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piris reis

The mysterious Piri Reis Map: Is this evidence of a very advanced prehistoric civilization?

Aug 11, 2016 Neil Patrick

Late in 1929, Gustav Deissmann, a German theologian, was working in Istanbul at the Topkapi Palace Library. While cataloging antique items he found a gazelle-skin parchment in a stack of discarded items. This parchment had a map drawn on it, and Deissmann was amazed to see that it appeared to show the outline of South America. He rescued the parchment, which is now known as the Piri Reis Map. The map he studied had been drawn and signed in 1513 by Turkish cartographer Hagii Ahmed Muhiddin Piri, also known as Piri Reis. In addition to being a cartographer, Piri Reis served in the Turkish navy, for which he held the rank of admiral. He stated that he had used 20 different maps and charts as his source documents. Eight of them were Ptolemaic maps (maps of the known world according to the 2nd century Hellenistic or Greek society), four were Portuguese maps, one was an Arabic map, and one was drawn by Christopher Columbus.

This simple piece of preserved gazelle skin has been the basis of intense controversy in the world of cartography. For one thing, the map appears to show Antarctica almost 300 years before it was discovered. Not only does it show Antarctica, but the continent is drawn as a land mass as it would have appeared before it was covered with its ice cap over 6,000 years ago.

This controversy was precipitated when Professor Charles Hapgood published, in 1965, his theory about Antarctica in the book Maps of the Ancient Sea Kings. Professor Hapgood, based at the University of New Hampshire, had studied the Piri Reis Map with his students and found several things that they could not explain. Not only was there the issue of Antarctica without its ice cap, but they noticed that the map was drawn using the Mercator Projection, a methodology not used by European cartographers until the late 16th century.

Flemish cartographer Gerardus Mercator devised the cylindrical map projection in 1569. The Greeks had the ability to create cylindrical maps utilizing their knowledge of the Earth as a sphere, along with the astrological and geometric skills to calculate latitude and longitude. The accuracy of the Mercator Projection was not absolute until the chronometer was invented in 1760.

The use of Mercator Projection on the Piri Reis Map could possibly be explained by his use of Greek maps in the creation of his drawing, but there was no explanation for the inclusion of Antarctica without the ice cap. Professor Hapgood and his students theorized that the Piri Reis map had to have been based on information older than 4,000 BCE. This is long before any known sophisticated civilizations or any well-defined languages; the map introduces the theory of an ancient civilization that had the skills to navigate the world’s oceans, and accurately chart the lands they visited. Professor Hapgood went on to state that the topographical representation of the area inland from the coast was so accurate that this ancient super-civilization had to have aerial capabilities in addition to their nautical and cartographic abilities. This naturally led to a theory of an alien civilization or one based on the lost city of Atlantis. Those skeptical of the Piri Reis theories point out that the map is a fair representation of the coastline of South America, with modern features of the coast and interior shown. If this is not simply the coast of South America, that would mean South America and Antarctica were joined at Uruguay and that Argentina is a recent addition to the land mass. This argument infers that what is thought to be Antarctica on the Piri Reis Map is the lower portion of the South American continent. Professor Hapgood then theorized that the Earth underwent a shift in its axis around 9,500 BC, which displaced Antarctica and moved it thousands of miles to the south, where it became covered in ice. Evidence shows that this phenomenon would have been impossible and did not happen. Read another story from us: Original map of Disneyland drawn by Walt Disney and Herb Ryman could fetch $1 million at auction The jury is still out on the question of whether the Piri Reis Map shows Antarctica or not. If you subscribe to the idea that this portion of the map is Antarctica without its ice cap (which has appeared on other maps), then you must believe that an ancient civilization that had advanced navigational skills existed and produced accurate maps of the globe. If you believe that this depiction is of the lower coast of South America, then you will probably scoff at the idea of an ancient advanced civilization. Until there is absolute proof to support one or the other theory, the arguments will continue.

Stone age cave art in Germany thought to be oldest in country, researchers disprove theory

Aug 11, 2016 Ian Harvey

For centuries people have been stumbling across artwork that was left by previous humans. Whether the artwork was jewelry, sewing materials, or cave art, it is all significant to the world today. For years, experts believed that the earliest example of Stone Age art was found in a cave in Germany. The artwork depicted a man, a woman, and a phallus. The artwork had been continuously claimed as the earliest example of art. The artwork was found in the Maanderhohle cave in Bavaria, measuring to be about 75 meters long. This find was hailed as a huge breakthrough. There were hundreds of lines found, forming patterns which were believed to represent fertility symbols. After the art was discovered, an archaeologist went back several years later so that he could publish his interpretation of the shapes and art. He said the lines dated back to about 14,000 and 16,000 years old. They had been created by humans and depicted a phallus and abstract female figures. The art was in the long cave, also full of round deposits of minerals also known as cave clouds. They form on the rocks in a similar way as stalactites and stalagmites. Back in 2005, the cave researchers had found a larger number of lines that appeared to have been made by the humans on the harder rock surfaces of the cave clouds. One of the experts, Julia Blumenrother, said that the original report had required some further investigations. Blumenrother worked on the project with a team from the Neanderthal Museum in Mettmann and support from the Bavarian State Office for the Preservation of Historical Monuments. She had examined 138 lines which were thought to have been made by humans over the course of two explorations. Andreas Pastoors, a Stone Age art expert, said that if they were actually made by humans, there would have been clearer evidence that special Stone Age tools were used like the ones found in other surrounding locations. Blumenrother was a student at the time she had conducted her research. She had used a large range of archaeological methods in order to document and analyze the lines in the Upper Franconian cave. She had also used several new technologies like the digital microscopy and structure-light 3D scans to see how deep the shapes and lines went into the rock. She then took the digital images which showed the cross-sections of the course of the lines with the carved lines in other cave art samples as well as ones made in a laboratory. In order to do this, she had to carve into samples of the rock which were taken from the cave. She then had to use special engraving tools to make a tester. The analysis had shown that the criss-cross sections of the lines had contradicted her hypothesis that humans had made those carvings. It was most likely not possible that they had made them using a hard, sharp object. Blumenrother also said that none of those lines had depicted any kind of Stone Age motif like the ones found in other various caves. This meant it was very unlikely that these lines were created by humans, and she concluded that the markings must have been naturally formed. Although this means that Maanderhohle cave can no longer claim to play host to Germany’s oldest cave artwork, it does say something about our tendency as humans to attribute meaning to “art” when none really exists.

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