December 26, 2009

Before It Was Discovered

The Piri Re'is map 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 Re'is, the map had been assembled from a set of 20 maps drawn in the time of Alexander the Great.
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.

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