The Piri Reis Map (1513)(c) was a world map drawn on gazelle skin of which only the left-hand side still exists. It was a composite of detail gleaned from a large collection of maps,>including one drawn by Christopher Columbus(i),< that were collected by Piri Ibn Haji Mehmed (1465/70–1553), an admiral or ‘reis’ in the Ottoman navy. It was discovered in 1929 in the Topkapi Palace library in Istanbul by Gustav Deissmann. In 1956 a Turkish naval officer presented the map to the U.S. Navy Hydrographic Office. From there, it was first fully investigated by Captain Arlington H. Mallery, who had spent years studying ancient maps. He is now better remembered as a controversial amateur archaeologist. Mallery concluded that the map accurately depicted an ice-free Antarctica.
This map has become one of the controversial elements in the theory of an Antarctic Atlantis so strongly promoted by Rose and Rand Flem-Ath. They followed the views of Charles Hapgood, who, having studied a range of ancient maps, were convinced that they showed parts of Antarctica as ice-free. However, the principal argument against this idea is that the removal of the massive Antarctic ice cap would have had two effects:
(i) The consequent isostatic rebound would have altered the coast line dramatically and unpredictably.
(ii) The melting of the icecap would have raised sea levels, producing further changes to the coastline of the exposed continent.
*However, Jason Colavito has pointed out(h) 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.”!*
Nevertheless, the late Robert Argod supported the antiquity of the original maps upon which the Piri Reis Maps and other medieval charts were based and he also supported the idea of an inhabited ice-free Antarctica.
A view contrary to the Flem-Aths can be found in a recent book by Gregory McIntosh. Professor Steve Dutch of the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay, offers a paper(b) debunking the value of the Piri Reis map, which should be read in order to get a more balanced view of the controversy. Paul V.Heinrich has also added a highly critical paper with many references(a).
Professor Steven Earle uses an assignment entitled ‘Project Atlantis‘(g) for his geology students in order to hone their critical thinking, which focuses on the Flem-Ath’s preferred variant of Pole Shift Theory known as Crustal Displacement.
What the Piri Reis Map has done for Antarctica, the Nicolo Zeno Map of 1380 has done for Greenland which appears to show a deglaciated landmass. Features, hidden by ice but confirmed by modern seismic soundings, are apparently shown. However, controversy has dogged the Nicolo Zeno Map as much as the Piri Reis chart.
Phillipe Buache the renowned French geographer also published a map of ice-free Antarctica in 1737, long before its recorded discovery and centuries before seismic surveys revealed the topography of the sub-glacial landmass. The source of the data for this map is so far unexplained.
In 2004, Jean-Pierre Lacroix & Robert Bywater presented a paper(d) to the International Piri Reis Symposium in which they made the radical claim that the western part of the Piri Reis map was in fact a depiction of the outline of east and southeast Asia, rather than the Caribbean.
The ancient-origins website(e) has a number of papers relating to the Piri Reis Map.
The most recent studies(f) include a map showing the effects of just a partial retreat of the icesheet, showing exposed coastlines, during the Pliocene era, which again indicates an outline of the landmass at variance with the Piri Reis Map.