The Navigators

“This book contains the story of the discovery of the first hard evidence that advanced peoples preceded all the peoples now known to history. In one field, ancient sea charts, it appears that accurate information has been handed down from people to people. It appears that the charts must have originated with a people unknown, that they were passed on, perhaps by the Minoans (the Sea Kings of ancient Crete) and the Phoenicians, who were but a thousand years and more the greatest sailors of the ancient world.” (1)

So begins Charles Hapgood’s book Maps of the Ancient Sea Kings. He and his students at Keen State College undertook to analyse the Piri Re’is Map of 1513. Charles Hapgood, his students and several other experts in astronomy, mathematics, history and map making spent seven years analyzing not only the Piri Re’is Map but many other ancient maps also.

                                                               The Piri Re’is Map of 1513

John K. Wright, past director of the American Geographical Society had the following to say about this book:

“The geographer and geologist William Morris once discussed “The Value of Outrages Geological Hypotheses” * His point was that such hypotheses arouse interest, invite attack, and thus serve useful fermentative purposes in advancement of geology. Mr. Hapgood will agree, I am sure, that this book records a mighty proliferation of outrages cartographical and historical hypotheses, as luxuriant as an equatorial vine. His hypotheses will “outrage” the conservative instincts of the historically minded cartographers and cartographically minded historians. But while those in whom conservatism predominates will react to this book like bulls to red rags, those of radical, iconoclastic bent of mind will react like bees to honeysuckle, and the liberals in between will experience a feeling of stimulating bafflement.

A map dating from 1513, and by the Turkish Admiral, Piri Re’is, is the seed from which the vine has grown. Only the western half of the map has been preserved. It shows the Atlantic coasts from France to the Caribbean on the north to what Hapgood (following Captain A. H. Mallery) holds to be Antarctica on the south; and of course any proposition that any part of Antarctica could have been mapped before 1513 is startling. But yet more startling are the further propositions that have arisen from the intensive studies  that Mr. Hapgood and his students have made of this and other medieval and early modern maps. These studies which took seven years, have convinced him that the maps were derived from prototypes drawn in pre-Hellenic times (perhaps even as early as the last Ice Age). That these older maps were based upon a sophisticated understanding of spherical trigonometry of map projections, and – what seems even more incredible – upon a detailed and accurate knowledge of latitudes and longitudes of coastal features throughout a large part of the world.” (2)

Charles Hapgood, his students and many others connected to this project came to the conclusion that there must have been an older, more scientific culture in ancient times than what we are aware of. One which was well acquainted with astronomy, higher mathematics, surveying and navigation. This doesn’t mean that this culture may have been a high-tech one such as our own, only that there were well educated people who likely did live in a high culture. Hapgood explained such maps as the one by Oronteus Finaeus, dating 1531, as a compilation of many small maps which had been gathered together over time. Many of these old maps have details of the interiors of countries which could only have been gathered  by people surveying by land.

                                                                The Oronteus Finaeus Map 1531

Like all other theories this one is still hotly debated, but as Hapgood says in his book “you find what you look for”.  By this he meant that up until his time few people had ever considered that there had been a high civilization with astronomers, mathematicians, surveyors and navigators in ancient times, so ancient that we have no records of them. Of course, some of the records are still there in the ancient sea charts, and in the ancient megalithic constructions on land. But regardless of whether you believe that there was such a civilization or not, there are hard to explain things about some of the maps.  One of the standard maps used in medieval times was the portolan chart. So called because they took mariners from port to port. The Dulcert Portolano of 1339 is one such map.

                                                                          The Dulcert Portolano

These maps usually cover Europe and the lands around the Mediterranean. The longitudes and latitudes seem to be much more correct on the older versions rather than the later ones. The theory being that these maps were copied and recopied by several different people. There were a great many documents and maps destroyed at the library of Alexandria when the contents were burned several times. The old libraries of Carthage and other old cities are also believed to have been destroyed by one group or another during various wars. These libraries housed records about history, literature, mathematics, astronomy, surveying, architecture, medicine, maps and navigation to name but a few things. A great deal of the written word has been lost due to new ideas coming along, some religious, some not. Book burnings still happen, and people still scrap books from libraries if they don’t consider them fit………….according to their way of thinking.

