Cartography is defined by The International Cartographic Association “as the discipline dealing with the conception, production, dissemination and study of maps.” The earliest land maps can be traced back to Babylonia around 1400 BC. In 2017, Evangelos Livieratos, Professor Emeritus of the Aristotelian University of Thessaloniki Cartography Department, offered evidence that the ancient Greeks were the first to develop a primitive GPS system, using the stars and their relationship with the earth’s surface(g).
O.A.W. Dilkie (1915-1993) was an English classical scholar and the author of a well-regarded paper Greek and Roman Maps . The BBC offered an overview of the development of cartography since the 15th century(k).
The subject entered the Atlantis arena in 1665 with the publication of a speculative map(a) of Atlantis, situated in the Atlantic, by Athanasius Kircher. It was allegedly based on earlier Egyptian maps, but unfortunately, there has been no corroborative evidence to support this contention. Kircher’s map had been used to bolster a variety of location theories – Azores, Russia, Baffin Bay and Greenland, Kircher himself favoured the Azores.
Hy-Brasil was reputed to be an island to the west of Ireland and frequently associated with the story of Atlantis. The Genoese cartographer, Angellino de Dalorto (fl.1339), placed Hy-Brasil on a map as early as 1325. It is further claimed that Dalorto, sometimes known as Angelino Dulcert, also depicted Australia on his 1339 portolan chart(l).
However, on some 15th-century maps, the islands of the Azores appear as Isola de Brazil, or Insulla de Brazil. Apparently, it was not until as late as 1865 that Hy-Brasil was finally removed from official naval charts.
Another feature on ancient that can confuse is the placing of the south at the top of old charts, two examples of which are Kircher’s map of Atlantis and Al-Idrisi’s Tabula Rogeriana. Caroline Williams has an interesting article(e) on the BBC website relating to the history of map orientation.
The unreliability of early maps is highlighted by the manner in which California has been depicted. In the 16th century, the maps of both Mercator and Ortelius correctly show Baja California as a peninsula, but in the following 17th and 18th centuries, it became an island on many charts despite written evidence to the contrary. There is a website dedicated to a study of the ‘island of California’(I), which incongruously ends with a brief reference to Atlantis, placing it in the Atlantic in the Region of Bermuda.
Donald S. Johnson in his well-illustrated Phantom Islands of the Atlantic discusses in detail the history of seven legendary islands. This fascinating book offers every reason to treat the details of early cartography with extreme caution.
Further difficulties with old cartography are the result of early mapmakers having a dread of blank spaces, a view outlined in a recent (Nov. 2017) National Geographic online article(h).
The most widely referred to map in relation to Atlantis as well as advanced ancient civilisations is the Piri Reis chart. This arguably depicts an ice-free Antarctica and has been used to develop the idea that Atlantis had been located there and was destroyed when a sudden pole shift caused the southern icecap to move to its present position. Rose and Rand Flem-Ath are the leading proponents of this idea based on the findings of Charles Hapgood. Other maps such as that of Phillipe Buache, the renowned French geographer, published in 1737, are claimed to show an ice-free Antarctica.
It is claimed by Ivan Petricevic that The Ben Zara Map of 1487 “displays remnants of glaciers in Britain, but also extremely detailed depictions of islands in the Mediterranean and Aegean seas. Today, these islands still exist, but due to rising water levels, these are now underwater.”(j)
Dale Drinnon had an interesting if speculative, article on ancient maps and their possible relevance to the story of Atlantis(b). Another article in Atlantis Rising magazine (July/August 2014) argues that the quality of medieval navigational charts (portolans) of the Mediterranean exceeded the capabilities of the instruments and knowledge in the region at that time and must have originated elsewhere. However, Roel Nicolai at Holland’s Utrecht University, who expressed these sentiments, was unwilling to nominate Atlantis as the source of the maps(c).
