Ancient Map Mysteries...
July 21, 2009 5:18 AM   Subscribe

This post was deleted for the following reason: There is no actual working link here. -- vacapinta

Broken. And it's Geocities. Which usually means it comes pre-broken for your convenience.
posted by the dief at 5:26 AM on July 21, 2009 [5 favorites]

I thought that geocites was gone.
posted by octothorpe at 5:30 AM on July 21, 2009

Unless it goes beyond the Piri Re'is map, there are much better links for this.
posted by DU at 5:32 AM on July 21, 2009

There's nicer looking stuff (and no dead links) here.

There's also this:
Philippe Buache's map of 1739 has been cited in books and journals from the past forty years as evidence of an ancient civilisation that mapped Antarctica - when it was free of ice. Unfortunately, these claims are deeply flawed, and the Buache map is actually a part of European attempts to understand the continent. [,,,]
posted by pracowity at 5:33 AM on July 21, 2009

I meant "[...]", of course, not "[,,,]" (,,chameleon?). Full stop.
posted by pracowity at 5:34 AM on July 21, 2009

Mmm. Great popcorn. Too bad about the show!
posted by humannaire at 5:35 AM on July 21, 2009

And now, a man with three buttocks.
posted by elfgirl at 5:41 AM on July 21, 2009

I'll thank you to leave me out of this discussion, elfgirl.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 5:45 AM on July 21, 2009

We've done Piri Reis several times before. As I said here:
I wish they'd never discovered the damn thing. Yes, it's probably a genuine artifact, but it's been used to support more nonsense than just about any other artifact I can think of. As I said here:
I'm not sure whether to be sad or amused at how eager people are to cling to "mysterious" documents that can, if you hold them sideways, squint, and use your imagination, be taken to suggest that our distant ancestors knew the secrets of geography/cosmology/aliens and somehow forgot to mention it in ways perceptible to actual historians. But of course historians are all part of the conspiracy!
posted by languagehat at 6:09 AM on July 21, 2009

Wait, historians have a conspiracy too?

As someone involved in biological research I am, of course, in the pocket of Big Pharma and initiated into the global conspiracy to suppress all these cures for cancer and AIDS that we have lying around the lab. I don't really know why we keep them; they just clutter the place up. Secretly I wonder if we keep the labs full of this life-saving junk to make our cabal feel less alone.

But if there's a global conspiracy of historians too, that changes everything! We could go out for an Evil picnic together, or have a Dastardly pot-luck.
posted by metaBugs at 6:30 AM on July 21, 2009

See, my problem is that I'm part of both the conspiracy of editors to perpetuate irrational spelling/grammar rules that force everyone to spend extra years studying their own language AND the conspiracy of linguists to demolish said rules and force everyone to talk and write like illiterates. I spend far too much time punching myself in the dick.
posted by languagehat at 7:29 AM on July 21, 2009

Big Pharma

Isn't he a redneck rapper?
posted by srboisvert at 7:29 AM on July 21, 2009

It always makes me a little sad when people find the actual mysteries of the past so prosaic they have to go looking for ones that promise more sparkle sauce than substance and offer little to no connection to reality; ones that imply either a genius lost to modern folk or a connection to superior other entity that has long since abandoned modern humans/Earth/whatever almost always strike me as tarted-up pessimism that pairs surprisingly well with egotistic martyrdom.

Maps make for good "proof" - we are trained to treat maps as an authoritative guide, yet to apply our own logic to the tool. If it looks pretty/professional, old, or "rare" - boom! instant credibility despite demonstrable flaws when real (through the assumptions, skill-level, then-current techniques, intent, guesses or misunderstandings of the cartographer - as in this map which has associated documents describing how a bureaucrat took the maps he sent out a ship to make, and then fixed them up by including elements of other known contemporary maps and trying to make everything fit) and when fake. People selectively read into them proof or guidance of just about everything, whether they are sky maps or landform outlines or pictograms of hunting paths.
posted by julen at 7:31 AM on July 21, 2009

The Piri Reis map has always fascinated me both as an artifact and as an object that gives a window to the psychology of the map maker.

Hope the link comes back up!
posted by strixus at 7:31 AM on July 21, 2009 [2 favorites]

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