What is puzzling about these maps is the longitude. The question being, “How did people in ancient times find longitude?” The chronometer was not invented until the eighteenth century. Before that, longitude was quite a puzzle for many hundreds of years. But long before that, it doesn’t seem to have been a puzzle at all. The people who built the Temple at Stonehenge c2500 BCE knew about it. There’s a line of light there which shows up just before noon. It gradually gets smaller and smaller, until it disappears. It is then apparent noon at Stonehenge, and the line of light sits N/S. A longitude line every day. There are many things on the landscape which show that these people understood longitude. Avebury and Silbury Hill are directly north of Stonehenge. Arbor Low and its egg-shaped recumbent white stone ‘circle’ is 2° north of Stonehenge. Callanish is 5° north and 5° west of Arbor Low. Holy Island is 4° north of Stonehenge. Glastonbury Tor is 1° west of Stonehenge. Oddly enough things do seem to have been placed on the landscape by degrees, both latitude and longitude. The ancients were measuring the globe in 360°.

This sort of geodesy is not confined to Great Britain and Ireland, but can be found in many places on the globe. One of the most interesting places is France and some of the surrounding countries. Right about the time Alfred Watkins was hunting old straight tracks in England, a French detective named Xavier Guichard began a personal investigation into the roots of place names in France. His research led him to conclude that locations with the root-name ‘Alaise’ had once belonged to a network of alignments which extended throughout France, and other areas in Europe, through longitude and latitude. He concluded that he had touched on the Eleusian mysteries of ancient Greece. Unfortunately he and Alfred Watkins didn’t know each other or about their individual searches. 

Alaise, France is at 47° 00′ N, 5° 58′ E, and Eleusis Greece is at 38° 00′ N, 18° 00′ E. The two sites are separated by 9° latitude and 12° longitude.

“Of particular relevance is the fact that Guichard’s research uncovered the fact that Aleusian sites were separated by units of degrees of longitude and latitude, a notion which suggests an understanding of higher geometry and several other sciences. Guichard’s research has traditionally been scorned by mainstream historians, but independent research confirms his data, and much of his original theory.” (3)

The independent research is being done by Alex Whitaker of Ancient-Wisdom.co.uk. All the data can be viewed on his site. He has checked mainly primary locations, plus one secondary one.

Out of 48 primary places, the latitude for 32 were confirmed correct. The other 16 were not found. However, some place names have changed since Guichard’s day, spellings also. Llussa, Spain is now Lluca. Alex in France is now Aleix, and Leysele, Belgium is now Leisele. Although Mr. Whitaker has only 31 confirmed because he could not find Alzonne on Corsica, I found Ajaccio on Corsica which is at the correct latitude. I think perhaps Guichard made a mistake with the name. Alzonne is a department in France. This is why I have 32 as confirmed.

Out of 18 primary places, Mr. Whitaker found 14 correct for longitude. Some of the other locations were not found, and he is still researching this project. The Eleusian Mysteries are thought to have included higher mathematics, astronomy, and geo-metry, which is the measurement  of the earth or surveying. It also included Oracles who would have to understand astronomy since ancient oracles were generally astrologers. Guichard’s findings are thought to have been created in prehistoric times, long before there was a country named Greece.

A land map that Charles Hapgood looked at was one from China which had been carved in stone in 1137 CE, although it is believed to be a copy of a much older map. He found a copy of this map in Science and Civilization in China by Joseph Needham. By analyzing this map he found the following for latitude and longitude by quadrant of the map.

Northwest quadrant, 8 locations, average errors 0.4° Lat. 0.0° Long.

Northeast quadrant, 10 locations, average errors 0.0° Lat. 0.0° Long.

Southwest quadrant, 9 locations, average errors 1.3° Lat 1.2° Long.

