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

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10 responses

  1. If Waldseemuller and Reis worked from earlier maps, how did they come across them?

  2. One of the most interesting artifacts in all of history as far as I’m concerned, and actually the centerpiece of a long article I’ve been working on lately.

    I think the implications of the map, it’s age, what it shows, and from what perspective tell a pretty interesting story that I think you can back up with other evidence from around the world.

    Nice find!

  3. Dustin: I first read about the Piri Reis maps in Von Daniken’s Ancient Astronaut books thirty-five years ago.

    Ancient astronaut mysteries still intrigue me.

  4. I heard about this yesterday. Very cool.

    Did you see in USA Today yesterday where this teenage boy found the fossilized remains of a dinosaur in the SW corner of South Dakota and the fossil showed the perfect imprint of the dinosaurs skin?

    They dated the find to roughly 67 millions years ago. Very cool.

  5. Christopher: I thought they actually found tiny scraps of hide? I’ll have to check on that.

    A year or so ago, archeologists found a T-Rex fossil with a piece of tendon. They did a DNA test. Not much DNA left, but they found some proteins that were similar to a particular fowl.

    Did you know that T-Rex might’ve tasted like chicken?

  6. That’s very cool Dad. I’ve read a couple Von Daniken books myself, but I think I read about the Piri Reis maps through Graham Hancock and Colin Wilson myself.

    The idea of ancient astronauts has always intrigued me, and still does, but as I’ve done more research I’ve moved away from it just slightly. I still find it a viable option, though, for sure.

    I’m thinking I’ll do a Mac Tonnies kind of thing and put out my article bit by bit as he did with the CTH because it’s just taking me so darn long to put it all together!

  7. Mac’s a great writer and his blog is weird and cool. He doesn’t give himself enough credit at times.

    That’s probably a good way to get your article out too Dustin.

    Leave ’em wanting more.

  8. Did you know that T-Rex might’ve tasted like chicken?

    No, I’ve never eaten dinosaur. I’ll have to take your word for it. 😉

  9. Having once being in the antique business I have to take the Doubting Thomas stance. It seems too good to be true that the only surviving copy
    was found in mint condition when there were 1000 copies made. The America thing sends up a few smoke signals. I was reading in a blog that the Germans always used a K instead of a C in their spelling. One thing that I learned in the biz was that many of the dealers in antiquities are possessed with a touch of larceny. They could have even set up a false buy to increase the value of the map which would also give it more provenance. Another weird thing is… why would they name the country with the dudes first name instead of his last. I have a friend who has a letter press museum with equipment going clear back to wood block print that is still operable. He would probably have knowledge in this area. I think that they should have called it Vespuchi…G:

  10. Hi dad2059 et. al. …

    In 1992 Dr. Svetla Balabanova- Institute of Forensic Medicine, Ulm detected both cocaine and nicotine in mummies once owned by the king of Bavaria and later donated to the museum in Munich.
    I’m supplying links so folks can enjoy the nuances of this find.

    The coca plant as well as tobacco are unique to the Americas. So theory is the maps both the Reis and 1507 Waldseemuller map were copied from an earlier map quite possibly from Nabataean seafarers maps which could have still been in existence as late as the 16th century.

    According to the bio on Piri Reis, a Turkish admiral and cartographer, he spent many years studying and interfacing with Turkish and arab cartographers in the Middle East. Quite possibly he had access to some maps that were once stored in the Great Library of Alexandria. Ships logs and maps associated with the ancient Nabataean arab seafarers were no doubt kept in the library too until it’s final destruction in 642 associated with the muslim conquest. Although its destruction was ordered by ‘Amr ibn al-‘As the muslim conqueror; no doubt valuable maps, and ships logs were spared and kept for reference for use in warfare. Maps in both ancient times and olden times were worth their weight in gold.

    This is an old, old world I firmly believe that ancient seafarers circumnavigated the globe and intense trade existed between the old and the new world, surely the drug trade both then and now flourished. Peoples throughout the ages have always like to party…no?!

    The Meso-American empires of the Mayas and the Aztecs et. al. were into pyramid building although more of a step type pyramid as found the early pyramids of ancient Egypt. There are stone Olmec heads found in the Central America that have negroid features and even pineapples are carved in stone meaning possible contact with Polynesia too.

    http://www.druglibrary.org/SCHAFFER/Misc/mummies.htm
    http://www.answers.com/topic/gas-chromatography-mass-spectrometry

    http://www.nabataea.net/reach.html
    http://nabataea.net/antartica.html

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Library_of_Alexandria#Muslim_conquest_in_642

    Carl Nemo **==

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