The Discovery Of Carney And Siple Islands On Schöner's 1524 World Globe
Whether the find should prove genuine or not, one of the more epiphanic moments occurring early on in my research was the discovery of an island set on Schöner's 1524 World Globe which very closely resembles Antarctica's Carney and Siple Islands in proportion and alignment to each other as well as to Western Antarctica's western coastline. The amazing accuracy of the discovery along with the circumstances leading to the islands' incorporation onto Schöner's globe reinforce the possibility that Antarctica had been charted in the ancient past. I detail this discovery in The Magellan Effect, but the actual process of discovery was as follows.
I had been researching information on Antarctica through Google, when an odd map began to randomly pop up in returned image sets. This map was the 1513 Piri Reis map (Fig. 1), a map which I soon found Charles Hapgood had heralded in his book Maps of the Ancient Sea Kings as depicting portions of the Antarctic continent. Although certain that the claim was false, for curiosity's sake I allowed myself to be distracted from my original research and delved into Hapgood's claim only to confirm that Hapgood had indeed performed an extremely poor analysis of the map in order to support his errant view.
Figure 1 - Piri Reis Map of 1513. This is all that remains of the map, the lower left fragment. Hapgood believed that the lower portion of the map is a depiction of Antarctica.
This little diversion did lead me to another map, however, which would soon become an object of obsession. The map that captivated my attention was the Oronce Finé 1531 World Map (Fig. 2). Unlike the Piri Reis map, Finé's portrayal of the continent shared similarities with the Antarctic continent that were far too great to easily dismiss. I began to analyze Finé's depiction of the continent and to a lesser extent Mercator's similar depiction on his 1538 map, both being depictions which Charles Hapgood included in his book and placed a substantial amount of focus on throughout his own validation process.
Figure 2 - Oronce Finé 1531 World Map. A double-cordiform projection which includes a rendering of the Antarctic continent 300 years prior to its first known sighting.
But unlike Hapgood who attempted to match every nook and cranny to points on modern Antarctica, I approached the map as though it were constructed with similar cartographic skill as allotted ancient Greek maps. I had determined that the superior detailing of the Western Antarctic region suggested that if the map were genuine, it had to have been charted by a civilization more acquainted with this region and to a far lesser extent much of Eastern Antarctica. This same sort of cartographic phenomenon can be seen in Greek maps where the level of accuracy quickly drops off as we look beyond their depiction of the Mediterranean. Finé's map strongly supported this view, with more accurate detailing between the Weddell and Ross Sea, including Ross Island set below a small point of land, the location of Sulzberger Bay (Figure 3a versus 3b), and the accurate arrangement of the three prominent mountain ranges on Western Antarctica. (Fig. 3c)
Figure 3a - Modern map of Antarctica.
Figure 3b - Finé's 1531 depiction of Antarctica. The Unfortunate Islands (Carney and Siple Islands) have been added in from Schöner's 1524 depiction of the continent (See Fig. 4) to create a composite demonstrating the extent of uncanny similarities these maps share with modern Antarctica. (Click here or on images if you wish to see an enlarged side-by-side view of the above images.)
Figure 3c - Bathymetric view of Western Antarctica (left) alongside Finé's 1531 depiction. While the inclusion of nonexistent mountain ranges along the southern and eastern coasts of Finé's Eastern Antarctica expose the cartographer’s lack of full familiarity with Eastern Antarctica, the inclusion and accurate placement of A) the Ellsworth Mountains, B) the Executive Committee Range, and C) the northern tip of the Queen Maud Mountains in the area of Western Antarctica suggest that the civilization that charted the continent most often frequented the western half of the continent. Meanwhile, Finé’s incorporation of a lengthy narrow bay extending southward off the Weddell Sea mimics a basin (D) existing between two converging mountain ranges that form a similar point at its southern extremity.