Southeast quadrant, 7 locations, average errors 0.0° Lat. 1.2° Long.

The small amount of error is considered negligible because of the great area this map covers. Charles Hapgood: 

“Here we have evidence that when this ancient map of China was first drawn, mapmakers had a means of finding longitude as accurately as they found latitude, exactly as was the case with the portolan charts in the West. The accuracy of the map suggests the use of spherical trigonometry, and the form of the grid, so like that of the De Canerio Map, suggests that the original projection might have been based on spherical trigonometry.

As a further test of the grid I had drawn for this map, I listed separately all the northernmost and southernmost places identified on the map and averaged their errors in latitude. I also listed all the easternmost and westernmost places and averaged their errors in longitude. The average error of latitude north was less than one-half of one degree (or 30 miles!), and the average error on the south balanced out to zero ( with four localities 1° too far south and four 1.2° too far north). So far as the longitude was concerned, the errors both east and west balance out to zero. There was no indication, therefore, that the grid constructed on the map was seriously in error.

It seems to me that the evidence of this map points to the existence in very ancient times of a worldwide civilization, the mapmakers of which mapped virtually the entire globe with a uniform general level of technology, with similar methods, equal knowledge of mathematics, and probably the same sort of instruments. I regard the Chinese map a capstone of the structure I have erected in this book. For me it settles the question as to whether the ancient culture that penetrated Antarctica, and originated all the ancient western maps, was indeed worldwide.”

Oronteus Finaeus’ map shows Antarctica, partly bare of ice. It shows the coastal mountain ranges and open rivers flowing down to the sea. Geologists have taken core samples from the Ross Sea which suggests that Antarctica had a temperate climate before 6000 years ago. The core samples show that there were several periods of glaciation with times of temperate climate in between. This doesn’t necessarily mean that all of Antarctica was ice free, only that the icecap may have been smaller at such times. Geologists are still puzzled by the cause of Ice Ages, and the last one melted so fast that there really is no conclusion why this was. There are theories, one is Charles Hapgood’s Earth crust displacement theory. He theorised that the Earth’s crust slipped south about 2000 miles due to the enormous weight of the ice covering much of the northern hemisphere. While Europe and North America slipped south, the other side of the globe slipped north. There is another theory which states that the Earth was hit by two meteors, which put things on Earth at a different latitude, and also caused the rapid melting of ice, and a general sloshing about of all water on Earth. This sort of event would also have caused flooding, earthquakes and erupting volcanoes. Some major event does seem to have happened resulting in a great deal of havoc at the end of the last Ice Age with much flooding, earthquakes and volcanoes erupting. The whole story is likely hiding within World mythologies.

Antarctica is shown much too large on Oronteus Finaeus’ map. Charles Hapgood felt that this was due to the map having been put together using many smaller maps, and that Oronteus has shown Antarctica in a different scale from other locations. He didn’t adjust the scale to match the rest of the map. On Piri Re’is’ map, Hapgood’s students discovered 900 miles of coast missing in South America. The northern part was good and the southern part was good, but in between there was 900 miles of coast missing. One of the smaller maps had gone missing obviously. No Europeans, as far as we know, explored or mapped the east coast of South America by 1513, but obviously someone did at one time, or Piri Re’is wouldn’t have it on his map.

                                                           The Hadji Amhed World Map of 1559

On the Hadji Amhed World Map of 1559, we see all of North America and South America, looking very modern indeed. He even shows the Bering Land Bridge which existed during the last Ice Age. But no one in 1559 knew that there had been an Ice Age or that there had been a land bridge between Alaska and Russia. Nor had any modern explorers been to the west coast of North America to be able to map it. It even shows the Gulf of California and the narrow strip of land south of San Diego.  He also shows Antarctica, but also much too big. These old maps which do show Antarctica, all have it too big, and they all have it almost connected to South America. It would seem that all these people must have used the same source maps, but no one adjusted the scale, since no one in their time had even seen Antarctica. Captain Cook was convinced that it existed when he went looking for it. He failed on his first attempt, likely because he was looking too close to South America, and wasn’t far enough south.