When asked in a recent interview what he meant by ‘advanced civilisation Graham Hancock revealed(u) that “I think we’re talking about a civilization – more than 12,000 years ago – which was as advanced as our civilization was, say in the late 18th century or early 19th century. In other words, they could navigate the world, they could explore the world, they could measure the world accurately, they had precise astronomy, they could create beautiful maps that were accurate in terms of latitude and longitude. That kind of level of civilization.”
Enrique García Barthe is an Argentinian cartographer who has an interesting Spanish/English website(d) dealing with pre-Columbian maps. Although many people have heard of the Piri Reis Map and the controversy surrounding it, García Barthe introduces a lot of new maps that appear to complement Piri Reis.
In 2015, Melissa Brooks used the data in the Atlantipedia chronology of location theories to develop a map(f) showing the distribution and level of support for the various theories on offer.
(b) See: Archive 3591
The Rocks of St. Peter & St. Paul (sometimes just St. Paul’s Rocks) are two islets, each about a quarter of a mile long, and are part of a small archipelago located on the Mid-Atlantic Ridge about 1000 miles from the mouth of the Orinoco in Venezuela. I have included them here because Charles Hapgood expressed the view, at least in private, that they were the remnants of a larger island that had been the location of Atlantis. Publicly he was disinclined to mention Atlantis, fearing ridicule and damage to his professional reputation. His views were the result of his study of three ancient maps; those of Piri Reis, Phillipe Bauche and the Reinel Chart of 1510, which all show an island in the same position as these ‘Rocks’. This earlier island appeared to have dimensions of about 250 x 350 miles according to its depiction on these ancient maps.
Nevertheless, it is interesting to note Hapgood’s written reference[369.55] to these small islands, as the remains a large island in the past, where he speculates that it could have been ‘An ideal home for a sea people! A secure base for a maritime empire: whose ships would have had easy access to commercial ports in the Caribbean, in South America, in Europe, in Africa, and even, perhaps, in Antarctica!’
Hapgood’s conviction that this had really been the location of Atlantis led him to seek President Kennedy’s assistance in having the area explored by the US Navy, but, unfortunately, the assassination of Kennedy took place before a decision could be made.
Charles Hutchins Hapgood (1904-1982) was born in New York. He graduated from Harvard and became a Professor of the History of Science at Keene State College of the University of New Hampshire.
He has written several books of which his work on medieval maps + is probably the best known. Hapgood had built on the valuable collection of ancient maps assembled by the Swedish scholar A.E. Nordenskiöld. Hapgood’s book was the result of years of research in collaboration with his students that determined that the maps had been compiled from much earlier sources that included details of an ice-free coast of Antarctica. His conclusion, as the subtitle of his book states, was that these maps were evidence for the existence of an advanced Ice Age civilisation and have been seen as further support for the early date for Atlantis given to Solon. A review(a) of The Maps of the Ancient Sea-Kings on the Internet is worth a read.
However, Jason Colavito has pointed(g) out that “as scholars have known for decades, the segment of the map identified by Hapgood as “Antarctica” was in fact the southern part of South America, bent to fit the shape of the skin on which it was drawn.”
According to Rand Flem-Ath and Colin Wilson[063.27], around 1958, Hapgood identified a location 1000 miles off the mouth of the Orinoco River, in South America, known as the Rocks of St. Peter & St. Paul as the site of Atlantis. These islets lie above the Mid-Atlantic Ridge and according to Hapgood are the remnants of a large island, now submerged. He attempted to persuade President Kennedy to assist with a US Navy exploration of the area around the Rocks of St. Peter and Paul, but the assassination of Kennedy put paid to any possibility of any help from the White House.
