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Facsimile of Diogo Ribeiro's 1529 Carta Universal.  Source: Public Domain

History of Maps: From Ancient Artifacts to Modern Marvels

The history of cartography traces humanity's relentless quest to understand and depict the world around us. From ancient civilizations sketching rudimentary maps to modern digital cartography, this...
1700, Cellarius Map of Asia, Europe and Africa according to Strabo. (Right) Drawing of Strabo. Source: PicturePast/Adobe Stock, Public Domain

Strabo's Geographica: A Grand Tour of the Ancient World

Strabo, a prominent Greek geographer, historian, and philosopher born around 64 BC, left an undeniable mark on ancient geography with his magnum opus, " Geographica ." This monumental work,...
Representational image of the Muslim explorer Ibn Hawqal. Source: nsit0108 / Adobe Stock

The Uncharted Horizons of Ibn Hawqal, the World’s First Travel Writer

At a time when the outlines of the known world were a mystery to many, and even the most powerful empires had no idea about the realms beyond their distant borders, the scholars of the Muslim world...
Does the Buache Map show Antarctica without ice?

The Buache Map: A Controversial Map That Shows Antarctica Without Ice

The Buache Map is an 18th century map commonly claimed to accurately depict the continent of Antarctica before it was buried by ice. By extension, it has been claimed that this map is evidence that...
Earth painted on face. Elements of this image furnished by NASA. Gaia reminds us of our connection with the living Earth.

Gaia: Recognizing Our Role on a Living Earth

In the early 1960s, renowned chemist Dr. James Lovelock was approached by NASA to develop systems and methods that could be used in determining whether or not a planet harbored life. Specifically,...
An ancient Egyptian ship. Sailors sent out by Pharaoh Necho II saw some of the first hints that the world is not flat.

When Sailors from Ancient Egypt Discovered the World is Not Flat, No One Listened

The first ship to sail around Africa left from Egypt sometime around 600 BC. Their only goal was to find another way to the straits of Gibraltar. But by watching the sky overhead, they discovered...
‘Crossing the River Styx’ (circa 1520-1524) by Joachim Patinir. Many ancient people imagined the edges of the earth as strange and magical places.

What Did Ancient Civilizations Believe Lay at The Edges of the Earth?

The first civilizations didn’t have satellites in the sky, mapping every inch of the world in real time. They only knew the parts of the world they’d seen. Everything beyond that, they had to imagine...
The face of the Prague Astronomical Clock (1462)

Changing Times: How Cultures Old and New Perceive the Perplexing Concept of Time

Time is a concept that exists in most, if not all cultures, and exerts a strong influence on how a culture sees itself and the world around it. Time has been, and still is a major topic in various...
“Sunset at Bathwater” Death Valley, California

The Long-Ago Shamans of Death Valley: Vision Quests and Magical Rites

Death Valley is located in southern California, adjacent to the state line with Nevada, in the United States. Running roughly north-south, this remote valley is roughly 95 miles (153 km) long and 25...
Colorful Rainbow over an ocean rock in Iceland.

Phantom islands on ancient maps dismissed as mirages, myths, or mistakes

When explorers began making maps as they explored the world a couple of millennia ago they included land masses that later could not be found. As recently as 2012 an expedition went to one of these...