Piri Reis map of Antarctica – Antarctica ice free!

In 1929, a group of historians found an amazing map drawn on a gazelle skin. Research showed that it was a genuine document drawn in 1513 by Piri Reis, a famous admiral of the Turkish fleet in the sixteenth century. His passion was cartography.

Piri Reis high rank within the Turkish navy allowed him to have a privileged access to the Imperial Library of Constantinople. The Turkish admiral admits, in a series of notes on the map, that he compiled and copied the data from a large number of source maps, some of which dated back to the fourth century BC or earlier.

Piri Reis map of Antarctica

Piri Reis map of Antarctica



(Also read the Oronteus Finaeus map Antarctica ice free! article related to this)

The Controversy – the Piri Reis map of Antarctica

The Piri Reis map shows the western coast of Africa, the eastern coast of South America, and the northern coast of Antarctica ice free. The northern coastline of Antarctica is perfectly detailed. The most puzzling however is not so much how the Piri Reis Antarctica map managed to so accurate 300 years before it was discovered, but that the map shows the real 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.

On 6th July 1960 the U. S. Air Force responded to Prof. Charles H. Hapgood of Keene College, specifically to his request for an evaluation of the ancient Piri Reis Map:

TO: Prof Charles H. Hapgood, Keene College

Dear Professor Hapgood,

Your request of evaluation of certain unusual features of the Piri Reis Antarctica 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 Peninsular, 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 Antarctic Expedition of 1949.This indicates the coastline had been mapped before it was covered by the ice-cap. This part of Antarctica ice free. 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 Commander


The official science has been saying all along that the ice-cap which covers the Antarctic is million years old. The Piri Reis Antarctica map shows that the northern part of that continent has been mapped before the ice did cover it. That should make us think it has been mapped million years ago, but that’s impossible since mankind did not exist at that time. Further and more accurate studies have proven that the last period of ice-free condition in the Antarctic ended about 6000 years ago. There are still doubts about the beginning of this ice-free period, which has been put by different researchers everywhere between year 13000 and 9000 BC. The question is: Who mapped the Queen Maud Land of Antarctic 6000 years ago? Which unknown civilization had the technology or the need to do that?

It is well-known that the first civilization, according to the traditional history, developed in the mid-east around year 3000 BC, soon to be followed within a millennium by the Indus valley and the Chinese ones. So, accordingly, none of the known civilizations could have done such a job. Who was here 4000 years BC, being able to do things that NOW are possible with the modern technologies? All through the Middle Ages there were a number of sailing charts called “portolani” circulating, which were accurate maps of the most common sailing routes showing coastlines, harbor’s, straits, bays, etc. Most of those portolani focused on the Mediterranean and the Aegean seas, and other known routes, just like the sailing book which Piri Reis himself had written. But a few reported of still unknown lands, and were circulating among a few sailors who seemingly kept their knowledge about those special maps as hidden as they could. Columbus is supposed to have been one of those who knew these special sailing charts. To draw the Piri Reis Antarctica map he used several different sources, collected here and there along his journeys. He has written his own notes on the map that give us a picture of the work he had been doing. He says he had been not responsible for the original surveying and cartography. His role was merely that of a compiler who used a large number of source-maps. He says then that some of the source-maps had been drawn by contemporary sailors, while others were instead charts of great antiquity, dating back up to the 4th century BC or earlier.

Piri Reis map of antarctica ice free

Piri Reis map of antarctica ice free

Dr Charles Hapgood, in his book Maps of the Ancient Sea Kings (Turnstone books, London 1979, preface), said that: It appears that accurate information has been passed down from people to people. It appears that the charts must have originated with a people unknown and they were passed on, perhaps by the Minoans and the Phoenicians, who were, for a thousand years and more, the greatest sailors of the ancient world. We have evidence that they were collected and studied in the great library of Alexandria (Egypt) and the compilations of them were made by the geographers who worked there. Piri Reis had probably come into possession of charts once located in the Library of Alexandria, the well-known most important library of the ancient times.

According to Hapgood’s reconstruction, copies of these documents and some of the original source charts were transferred to other centres of learning, and among them to Constantinople. Then in 1204, year of the fourth crusade, when the Venetians entered Constantinople, those maps begun to circulate among the European sailors. Most of these maps – Hapgood goes on – were of the Mediterranean and the Black sea. But maps of other areas survived. These included maps of the Americas and maps of the Arctic and Antarctic Oceans. It becomes clear that the ancient voyagers traveled from pole to pole. Unbelievable as it may appear, the evidence nevertheless indicates that some ancient people explored Antarctic when its coasts were free of ice. It is clear too, that they had an instrument of navigation for accurately determining the longitudes that was far superior to anything possessed by the peoples of ancient, medieval or modern times until the second half of the 18th century. This evidence of a lost technology will support and give credence to many of the other hypothesis that have been brought forward of a lost civilization in remote times. Scholars have been able to dismiss most of those evidences as mere myth, but here we have evidence that cannot be dismissed. The evidence requires that all the other evidences that have been brought forward in the past should be re-examined with an open mind.” (Ibid.)

Piri Reis map of Antarctica

In 1953, a Turkish naval officer sent the Piri Reis map to the U.S. Navy Hydro graphic Bureau. To evaluate it, M.I. Walters, the Chief Engineer of the Bureau, called for help Arlington H. Mallery, an authority on ancient maps, who had previously worked with him. After a long study, Mallery discovered the projection method used. To check out the accuracy of the map, he made a grid and transferred the Piri Reis map onto a globe: the map was totally accurate. He stated that the only way to draw map of such accuracy was the aerial surveying: but who, 6000 years ago, could have used airplanes to map the earth? And this was Antartica ice free. The Hydro graphic Office couldn’t believe what they saw: they were even able to correct some errors in the present days maps! The precision on determining the longitudinal coordinates, on the other hand, shows that to draw the map it was necessary to use the spheroid trigonometry, a process supposedly not know until the middle of 18th century. Hapgood has proved that the Piri Reis map is plotted out in plane geometry, containing latitudes and longitudes at right angles in a traditional “grid”; yet it is obviously copied from an earlier map that was projected using spherical trigonometry! Not only did the early map makers know that the Earth was round, but they had knowledge of its true circumference to within 50 miles!

piri reis map antarctica controversy mystery puzzle

Hapgood had sent his collection of ancient maps (we will see the Piri Reis map was not the only one…) to Richard Strachan, at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Hapgood wanted to know exactly the mathematical level needed in order to draw the original source maps. Strachan answered in 1965, saying that the level had to be very high. In fact Strachan said that in order to draw such maps, the authors had to know about the spheroid trigonometry, the curvature of the earth, methods of projection, knowledge that is of a very high level. The way the Piri Reis map shows the Queen Maud land, its coastlines, its rivers, mountain ranges, plateaus, deserts, bays, has been confirmed by a British Swedish expedition to Antarctica (as said by Olhmeyer in his letter to Hapgood); the researchers, using sonar and seismic soundings, indicated that those bays and rivers etc, were underneath the ice-cap, which was about one mile thick. It showed Antarctica ice free.

(Also read the Oronteus Finaeus map Antarctica ice free! article related to this)

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