Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Daily Dedroidify: Piri Reis map

Daily Dedroidify: Piri Reis map

In 1929, a group of historians found an amazing map drawn on a gazelle skin, which showed continents people had never seen before! The map accurately depects longitude, something the Europeans were only capable of doing in the 18th century, and it is a 16th century map!

Research showed that it was a genuine document drawn in 1513 by Piri Reis, a famous admiral of the Turkish fleet in the sixteenth century. His passion was cartography. His high rank within the Turkish navy allowed him to have a privileged access to the Imperial Library of Constantinople. The Turkish admiral admits in a series of notes on the map that he compiled and copied the data from a large number of source maps, some of which dated back to the 4th century BC or earlier.

The Piri Reis map shows the western coast of Africa, the eastern coast of South America, and the northern coast of Antarctica. The northern coastline of Antarctica is perfectly detailed. The most puzzling however is not so much how Piri Reis managed to draw such an accurate map of the Antarctic region 300 years before it was discovered, but that the map shows the coastline under the ice. Geological evidence confirms that the latest date Queen Maud Land could have been charted in an ice-free state is 4000 BC! And we only know Queen Maud Land's true configuration since 1949! (adapted from ('Ik reis' means 'I travel' (verb) & 'reis' = 'journey' in dutch/flemish) (Again I'm not saying this is a conspiracy with this label, I'm hinting at a possibility, perhaps I should start a mystery label ;p)

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