So the next logical step in authenticating the design was to determine how the map came to be so greatly overscaled, in lieu of Hapgood's poorly reasoned explanation. The first scaling point was obvious. Magellan had discovered his famous strait just a few years earlier and cartographers were making varied attempts at depicting the strait's southern shore and the unexplored land attached. The second point was a completely different story. I recall sitting for hours at a time, days on end, staring intently at coastal forms on Finé and Mercator's maps looking for a secondary scaling point, knowing that it would have to be a very clear form like a bay or peninsula, but also knowing that I had to provide a reasonable explanation for its usage as a scaling point.
Near the end of every failed session I would look upon the pair of islands on Mercator's map named the Unfortunate Islands, give them a little consideration, then summarily dismiss them since they did not appear on Finé's earlier map and were likely a later discovery not available as a scaling point when the design was first introduced. After several days, perhaps it was weeks, of obsessing over these maps, I sat down for another fruitless search at the end of which I decided in mild frustration to discontinue what appeared to be a senseless pursuit, but as I was putting the maps away for the final time, I found myself again gazing upon Mercator's Unfortunate Islands. I was fully convinced that nothing would come of it, but not wanting to leave this item unchecked, I decided to halfheartedly research the islands.
When, with the help of Google, I found that these islands were discovered during Magellan's voyage, there was definitely a sense of excitement, but I knew that I still had the task of locating similar islands on Antarctica. Unfortunately Google Maps was not available back then and the maps that I could find online did not show evidence of these islands. I began to entertain the remote possibility that the islands may have been submerged under water or compressed by an ice shelf only to be revealed at a lower sea level or after deglaciation and isostatic rebound, but finally with rising doubts and dwindling options, I had the brilliant idea to abandon the comfort of my computer chair and reference a large world atlas in my possession.
Like online maps I had seen, the Getz Ice Shelf extended off Western Antarctica, but outlined within were the shapes of two similar sized islands paired together forming a narrow channel between very much like Mercator's Unfortunate Islands. Shortly thereafter I delved back into my recently acquired copy of Maps of the Ancient Sea Kings and soon became reacquainted with Schöner's 1524 World Globe which he constructed right on the heels of reports arriving in Europe of Magellan's discoveries meaning Schöner was the first to introduce this particular Antarctic design. Its depiction of the Antarctic continent is very similar in design to Finé's, but includes the pair of islands placed high in the Pacific just offshore from the portion of his continent resembling Western Antarctica. Suddenly the possibility was clear and strong that Schöner had affixed the continent to his globe by positioning Antarctica's Atka Bay at the tip of South America believing it to represent Inútil Bay lying in Magellan's strait, and rescaled and realigned the continent to also position Siple and Carney Islands high in the Pacific to represent the Unfortunate Islands. (Fig. 4)
Figure 4 - Southern projection from Schöner's 1524 world globe where it would appear that he has affixed a map of Antarctica. Like his 1515 depiction of the continent, Schöner seems to be scaling and positioning older maps of unknown or unrecognizable lands to his globe by aligning key features of the continent that match up to recent discoveries.
Of course from there I began to study Schöner's previous works to verify he had used a similar method to create and scale his earlier iterations which lead to my discovery of Agrippa's long lost 1st century world map, The Map At The Bottom Of The World.
While I feel a need to maintain a rational level of skepticism regarding ancient mapping of a deglaciated Antarctica, I still feel that I have assembled the strongest evidence to date bolstering the authenticity of these maps.
I should also point out that the reason my research suddenly jumped to Atlantis was partially because there had to be an attempt at identifying the civilization capable of charting the continent, but also the fact that Siple and Carney Island were so accurately defined in the center of the 'more familiar' portion of the map suggested that perhaps we were looking at an island dwelling people, hence the Atlanteans...
"In this island of Atlantis there was a great and wonderful empire which had rule over the whole island and several others." - (Timaeus [BJ])
"All these and their descendants for many generations were the inhabitants and rulers of divers islands in the open sea." - (Critias [BJ])
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