Maps of the Ancient Sea Kings – New Evidence of Their True Antiquity

Hapgood’s analysis of maps in use during the Middle Ages known as portolans revealed their accuracy was better than what was possible given the nautical knowledge of the time. An analysis of one of those maps – the Orontius Fineaus map of 1531 supports the hypothesis that the original sources on which it was based could predate the current historical period to a time when the geographic poles were in a different location and Western Antarctica was ice-free.

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Charles Hapgood

In Maps of the Ancient Sea Kings, Charles Hapgood, with the help of his students at Keene State College discovered that certain ancient maps could be thousands of years old or more based on both the detail and accuracy of the information they contain. Perhaps the most famous, the Piri Reis (PR) map of 1513 appears to depict a part of the Antarctic coastline, a fact at odds with the general belief that the southern continent was not discovered until the 19th century. Remarkably, another map, the Orontius Fineaus (OF) map, which was drawn in 1531 shows the whole of Antarctica with details suggesting much of it was once ice-free.

Portion of Orontius Finaeus map showing evidence of an ice-free Antarctica. (Wikipedia/Creative Commons)

An Ice-Free Antarctica?

Although there is no scientific evidence supporting a continent entirely free of ice, Scherer et al. show that some glacial sediment samples recovered from beneath the West Antarctic ice sheet indicate the Ross Embayment could have once been an open marine environment during the Pleistocene as early as Marine Isotope Stage (MIS) 11 or 5e, or 100–400 Kya. The configuration of West Antarctic seaways after a hypothetical collapse of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet is not inconsistent with Hapgood’s hypothesis of a previous pole in Hudson Bay having the corresponding South Pole off the eastern coast of Antarctica in the South Indian Ocean. With the pole at this location, West Antarctica would have been outside of the south polar region providing an alternative mechanism to explain the collapse of the West Antarctic ice sheet.

South Pole and surrounding polar region (white circle) and the polar region surrounding a hypothesized pole in the South Indian Ocean (magenta circle). (Google Earth)

Analysis of Hapgood’s Analysis

In a detailed analysis of the OF map, Hapgood found approximately fifty geographical features that he could identify on a modern map. Plotting the difference (error) between the OF and true map coordinates reveals a random distribution of errors with no apparent trend (correlation) with respect to either latitude or longitude.

Errors between OF and true map coordinates (black lines) and between estimated OF and true map coordinates (brown lines) assuming original OF source(s) were based on a spherical model of the Earth. (Google Earth)

Most maps at the time the OF and PR are thought to have been drawn were portolans (port-to-port navigational maps) rendered in planar projections. It has been suggested that certain maps such as the OF were redrawn from earlier maps that had been based on a spherical model of the Earth. In exploring this idea we can estimate what the OF map coordinates would have been had they based on a knowledge of spherical geometry with any remaining differences due to errors in the original source(s). Plotting differences between true and estimated OF map coordinates reveals a subtle, but statistically significant trend.

Scatter plot of location error (in meters) between true and estimated OF map coordinates vs. longitude. A positive correlation (R=0.39) indicates errors are greater in Eastern Antarctica.

Evidence of an Earlier Pole?

Other than there being fewer identified features in the interior of Antarctica, i.e., near the South Pole, there is no statistical evidence that there was any less ice in the interior than along the coastline. The positive correlation in the scatter plot indicates an increase in map errors in positive (eastern) longitudes. This is consistent with the hypothesis that the OF map was compiled when Western Antarctica had less ice (more land area was exposed) than Eastern Antarctica. But why would land west of the South Pole be ice-free while land east of the Pole was not?

One possibility is that Western Antarctica was ice-free because the South Pole was located about 2,000 miles east of its present location. If this were so one would expect errors to be correlated with distance to the old pole. In fact, the largest errors vs. longitude relative to the current pole point in the direction of a hypothesized pole in the South Indian Sea.

Polar plot shows greatest OF map errors are in Eastern Antarctica in the direction of a South Indian Ocean pole. (Google Earth)

What Could This Mean?

Hapgood’s analysis of portolan maps in use during the Middle Ages revealed their accuracy was better than what was possible given the nautical knowledge of the time. He even goes as far as stating “we have evidence here that all the portolans stemmed from a common origin in ancient times.” In our analysis of Hapgood’s analysis of the Orontius Finaeus map, we find OF and true map longitudes are more correlated than OF and true map latitudes, which is hard to explain in light of the fact that accurate longitudes requires accurate clocks, which did not exist at that time.

Our findings support the idea that if the original OF map were based on a spherical model of the Earth, errors would likely increase in Eastern Antarctica if the landscape was covered in ice by virtue of it being closer to the former pole than in Western Antarctica, which would have been well outside of the polar zone and so have been ice-free. It is possible that lands to the east covered with ice were likely less accessible and so not as well mapped as those to the west.

Putting it all together, we propose that the sources of the OF and other similar maps of the time were not only pre-Greek as Hapgood believed but predate the current historical period, specifically to a previous world age in which the North Pole was in Hudson Bay and the corresponding South Pole was in the South Indian Ocean, approximately 2,000 miles east of its current location.

2 Replies to “Maps of the Ancient Sea Kings – New Evidence of Their True Antiquity”

  1. This is just scratching the surface to understand how old civilization really is. The secret evidence is down deep in the Oceans, when the water table was very low.


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