Cartography

Map-making and related sciences

Who really named America?

We all know the schoolboy version of the naming of the American continents: merchant explorer Amerigo Vespucci supposedly named the New World after himself. But a little-known proofreader and scholar named Matthias Ringmann may actually be responsible.

Library of Congress explores the origins of medieval coastal maps

The Library of Congress recently played host to "Re-Examining the Portolan Chart: History, Navigation and Science.", an academic conference dedicated to the history and origins of medieval coastal maps.

Maps: "Snapshots" of history

Most of us think of a map as a tool for getting from one place to another. But throughout history, mapmakers have had other priorities than providing a factual picture of the world.

1602 map shows China at the center of the world

In 1602, when he created the first Chinese map to name the Americas, Matteo Ricci was a Jesuit missionary living in Bejing. His map is currently on display at the Library of Congress in Washington, DC. (photo)

Waldseemüller Map featured in Smithsonian Magazine article

The December 2009 issue of Smithsonian Magazine features an article on the Waldseemüller Map, an early 16th century chart which "changed the way people thought about the world."

Native map chronicles history of post-conquest peoples

Scholars are actively studying a mid-16th century map painted on amate paper made from tree bark which "tells sacred stories and speaks of pilgrimages, wars, medicine, plants, marriages, rituals and heroes of the Cuauhtinchan community," the Mexican people of modern Southwest U.S.

Debunking medieval map myths

In a 2002 article for the website Strange Horizons, Michael Livingston looks at three modern myths about medieval maps, and discusses what medieval maps truly were.

High-res survey reveals Roman farming community

Recent high-resolution geophysical surveys of the Roman town of Venta Icenorum in Norfolk, England, show that the town may have included agricultural areas, a discovery that contradicts earlier theories of the town's dense population. (graphic)

Danish expert declares Vinland Map genuine

For years, experts have disputed the legitimacy of the Vinland Map, the famous 15th century map which depicted parts of North America many years before its discovery by Christopher Columbus. Now Rene Larsen, rector of the School of Conservation under the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts, has declared the map genuine.

Map of the Known World available online

Dante de Valencia,of the Shire of Trinovantia Nova, Kingdom of Ealdormere, has produced an interactive Map of the Known World.

World Digital Library launches with 1,200 documents

The World Digital Library, Unesco's project to "promote curiosity and understanding across cultures," has launched its website with 1,200 documents ranging from a" 1,000-year-old Japanese novel to the earliest known map to mention America by name."

New York celebrates Henry Hudson's discovery of New Amsterdam

In commemoration of the Henry Hudson's 400th discovery of the City of New Amsterdam, the Museum of the City of New York will present “Amsterdam/New Amsterdam: The Worlds of Henry Hudson,” an exhibition of 275 artifacts housed in a replica of the hull of Henry's triple-masted ship. The exhibit runs through September 2009.

Artist creates Known World Atlas

A full-color atlas of the SCA Known World is now available to purchase from Gurgling Gargoyle Games. The atlas was created by cartographer and geologist Guy Comstock.

Waldseemueller map a mystery

Scholars are still puzzled by 16h century map created by German cartographer Martin Waldseemueller which depicts a vast ocean west of the Americas years before its discovery by Vasco Núñez de Balboa.

Ancient Rome, meet Google Earth!

The geniuses behind Google Earth have taken on a new project: the mapping of ancient Rome. Now visitors to the website can take a virtual 3D tour of the ancient city including such buildings as the Forum and the Colosseum.

Pennsic roads on Google Maps

Fantasy meets reality online as the Pennsic road system can now be tracked on Google Maps!

Incredible private library features historical objects

The technology magazine "Wired" takes a rare look at the private library of Jay Walker, an entrepreneur whose eclectic historical interests have led him to create a library devoted to things that have "changed the way people think." The stunningly designed room contains books and artifacts from ancient to modern times, combining museum and library.

Purloined map returned to Spain

A rare 15th century Ptolemy world view map stolen in 2007 from the National library of Spain has been discovered in a Sydney, Australia art gallery and returned to Spain.

Pennsic included in Google Maps

Jeff Morton reports that the Pennsic War has been captured by the cartographers of Google Satellite Maps.

North Wales Celtic "Land of the Dead?"

A 19th century map may be the key to a Celtic mystery: the location of the legendary Land of the Dead. According to the map, it may be in the Ruabon and Halkyn Mountains in North Wales.

Medieval Mappa honoured by UNESCO

A famous 13th century map of the world has been included in the UNESCO Memory of the World International Register.

Estrella War XXIV Interactive Event Map/Camping Map Page

The Event Coordinators for Estrella War XXIV (Feb 12-18, 2008) are pleased to announce that a new "Event Site Maps" page has been added to the website.

Tabula Peutingeriana, last surviving roadmap of Roman roads

Oriented east to west instead of north to south, the Tabula Peutingeriana, a seven-meter-long parchment scroll, records the network of roads of the late Roman Empire. From Spain to India, the map elongates the continents and reduces the Mediterranean Sea to a squiggle, but is the earliest known map of Roman roads.

Tapestry map shows Midlands of Shakespeare's time

A huge (4 feet x 6 feet, or 122 x 183 cm) 16th century tapestry map has returned to Oxford's Bodleian Library where it will be placed on display. The map was one of four such maps and was long thought to be lost. The Bodleian now owns three with the fourth in the Warwickshire Museum.

FBI Returns Stolen Maps to Spain

Earlier this year, a man named Cesar Gomez Rivero from Uruguay allegedly walked into the Biblioteca Nacional de España and swiped a series of maps from a 15th century edition of Geographia (one of four major treatises of Ptolemy, the Greek scholar who lived in Roman Egypt during the second century).

Roaming through Leicester

The city of Leicester in England offers an interactive map that allows visitors to explore different aspects of the historical city by clicking on landmarks on the map. The map includes access to the Roman Centre, Medieval Centre, Castle and Newark Liberty and the Modern Centre.

Ancient Roman map available online

The Peutingerian Map, thought to be the oldest surviving road map in the world, is now available for study on the Internet through collaboration between the Austrian National Library and Christos Nüssli of Euratlas.com.

Hailes Abbey map discovered

Hailes Abbey, in England's Cotswolds, lies in ruins a victim of Henry VIII's dissolution program. Now the discovery of an Elizabethan map may shed new light on what the 12th century church looked like.

John Smith, mapmaker

Among his many talents, explorer and early Jamestown resident Captain John Smith could count mapmaking. A map created by Smith in 1608 of the Chesapeake Bay river system has been compared recently with modern maps and found to have a "stunning level of accuracy."

Chinese historical maps online

Liu Xiao Mei Furen shares the discovery of online versions of several Chinese maps including one which shows the locations of places discussed in Romance of the Three Kingdoms.