Oronteus Finaeus

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Thumbnail of Oronteus Finaeus Map

The Oronteus Finaeus map, published in 1531, shows Antarctica before it was "discovered" and how it looked ice-free. The map shows continent rivers, valleys, and coastlines, as well as the approximate location of the south pole. It also gives the correct longitudinal coordinates.

Professor Charles H. Hapgood, of Keene College, contacted the US Air Force in 1960. In 1961, he received a response from the 8th Reconnaissance Technical Squadron's Cartographic section; here it is typed with emphasis by webmaster[1]:

8 RECONNAISSANCE TECHNICAL SQUADRON (SAC)
UNITED STATES AIR FORCE
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.

LORENZO W. BURROUGHS
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.

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