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Modern Mysteries

Hidden secrets found in Columbus' 1491 map

By T.K. Randall
June 15, 2015 · Comment icon 9 comments



The Martellus map was believed to have been used by Columbus. Image Credit: Michael Zeno Diemer
The map studied by Columbus before his trans-Atlantic voyage has been cleaned up using computer software.
Created by German cartographer Henricus Martellus, the highly detailed map was drawn up in the 15th century and is thought to have been used by Christopher Columbus himself.

The map was donated to Yale University in 1962 however after hundreds of years its markings had faded dramatically making it difficult to make out all of the original writing and details.

Now in an effort to get around this problem a team of researchers has used a technique known as multispectral-imaging which involves photographing the map in twelve different colors and then analysing the images using special computer software.

"We've recovered more information than we dared to hope for," said project leader Chet Van Duzer.
The method revealed a huge amount of previously hidden details on the map including numerous textual descriptions of the people who lived in various parts of the world at the time such as the 'Panotii' of Southern Asia who were said to have ears so large they could be used as sleeping bags.

Researchers studying the map also discovered that Martellus had used several different sources when creating it including the Egyptus Novelo map and text from 'The Travels of Marco Polo'.

"It's always interesting to learn how people conceived the world at that period in history," said Van Duzer. "The late 15th century was a time when people's image of the world was changing so rapidly."

"Even within Martellus's own career, what he was showing of the world expanded dramatically."

Source: Phys.org | Comments (9)


Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #1 Posted by qxcontinuum 8 years ago
'Panotii' of Southern Asia who were said to have ears so large they could be used as sleeping bags. ???? Aliens?
Comment icon #2 Posted by Bavarian Raven 8 years ago
Or maybe it was the fact that Colon spent time in Iceland, at a time when the Greenland settlement was still alive and was still trading with Iceland. Greenlanders who would have known about the lands to the west and southwest. But minor details.
Comment icon #3 Posted by paperdyer 8 years ago
Very nice! The map looks like it has a lot of little islands near Japan. Too many unless some disappeared due to volcanic activity.
Comment icon #4 Posted by godnodog 8 years ago
And blah blah blah, Colombus had access to some of the portuguese maps, wich by the way were amogst the most advanced in Europe, probably the best, but noooooo, the portuguese hypothesys is never taken into consideration, cause we all know advances have to come from central or nortic europe, for fucs sake
Comment icon #5 Posted by Nnicolette 8 years ago
Panotii? After reading about the mythical panotii tribe real quick i am left wondering how they got on the map only 500 years ago and where they went.
Comment icon #6 Posted by Likely Guy 8 years ago
And blah blah blah, Colombus had access to some of the portuguese maps, wich by the way were amogst the most advanced in Europe, probably the best, but noooooo, the portuguese hypothesys is never taken into consideration, cause we all know advances have to come from central or nortic europe, for fucs sake The 'Portuguese hypothesis', I'm curious as to what that is. I'm also over 50 and I was always taught that they were master mariners and map makers. Where your (well, for lack of better words) 'conspiracy theory' comes from, I don't know.
Comment icon #7 Posted by Calibeliever 8 years ago
And blah blah blah, Colombus had access to some of the portuguese maps, wich by the way were amogst the most advanced in Europe, probably the best, but noooooo, the portuguese hypothesys is never taken into consideration, cause we all know advances have to come from central or nortic europe, for fucs sake How does his national origin relate to this map? From my understanding the Portuguese hypothesis is among the weakest. The Spanish-Jewish has gained some ground in recent years. *shrug* I think it's becoming common wisdom anymore among mainstream academics that the lands to the west were know... [More]
Comment icon #8 Posted by godnodog 8 years ago
How does his national origin relate to this map? From my understanding the Portuguese hypothesis is among the weakest. The Spanish-Jewish has gained some ground in recent years. *shrug* I think it's becoming common wisdom anymore among mainstream academics that the lands to the west were known about long before Columbus. They were probably visited many times in the previous centuries but they likely hadn't been mapped very well. Thus they weren't part of the "known" world. Remember also that it was important for early America to maintain a discovery story that fit the national narrative. Many ... [More]
Comment icon #9 Posted by Calibeliever 8 years ago
You helped made my point, as the portuguses had the more advanced maps in Europe, wich included information from ancient sources, plus navigation routes that included sea currents, a lot of information was given by the Knights Templars to the portuguese crown for helping escape the church persecution, in return for the gift the Knights Templars were allowed to exist in Portugal till this day, YES THEY STILL EXIST HERE AND THEY ARE NOT A SECRET. Returning to the map thing, there are clues thst show Brasil was already known at the time but information of its discovery was kept secret, I dont kno... [More]


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