Hadji Ahmed Map

It is dated 1559 and it shows the entire world in a somewhat fanciful type of projection that is more art than science and which was typical of Arab chartwork of the time. More amazingly, it shows a land bridge between Siberia and Alaska. There are some “extra” islands that do not presently exist, but these islands did exist ten thousand years ago, near the end of the Ice Age when the sea level was exactly 200-300 feet lower than today- indicating how ancient the source map must be. The Hadji Ahmed Map was drawn by an Arab geographer from Damascus, only obscurely known to history. A careful look will show that Hadji Ahmed “improved” the Mediterranean according to Ptolemy, and thus distorted it, and also drew Africa according to the best Portuguese information that he could get, and distorted Africa too in a manner completely typical of the time.

But when we look at North America and South America we see an almost modern shape that could compare well with Mercator’s Map of South America drawn 10 years later from contemporary explorers’ information. Thankfully, Hadji Ahmed apparently had no access to contemporary maps and charts of the Americas and so was stuck with simply copying some mysterious mappamundi in his possession.

This unknown source map of Hadji Ahmed was more accurate than the best information available in 1559 and so the map looks very modern. It shows Baja, California, which had not been mapped then. It shows the Northwest Coast of North America, including Alaska, which had not been discovered then. It shows the Hawaiian Islands in the Pacific, which were not discovered until two hundred years later. It shows a sprinkling of islands in the Pacific, a sort of vague and suggestive rendition of the Polynesian Islands, but they had not been discovered yet. It shows Antarctica clearly, and even a suggestion of the Palmer Peninsula, and that had not been discovered then either.

The Far East, insofar as it can be made out in the curious “splitapple” projection used in the map, is distorted but reasonably accurate. But the strange and unnerving thing is the region of Alaska and Asia. The curve of the Aleutian Islands is depicted accurately, but there is no Bering Strait and the whole area is land. This part of the map depicts how the world of that region actually was—but 10,000 years ago! The “Bering Land Bridge” between Asia and North America, is shown correctly. This fact almost defies belief. Or, is it just a coincidence? Perhaps a mediocre mapmaker, not knowing how Asia and North America actually terminated, decided to make things easy and simply join them. Hapgood and Bradley both believed that all the portolans share a peculiarity: the general accuracy is there but the sea level seems too low.

These sea-level problems are common to all the portolans and to the existing mappamundi from which the portolans seem to have been excerpted. Maybe the earth was accurately mapped ten thousand years ago, and that a few copies survived to the medieval period.

Sources :
Atlantis Rising Magazine vol.53 :”The Enigma Of The Great Lost Sailor's Map” by David H. Childress;

Pic Source :
Atlantis Rising Magazine vol.53 :”The Enigma Of The Great Lost Sailor's Map” by David H. Childress page 32

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