off, a long, high mountain range is shown as the source of the rivers flowing to the coast of South America.

However, the best-known feature in the Piri Reis map (and other pre-modern maps) is the Antarctic coastline. In Hapgood and others' opinions, this represents the outline of the coast of Antarctica without glaciers.

Most experts suggest Antarctica was ice-free no later than 6,000 years ago, although others believe ice has covered the continent for – at least – hundreds of thousands of years. Similarly, many cartography experts claim the accuracy of the portolan system of map drawing is more in the eye of the beholder, and many maps of this time included imaginary continents in the south Atlantic. But there are still some unexplainably accurate details on the map.

The Falkland Islands are placed at the correct latitude, despite not being discovered until 1592, and the unknown Andes mountain range was included on the map of America. Similarly, Greenland was shown as three separate islands, a fact only discovered this century.
There are also pictures of some mythical animals in the same vicinity, of which the text reads: "And in this country it seems that there are white-haired monsters in this shape, and also six-horned oxen." The Portuguese infidels have written it in their maps. In any case, this geography should have been unknown to the ancients. If this is correct, there are some big mysteries to explain.
100 Strangest Mysteries by Matt Lamy;;

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Written By Tripzibit on May 12, 2008 | 18:54

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