Piri Reis Map

Piri Reis Map - How Could a 16th Century Map Show Antarctica Without Ice?


On October 9, 1929, a German theologian named Gustav Adolf Deissmann was cataloguing items in the Topkapi Palace library in Istanbul when he happened across a curious parchment located among some disregarded material. On the gazelle skin parchment was a map, now referred to as the Piri Reis map .

The map was drawn and signed by Turkish cartographer Hagji Ahmed Muhiddin Piri , aka Piri Reis, and is dated to 1513 AD. Reis was an admiral in the Turkish navy, an experienced sailor, and a cartographer, who claimed to have used 20 source maps and charts to construct the map, including 8 Ptolemaic maps, 4 Portuguese maps, an Arabic map, and a map by Christopher Columbus.

Since its discovery, the Piri Reis map has stirred both intrigue and controversy, mostly due to the presence of what appears to be a representation of Antarctica 300 years before it was discovered. Another—if not even more intriguing facet of the appearance of Antarctica—is that it appears to show the land mass before it was covered in ice, over 6000 years ago.

Evidence of Ancient Technology?

The great debate was sparked by Professor Charles Hapgood when he published his theory on the Piri Reis map in his book Maps of the Ancient Sea Kings in 1965. He and a team of students at the University of New Hampshire studied the map and found many anomalies, such as the use of mercatorial projection and the inclusion of a pre-ice Antarctica.

The Greeks were able to create cylindrical maps based on their knowledge of a spherical earth, though mercatorial projection was not used by Europeans until later in the 16 th century, and were also able to use astronomy and geometry to calculate latitude and longitude, though absolute accuracy was not possible until the invention of the chronometer in 1760. While these two feats—amazing as they are—could be explained by use of Greek source maps and charts from the age of Alexander, nothing could explain the inclusion of Antarctica. As a result, Hapgood proposed that the map was based on materials that pre-date 4000 BC, before any known developed languages or progressive civilizations.

This theory implies that a prehistoric civilization had the technology to navigate major seaways and fairly accurately chart the globe. Hapgood also suggested that the topographic depiction of the interior of the continents required aerial capabilities, implying the prehistoric ‘super’ civilization to be both nautical and aerial masters and leading to the further speculation of either an Atlantean or alien civilization. No evidence has been found to support such theories.

South America vs Antarctica

Skeptics of Hapgood’s theory point out that the map is a representation of the South American coastline, pointing to modern physical features of the coast and interior included on the 16 th century map. Otherwise, argue critics, the image would indicate that Antarctica and South America had once been connected at Uruguay, and that Argentina did not yet exist.

While this argument possibly dismisses the presence of Antarctica on the Piri Reis map,  other anomalous maps have been found that are identical to the the ice free continent as only 20 th century satellite technology has been able to identify.

Other theories of Hapgood’s have already been dismissed, such as his polar shift theory in which he claimed a sudden shift in the inclination of the Earth's axis of rotation in 9,500 BC could have resulted in the displacement of Antarctica, sending it hundreds of miles south and resulting in the alteration of its climate from semi-temperate to freezing. All evidence suggests that this shift could not, and did not, occur.

Undiscovered Civilization?

The true question is whether or not Antarctica is the identifiable continent on the Piri Reis map, or any of the other anomalous maps. If it is, could the Piri Reis map have been based on the documents of a yet undiscovered, prehistoric civilization, one that could possess technology enabling them to travel and accurately chart the globe? Regardless of the true origin of the sources, one thing is for certain: this map opens up the debate over how we view our own history and what, if any, of those views are accurate. Perhaps someday the truth will be discovered.

Top image: The Piri Reis Map. Credit: Mehmetilker / Adobe Stock

By Beth


johnblack's picture

Thanks for the information Gil. I have never heard about this project. I will have a look.

I’m surprised that many claim to know everything about aliens and UFOs but have never heard of the Blue Planet Project document!
It is one of the most influential documents about alien biological entities and space technology in our history.
Many of your favorite authors have used these documents to build their theories, and you would be surprised by how many of them are debunked or reinforced by the information in the Blue Planet Project Book.

johnblack's picture

Hi Barry. I am not sure if I can reply your question, I haven't studied the topic in depth.

The Piri Reis map has been dismissed by conventional science, but if you look closely into the ‘debunking’ (including some links that a few posted in this thread) you will see that the map hasn't been studied properly and their ‘conclusions’ have huge gaps.

The truth is that we are not sure as to where he got such information and which Era it represents. If the Turkish cartographer did indeed had access to ancient maps and he used them to draw this map who knows how far in time this could be. However just the fact that he draw an area that represents Antarctica, even if it is not accurate according to today’s knowledge, it is still intriguing.

Barry Sears's picture


Thank you Mr JohnBlack, your answers would be much appreciated

When studying the geographical features of the Piri Reis map above the land features are totally wrong for the suggested South America.... I would like to give a little respect here for the hand of Ottoman. I have viewed the related links and with the precision evident in known titled maps and his attention to detail, it is rather obvious that this is not the location of the map, suggesting  that the detail is so incorrect. He has not randomly drawn rivers and has left out one of the most geographically well known rivers of the World, the Amazon. He did not incorrectly draw the mountain ranges in the wrong position. This is without a doubt not the correct region. 

It would be much appreciated if you are able to answer the one question I have asked on many occasions. What identification has been suggested for the people who's nationalities have been carefully detailed above. My research is in other fields so it would be lovely if anyone familiar with these studies could answer one of the greatest clues to pinpoint the precise location of the map. If you can answer a second question this relates to the identification of the dominant animal in the map. Is it obvious and agreed that this animal is the Tapir? because this regionalises the map instantly. 

Kind regards Barry 

johnblack's picture

This is a good book to get in relation to ancient maps. It will answer many of your questions and it is a good source for many different ancient maps. Piri Reis is not the only one.

‘Maps of the Ancient Sea Kings’, Charles H. Hapgood.


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