Hapgood’s second controversial offering, Earth’s Shifting Crust +, promoted his belief that the Earth’s crust had shifted. A revised edition of this was published in 1970 as The Path of the Pole +. Over time, Hapgood appears to have revised his view regarding the precise mechanism that caused this movement.>The idea of a pole shift is far from new as it was advocated in the seventeenth century by Robert Hooke(i).<
In Voices of the Rocks [454.158] Robert Schoch has drawn attention to “the most glaring omission in Hapgood’s argument is his inability to come up with a mechanism for crustal shifting. He describes what happens, but he can’t say why. He himself saw the problem and spelled it out. ‘it is necessary to admit, in the first place, that at the present time, there is no satisfactory explanation of the modus operandi of displacements in the lithosphere’ Hapgood wrote.” However, Schoch does concede that Hapgood may have been on the right track, but, for the wrong reasons.
Recently, Kyle Bennett has claimed that the idea of crustal displacement was proposed as early as 1866 by Sir John Evans. Bennett has reprinted Evans’ paper in support of his accusation of plagiarism(b). Hapgood has noted [1494.71] that in the 1950’s Karl A. Pauly  and George W. Bain  also supported a form of crustal shift, the former, building on the work of A.S. Eddington , some decades earlier.
Hapgood also involved himself in the controversy surrounding the figurines discovered in Acámbaro, Mexico, which creationists offer as evidence that man lived at the time of the dinosaurs. The 32,000 figurines have been denounced as a hoax(e). Hapgood’s stance supporting their authenticity does little, in my opinion, to enhance the value of his judgement.
Hapgood was also actively interested in parapsychology and spirit communication(f) and wrote three books on the subject.
In 1953 Albert Einstein wrote to Hapgood offering support for his theory and subsequently expressed similar views in a foreword for Hapgood’s book.
Some of Hapgood’s ideas have been supported in a well-illustrated book by the late Robert Argod, who uses both the Piri Reis and the Oronteus Finaeus maps to support his idea that the Polynesians originated in Antarctica and that their influence can be found elsewhere in the world.
Hapgood corresponded with Rand Flem-Ath who subsequently published his theory that Atlantis had existed in the Antarctic. Argod’s book combined with the work of the Flem-Aths does offer a credible case for considering the possibility of an Atlantis-Antarctic connection. This idea was bolstered further when Graham Hancock gave the Antarctica theory additional exposure in one of his popular books, Fingerprints of the Gods
An independent critical overview of both Hapgood’s theory and Hancock’s related comments by Steve Krause can be read online(d).
Hapgood died in a tragic motor accident, which led at least one writer, Kyle Bennett, to suggest that it was murder, in an article now removed from his website.
In 1998, J. Bowles published his The Gods, Gemini and the Great Pyramid which he wrote with the encouragement of Beth Hapgood, a cousin of Charles. He intended to expand on the work of Hapgood relating to the shifting poles. He refers to Antarctica as alternating between Atlantis in the Atlantic and Moo in the Pacific. A fanciful idea, as both were reportedly submerged and at least one is imaginary. He later published a further defence of Hapgood in Issue 18 of Atlantis Rising magazine. (See Archive 7149)
Hapgood’s pole shift ideas continue to inspire researchers, an example of which is a 2018 book, Before Atlantis , by Mark Carlotto, who claims to have “discovered that numerous sites throughout the world are aligned to what appear to have been four previous positions of the North Pole over the past 100,000 years. By virtue of their alignment to ancient poles, Carlotto proposes a new hypothesis: that the original sites were first established by a previous advanced technological civilization that existed throughout the world tens of thousands of years ago and was later co-opted by our ancestors who rebuilt and expanded over and around the older structures while preserving the layout and orientation of the site to the original pole.”
In a separate paper, Carlotto offers a more focused study that concentrates on antediluvian cities in Mesopotamia that appear to be aligned with different locations held by the North Pole in earlier times. Based on Hapgood’s theory of crustal displacement, Carlotto concluded that these cities should be dated much earlier than generally accepted!(h)
+ https://ia800909.us.archive.org/12/items/MapsOfTheAncientSeaKingsEvidenceOfAdvancedCivilization/maps%20of%20the%20ancient%20sea%20kings-evidence%20of%20advanced%20civilization.pdf (link broken) *
(a) Archive 3085
(d) See: Archive 2761