Piri Re'is

Piri Re'is

Thumbnail of Piri Reis Map

The Piri Re'is map was found in 1929 in the Imperial Palace in Constantinople. (Note: Constantinople was the name of the city at the time; it was the capital city of Byzantian Empire before it collapsed 557 years ago. Today the city is called Istanbul.) 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 Re'is map is simply incredible. First, keep in mind that while it itself is old, its information is admittedly based on even older maps. Second, it shows the correct coastline of Antarctica as it was under the ice, i.e. ice-free. Now, Antarctica has been mostly covered with ice for about 15 million years, with the Antarctic ice cap reaching its present extension about 6 million years ago! That simply cannot be reconciled with current evolutionary and historical theory. How could that particular geography, an unknown continent's coastline from millions of years ago, possibly be known to the civilization of the time? Even though hypthetically postulated, the existence of Antarctica wasn't even remotely confirmed until Cook's sighting in 1773. Further, even we did not have ground penetrating radar until 1958, so could not ourselves confirm the coastline ourselves until then! So, how then, did they know it?

Professor Charles Hapgood, of Keene College, contacted the US Air Force in 1960 to have them review the map. This was their response, typed by the webmaster from the copy of the letter provided in his book "Maps of the Ancient Sea Kings", emphasis by webmaster[1]:

Westover Air Force Base

Reply to Attn of: RTC

6, July, 1960

Subject: Admiral Piri Reis World Map

To: Prof. Charles H. Hapgood
Keene Teachers College
Keene, New Hampshire

Dear Professor Hapgood,

Your request for evaluation of certain unusual features of the Piri Reis World Map of 1513 by this organization has been reviewed.

The claim that the lower part of the map portrays the Princess Martha Coast of Queen Maud Land Antarctic, and the Palmer Peninsula is reasonable. We find that this is the most logical and in all probability the correct interpretation of the map.

The geographical detail shown in the lower part of the map agrees very remarkably with the results of the Seismic profile made across the top of the ice cap by the Swedish-British-Norwegian Antarctic Expedition of 1949.

This indicates the coastline had been mapped before it was covered by the ice-cap.

The ice-cap in this region is now about a mile thick. We have no idea how the data on this map can be reconciled with the supposed state of geographical knowledge in 1513.

Harold Z. Ohlmeyer
Lt. Colonel, USAF

Later, Professor Hapgood received an even longer response from the 8th Reconnaissance Technical Squadron's Cartographic section, emphasis by webmaster[2]:

Westover Air Force Base, Mass.

14 Aug 61

Mr. Charles H. Hapgood
Keene Teachers College
Keene, N.H.

Dear Professor Hapgood:

It is not very often that we have an opportunity to evaluate maps of ancient origin. The Piri Reis (1513) and Oronteus Fineaus [sic] (1531) maps sent to us by you, presented a delightful challenge, for it was not readily conceivable that they could be so accurate without being forged. With added enthusiasm we accepted this challenge and have expended many off duty hours evaluating your manuscript and the above maps. I am sure you will be pleased to know we have concluded that both of these maps were compiled from accurate original source maps, irrespective of dates. The following is a brief summary of our findings:

a. The solution of the portolano projection used by Admiral Piri Reis, developed by your class in Anthropology, must be very nearly correct; for when known geographical locations are checked in relationship to the grid computed by Mr. Richard W. Strachan (MIT), there is remarkably close agreement. Piri Reis' use of the portolano projection (centered on Syene, Egypt) was an excellent choice, for it is a developable surface that would permit the relative size and shape of the earth (at that latitude) to be retained. It is our opinion that those who compiled the original map had an excellent knowledge of the continents covered by this map.

b. As stated by Colonel Harold Z. Ohlmeyer in his letter (July 6, 1960) to you, the Princess Martha Coast of Queen Maud Laud, Antarctica, appears to be truly represented on the southern sector of the Piri Reis map. The agreement of the Piri Reis Map with the seismic profile of this area made by the Norwegian-British-Swedish Expedition of 1949, supported by your solution of the grid, places beyond a reasonable doubt the conclusion that the original source maps must have been made before the present Antarctic ice cap covered the Queen Maud Land coasts.

c. It is our opinion that the accuracy of the cartographic features shown in the Oronteus Fineaus [sic] Map (1531) suggests, beyond a doubt, that it also was compiled from accurate source maps of Antarctica, but in this case of the entire continent. Close examination has proved the original source maps must have been compiled at a time when the land mass and inland waterways of the continent were relatively free of ice. This conclusion is further supported by a comparison of the Oronteus Fineaus [sic] Map with the results obtained by International Geophysical Year teams in their measurements of the subglacial topgraphy. The comparison also suggests that the original source maps (compiled in remote antiquity) were prepared when Antarctica was presumably free of ice. The Cordiform Projection used by Oronteus Fineaus [sic] suggests the use of advanced mathematics. Further, the shape given to the Antarctic continent suggests the possibility, if not the probability, that the original source maps were compiled on a stereographic or gnomic type of projection (involving the use of spherical trigonometry).

d. We are convinced that the findings made by you and your associates are valid, and that they raise extremely important questions affecting geology and ancient history, questions which certainly require further investigation.

We thank you for extending us the opportunity to have participated in the study of these maps. The following officers and airmen volunteered their time to assist Captain Lorenzo W. Burroughs in this evaluation: Captain Richard E. Covault, CWO Howard D. Minor, MSgt Clifton M. Dover, MSgt David C. Carter, TSgt James H. Hood, SSgt James L. Carroll, and A1C Don R. Vance.

Captain, USAF
Chief, Cartographic Section
8th Reconnaissance Technical Sqdn (SAC)
Westover Air Force Base, Massachusetts

Professor Hapgood has other fascinating letters from MIT and Cambridge universities, as well as correspondence between the Turkish embassy and the US State Department. I [webmaster] highly recommend reading.

Further, it is believed that a Turkish Captain Arlington Mallery, a cartograpy expert, asked the U.S. Hydrographic Office of the Navy to examine it. This was the statement they gave:

"The Hydrographic Office of the Navy has verified an ancient chart- it's called the Piri Reis map, that goes back more than 5,000 years. It's so accurate, only one thing could explain it- a worldwide survey".

Not only did the Hydrographic Office prove the map genuine, but it's been used to correct some errors in present day maps.

[1] Maps of the Ancient Sea Kings [pg 243], Charles H. Hapgood (1966)
[2] "", pg 244-245