No one is too sure as to when the original maps may have been made. Derek Cunningham suggests that it was started right after most of the ice had melted. He felt it was sometime between 12,000 BCE and 10,000 BCE. Charles Hapgood felt it had started after the last Ice Age also. If a catastrophe with world wide implications did happen at one time, it is possible that the stars you were used to seeing overhead may no longer have been the same. If there were astronomers, surveyors and navigators at that point in time, they would have to start their astronomical observations from scratch again. If, as the histories and science tell us, there was an enormous amount of flooding after the last Ice Age, things changed, land masses changed. All land masses had their coasts changed. Enormous lakes appeared where no lakes existed before. The Black Sea was once a fresh water lake until the land bridge at the Dardanelles gave way, then it became a salty sea. Coastal towns and villages which may have existed disappeared below the water. There are towns which existed thousands of years ago which archaeologists are just discovering. These places were built well after the Ice Age ended. Most of Doggerland disappeared in 6200 BCE, and Doggerbanks was gone by 5200 BCE. How many people were lost during these events, and where did the survivors go? So far I have not seen a map with either Doggerland or Doggerbanks on it, but perhaps someone removed them from the later maps.

Charles Hapgood:

“The reader will quite naturally wonder how, if once a great civilization existed over most of the earth, it could disappear leaving no trace except these maps? For an answer to this we must cite one of the best known principles of human psychology: We find what we look for. I do not mean by this that we never find anything by accident. But rather, we usually overlook, neglect, and pass by facts unless we have a motive to notice them. It was Darwin who said that to make new discoveries one had to have a theory ( not a fixed dogmatic theory, of course, but an experimental hypothesis). With the theory of evolution people began to look in new directions, and they found new facts, by the thousands, which supported and verified the theory. The same thing happened a half-century before with the geological theory of Sir Charles Lyell. It happened in the beginning with modern astronomy, when Copernicus proposed a new theory of the solar system. Hitherto people have not seriously believed that an advanced civilization could have preceded the civilizations not known to us. The evidences have been, therefore, neglected.

But if we take a glance at the history of archaeological research in the 19th Century we see that it consists mainly of the rediscovery of lost civilizations. Jaquetta Hawkes (4), in her fascinating anthology of the writings of some of the principal archaeologists of all periods, devotes a section to “Lost Civilizations.”

The story begins in Mesopotamia, about 1811, when Caudius Rich began a rediscovery of Babylon. It continued with Paul Emile Botta, Henry Layard, and Henry Rawlinson who brought Assyria back into history. Egypt came back into history after Champollion solved the problem of Egyptian hieroglyphics, and in the fourth quarter of the century, Schliemann brought Troy out of the mists of legend, and Sir Arthur Evans gave substance to the myths of Crete. More recently still an advanced culture, with strangely modern luxuries, that flourished on the banks of the Indus River 5000 years ago has joined the ranks of lost civilizations rediscovered.

But is this all? Is the process at an end? Are there no more lost civilizations waiting to be rediscovered? It would be contrary to history itself if this were the case. Unimaginative people made fun of all these discoveries in turn and hounded the discoverers. The same sort of person today accepts all that has been discovered in the past, but denies there is anything more to discover.

Let us start our review of the evidences with Egypt. Scholars are in disagreement about particular achievements of the Egyptians in science, but they are in good agreement about particular aspects of them.  Egyptian knowledge of astronomy and geometry as early as the Fourth Dynasty has been shown to be remarkable. The Egyptians had a double calendar which has been described as “the most scientific combination of calendars that has yet been used by man”. This calendar system may have been in use as early as 4241 B.C. One historian writes: “It may be, as some indeed suspect, that science we see at the dawn of  recorded history was not science at its dawn but represents the remnants of the science of some great and as yet untraced civilization”. (5)  

To date we have not found that civilization, but a great many things have been found since 1966 when Charles Hapgood wrote those words. Among them are Gobekli Tepe in Turkey, the houses at Durrington Walls in England, and most of what is being found in the Orkneys. Gobekli Tepe is one of the big puzzles because of all the carved stone which has been found there, and the fact that people do seem to have buried the place completely for some unknown reason. It is being dated c9000 BCE, and such stone carving doesn’t show up again until thousands of years later.This seems rather odd, and one would expect more of it to turn up sooner or later.

