Daily Archives: December 5th, 2007

Centuries-Old Map Baffles Researchers

From Graham Hancock.com :

The only surviving copy of the 500-year-old map that first used the name America goes on permanent display this month at the Library of Congress, but even as it prepares for its debut, the 1507 Waldseemuller map remains a puzzle for researchers.
Why did the mapmaker name the territory America and then change his mind later? How was he able to draw South America so accurately? Why did he put a huge ocean west of America years before European explorers discovered the Pacific?

“That’s the kind of conundrum, the question, that is still out there,” said John Hebert, chief of the geography and map division of the Library of Congress.

The 12 sheets that make up the map, purchased from German Prince Johannes Waldburg-Wolfegg for $10 million in 2003, were mounted on Monday in a huge 6-foot by 9.5-foot (1.85 meter by 2.95 meter) display case machined from a single block of aluminum.

The case will be flooded with inert argon gas to prevent deterioration when it goes on public display December 13.

This map echoes the same questions the Piri Reis map of 1513 posed. The Reis Maps showed the coastal areas of Antarctica 300 years before the supposed discovery of the continent. Are these maps related somehow? Did both Reis and Waldseemuller have older, more accurate references to work from?

This is interesting because of the closeness of the timelines, the Waldseemuller Americas Map of 1507 and the Reis Antarctica/South America Maps of 1513.

Very curious indeed.

Original Article