Cartography

Map-making and related sciences

Two Medieval Monks Invent Maps: A lesson in cartography

The Toast website offers an imagined conversation between two monks creating world maps. Start (or end) your day right with Two Medieval Monks Invent Maps, a bit of medieval humor.

The evolution of London

How did London evolve as a city from Roman times to the present? Researchers at UCL's Centre for Advanced Spatial Analysis know the answer and privdes a visual aid in the form of a map which shows the city's development from the 1st century military center to today's megacity.

Old Nieszawa virtually rebuilt

The original Polish town of Nieszawa, on the Vistula River, only existed for 35 years before it was demolished and rebuilt 32 km upstream, but now it lives again - virtually - thanks to a two-year non-invasive investigation including geophysics and aerial prospection.

Candelabra might be key to medieval Spanish navigation

In 1970, a diver off the coast of Spain found a rare 10th century bronze candelabra. Since then, experts have studied the artifact as verification of a trade routes between Spanish cities and southern France, a topic about which little is known.

Disappearance of Roanoke Island settlers "closer" to being solved

In 1587, settlers from England arrived in what is now North Carolina to establish a colony at Roanoke Island. By 1590 they were gone. What happened to the colony has long been a mystery for historians, but experts are now getting "closer" to finding out what happened to the lost colony. Tanya Basu of National Geographic has the feature story.

Pre-fire London virtualization wins game company award

Travelers to London are sometimes disappointed to find little of the city's medieval past on tourist maps, thanks to the 17th century fire which destroyed much of the city. Now a team of students offers the next best thing with a virtual "fly-through" of Tudor London.

The allure of the sea monster

For medieval people, the ocean was the ultimate mystery, as were the creatures that lived there - in truth and in the imagination. Many of these creatures were depicted on medieval maps, the subject of two new books reviewed on Smithsonian's Collage of Arts and Sciences blog.

Tracking the sea beasties

Modern maps rarely include wondrous sea monsters in their depictions of bodies of water. Author Chet Van Duzer laments this fact in his new book Sea Monsters on Medieval and Renaissance Maps. Tanya Lewis of LiveScience has a review.

Time flies in Euro-history video

The history of Europe is... complicated, as anyone who has studied it can confirm. A short animated film from LiveLeak, entitled Map of Europe: 1000 AD to present day, can help understand the ebbs and flows of the nations.

Ostrich Egg Globe Is Oldest with New World

The oldest known depiction of the New World has been found carved onto a 500-year-old ostrich egg.

Detailed map created of underwater town in England

Archaeologists have created a detailed map of the medieval port city of Dunwich, dubbed "Britain's Atlantis" because it sank into the sea centuries ago.  Using both high-tech imaging and historic research, archaeologists have been able to map out the town boundaries, streets, and even identify individual buildings.

The science of discovery

Historians have long been fascinated by the creation of maps during the Age of Exploration. Of special interest are maps such as Waldseemüller and Ringmann's first map mentioning "America." The New York Times Science page looks at A Renaissance Globemaker’s Toolbox, a new book on the subject by John W. Hessler.

Hereford Mappa Mundi removed for conservation evaluation

A 700-year-old map of the world, the Hereford Mappa Mundi, has been removed from display in Hereford Cathedral for evaluation of its condition. The 52 in. (132cm) circular map shows a medieval view of the world with Jerusalem at the center and Paradise "surrounded by a wall and a ring of fire, roughly where Japan would be." (photos)

Fifth copy of "the birth certificate of America" found

Experts previously believed that only four copies of the 16th century Waldseemueller map still existed, but a fifth copy has been discovered between the pages of a 19th century book in Munich's Ludwig Maximilian University. (photo)

Harvard sponsors Roman and Medieval cartography site

Harvard University has announced the Digital Atlas of Roman and Medieval Civilization (DARMC), a website that "offers a series of maps and geodatabases bearing on multiple aspects of Roman and medieval civilization in the broadest terms."

"Tantalising clue" to Raleigh's lost colony

In a discovery worthy of Dan Brown, experts believe they may have found Sir Walter Raleigh's "lost colony" of Roanoke inscribed on a 16th century map in invisible ink. (photos)

Travel the Roman roads, Google-style

The Roman road network, renowned for its scope and efficiency, has now gotten even easier to travel thanks to an online application from Stanford University.  ORBIS is a geospatial network model that covers hundreds of land and sea routes in the Roman Empire circa 200 CE.

Map corrections may help solve mystery of missing colonists

Theories about the fate of the "Lost Colony", a group of English colonists who founded a settlement in coastal North Carolina (USA), have ranged from disease to alien abduction. New evidence found on an English map may finally answer the question.

California Bay to be named after Sir Francis Drake

The U.S. Government is set to name a spot north of San Francisco, California after Sir Francis Drake, giving credance to that spot as the true location where Drake landed and claimed "Nova Albion" for Elizabeth I.

Does gun prove Portuguese discovery of Australia?

In 2010, a family discovered an antique gun buried in the sand on Dundee Beach in Australia's Northern Territory. The artifact, which resembles a 16th century swivel gun, has revived the theory that the continent was discovered by Portuguese seafarer Cristovao de Mendonca in 1521. (photo)

Earliest known map of Great Britain available online

A collaborative project by Queen's University Belfast, King’s College London, and the Bodleian Libraries offers an innovative approach that explores the ‘linguistic geographies’ of the Gough Map, the earliest surviving geographically recognizable map of Great Britain.

Conflict History

Combining the Google Maps user interface with Wikipedia's knowledge data, this mashup site interactively displays the history of world military conflicts in a multidimensional format that allows one to see how the areas of conflict changed over time. Select your persona's lifetime on the timeline (or by hand-editing the URL), and see what wars were shaping the world during that time.

Google site maps historic battles

Google has produced an interactive website mapping warfare and battles throughout the world.

Dürer star charts auctioned

On March 30, 2011, the world's oldest printed star charts, created by German Renaissance artist Albrecht Dürer, were auctioned by Sotheby's auction house in London. The woodcuts were first printed in 1515. (photo)

Mapping Anglo-Saxon London

Ever wondered what Anglo-Saxon London would have looked like? Londonlist offers the opportunity to view closeups of how modern mapmakers would view medieval London.

Maps from Piri Reis to Katip Çelebi' at Vatican

An exhibition of maps from the Ottoman Empire will be on display at the Vatican this winter. The Ottoman Worldview from Piri Reis to Katip Çelebi', a traveling exhibit, was created in celebration of the 400th anniversary of the birth of Katip Çelebi'.

Digital Atlas of Roman and Medieval Civilizations online

A team of Harvard undergraduates, graduate students, research scholars and one professor have created the Digital Atlas of Roman and Medieval Civilizations, a mapping and spatial analysis of the Roman and medieval worlds using the Geographic Information Systems (GIS) information system.

Decoding Ptolemy's map re-dates German cities

A group of experts from Berlin Technical University's Department for Geodesy and Geoinformation Science have cracked a 2nd  century map of Germany created by Ptolemy, re-dating many of the country's cities by 1,000 years.

Worlds Upon Worlds: An Illustrated Talk by Toby Lester

Lecture given by Toby Lester -- a longtime editor and writer for The Atlantic, and the author of The Fourth Part of the World (2009) -- about the Waldseemüller world map of 1507.

Domesday Book by map and charter

A new website, PASE Domesday, allows users to search William the Conqueror's 1086 Domesday book by person and village. The results can be seen in tabular or map form.