Durrington Walls is part of the Stonehenge Complex. It includes Windmill Hill, Avebury Ring, Silbury Hill, the Sanctuary, Woodhenge, the West Kennet Long Barrow, the Cursus, Durrington Walls, Bluestonehenge and Stonehenge. And whatever may be lying in hiding at the moment. Martin Doutré of Ancient Celtic New Zealand theorizes that this complex was an ancient navigational school. He feels that the Boyne Valley Complex in Ireland and the Ness Brodgar Complex in Orkney were also navigational schools. His mathematics on the subject are very convincing.

However, I find this view somewhat narrow. Since navigation has its roots in astronomy it is quite likely that astronomy, surveying  and map making were taught also. Oracles were very popular at the time, but ancient oracles were usually astrologers hence they had to learn astronomy first before proceeding on with their chosen profession. If you wanted to run a calendar circle in your area, you would first have to learn astronomy.

The houses at Durrington Walls are believed to have been only seasonal accommodations because no querns or carbonized grain was found within them. But like Skara Brae, all the cooking and baking may have been done at one central kitchen, which may not have been found as yet. I did find a very interesting Grooved Ware bowl from Durrington Walls c2500 BCE which may have been a latitude memory device.

                                                 Grooved  Ware bowl from Durrington Walls  

The parallel lines running around this bowl are lines of latitude. Starting at the top the lines are 65°N Iceland, 60°N Shetland, 55°N Holy Island and Bornholm Island which is also at 15°E, 50°N the tip of Cornwall. The space between these and the next group of three lines is 15°. The three lines are 35°N Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Crete and Cyprus, 30°N Giza, 25°N the Dakhleh Oasis where the stone circle at Nabta Playa is. The next space is 20°. The next group of lines are 5°N which runs along the south coast of north-western Africa, the Equator, 5°S Lake Victoria. The next space down is 20°. The next group of lines are 25°S, 30°S, 35°S and 40°S. 25°S and 30°S run through Australia, 35°S runs through the passage between Australia and Tasmania, 40°S runs through New Zealand. The next space is 15°. The last four lines are 55°S the tip of South America, 60°S South Orkney Island, 65°S runs through the long narrow tail of Antarctica, 70°S Antarctica.

If this was a memory device, it only took me a few minutes to remember. If it was in front of your nose every day, you’d remember. And obviously they were interested in more that just the Northern Hemisphere, they even included Antarctica.  There are likely many more interesting places along these latitudes, but think these are quite good. Have a look at some maps yourself, and see what other interesting things can be found at these latitudes. 

Sources

* William Morris Davis from Science, vol. 63, 1926, pp. 463-468

(1) Charles Hapgood, Maps of the Ancient Sea Kings

(2) John K. Wright, author and past president of the American Geographical Society

(3) Alex Whitaker, Ancient-Wisdom.co.uk

(4) Jaquetta Hawkes, The World of the Past

(5) S. R. K. Glanville, Legacy of Egypt

Xavier Guichard, Eleusis Alesia: Enquête sur le origines de la civilisation européenne, 1936, detective, archaeologist and writer.

Martin Doutré, Ancient Celtic New Zealand

Alex Whitaker, Ancient-Wisdom.co.uk

Pictures

Rune Master by Susan Seddon Boulet

The Piri Re’is Map 1513 from sacred-text.com

Oronteus Finaeus World Map from Forbidden History

Dulcert Portolano, Wikipedia

Hadji Amhed World map 1559, Wikipedia

Longitude and latitude maps of France by Xavier Guichard found at Ancient-Wisdom.co.uk

Picture of the Grooved Ware bowl from The Megalith Builders by Dr. Euan MacKie, with permission from Dr. MacKie