Map of Orontius Fineaus (courtesy

Fingerprints of the Gods The Orontius Finaeus Map of 1532, Exhibit 8

I never got around to producing a post that directly addressed the claims made by Fingerprints of the Gods (FOG) for the Orontius Finaeus Map, which Hapgood misspells as Oronteus. However, I did make a post that discusses claims made by the true believers in flying saucers. The first part of this post addresses claims made about the accuracy of the Piri Reis map. Finally, it addresses claims about the Orontius Finaeus Map. The claims made by the flying saucer people are identical to those of Dr. Hapgood and Mr. Hancock, except both maps are used as proof of source maps having been produced by gray “Spielbergs” from outer space instead of Atlanteans from Atlantis.

The post began: (FastWalker) wrote:
> To: All
> Subj: Flying Saucers-Top Secret
> Attr:
> ——————————————————————–
> To All:
> I have been reading a book by Major Donald Keyhoe titled ‘Flying
> Saucers – Top Secret’. This book was copyrighted (C) 1960 by Donald
> Keyhoe. As you may know, Maj. Keyhoe was the Director of NICAP
> (National Investigations Committee on Aerial Phenomenon) back in the
> late 50’s and 60’s. I ran across a very interesting chapter,
> Chapter 16, which deals with the Navy investigation of a map which
> was discovered which caused them a great deal of concern. I am
> reprinting part of that chapter here for information. I am also
> interested in knowing if anyone might have further information on
> this map for discussion.

…material omitted describing claims…..

NOTE: Chapter 16 essentially claims that the Piri Reis, Orontius Finaeus and other ancient maps are so accurate that they must be based upon satellite images given to ancient mapmakers by space aliens. …The first part of the post dealing with the Piri Reis map is omitted …

My post continued:

Further Claims

The 8th Reconnaissance Technical Squadron (SAC) USAF in their letter report of August 14, 1961 also claimed:

c. It is our opinion that the accuracy of the cartographic features shown in the Oronteus Fineaus [sic] Map (1531) suggests, beyond a doubt, that it also was compiled from accurate source maps of Antarctica, but in this case of the entire continent. Close examination has proved the original source maps must have been compiled at a time when the land mass and inland waterways of the continent were relatively free of ice. This conclusion is further supported by a comparison of the Oronteus Fineaus [sic] Map with the results obtained by International Geophysical Year teams in their measurements of the subglacial topography. The comparison also suggests that the original source maps (compiled in remote antiquity) were prepared when Antarctica was presumably free of ice. (Hapgood 1979: 225).

The problem with the above claims is that the direct comparison of the Orontius Finaeus Map with the most comprehensive atlas of Antarctica in terms of bedrock and ice sheet geology, Drewry (1983) and an earlier and more accessible map in Sugden and Brian (1976, p. 58) fails to show any such correspondence. A good part of the problem is that the data and maps produced by the International Geophysical Year (IGY) studies, i.e. Bentley and Ostenso (1961), covered only a very small part of Antarctica. As a result, the 8th Reconnaissance Technical Squadron (SAC) USAF people could only compare the Orontius Finaeus Map with the IGY data for the presence or absence of a large trench / waterway across Antarctica. Lacking data for the rest of Antarctica, they may have assumed that the modern coastline of Antarctica was very much like the bedrock “coastline” except for the big trench. Thus, they likely noted the resemblance between a modern ice-covered Antarctica and the Orontius Finaeus Map and wrongly assumed that it also resembled the bedrock topography which they also wrongly assumed to be related to an ice-free topography.

Real Problems

When the subglacial bedrock topographic map of Drewry (1983, sheet 3) is compared with the Orontius Finaeus Map, a person quickly finds that the Orontius Finaeus Map resembles the modern map of ice-covered Antarctica more than it does the map of Drewry (1983) made from seismographic and radio echo surveys. For example, Wilkes Land which the Orontius Finaeus Map shows as solid land occupied almost entirely by two large subsea basins and an “archipelago” of bedrock islands (Drewry 1983, sheet 3). In a partially glaciated Antarctica, this solid land shown on the Orontius Finaeus Map would also be under water. Also, the Orontius Finaeus Map fails to show the Amery Basin, which in either a partially or completely deglaciated Antarctica would be occupied by a 700 to 800 km (430 to 500 miles) long bay lying perpendicular to the coast of Antarctica between Princess Elizabeth Land and Mac Robertson Land (Drewry 1983, sheet 3). In addition, because the bedrock surface underlying West Antarctica lies hundreds of meters below sea level, except for some bedrock “islands”, the coastline shown by the Orontius Finaeus Map for it would have had to been the edge of an ice sheet. Yet, the Orontius Finaeus Map shows the same features that Hapgood (1966, 1979) claims to be river mouths and fjords on other parts of the alleged nonglacial coastline on this glacial coastline. These and many other problems clearly show that Orontius Finaeus Map of 1531, like the Buache Map of 1737 fails miserably to show either the hypothetical unglaciated or even a speculative partially glaciated Antarctica. Comparison of the Orontius Finaeus Map with a map showing the bedrock topography adjusted for isostatic rebound, Drewry (1983, sheet 6), also fails to produce a satisfactory match.

A decidedly major problem is the lack of the Antarctica Peninsula, Palmer Land, on the Orontius Finaeus Map For the lack of this peninsula, Hapgood (1966, p. 93, 1979, p. 78-79) gives a confused explanation. He claims that the base of this peninsula can be seen, but the Orontius Finaeus Map shows no such base. He claims that this peninsula exists only as scattered bedrock islands, which is true according to Drewry (1983, sheet 3). However, the modern Antarctica Peninsula would have been present as a long north-south trending island on even the most rudimentary map of a partially glaciated Antarctica. Its elevation and isostatic rebound would have kept it well above any projected sea level rise (Drewry 1983). The absence of this island is one of many gross inconsistencies between this map and the partially glaciated hypothetical, prehistoric Antarctica proposed by Hapgood (1966, 1979). Other Problems The discussion of the Piri Reis and Orontius Finaeus Maps presented by Hapgood (1966, 1979) repeatedly contradicts itself. Hapgood (1966, 1979) constantly stresses the accuracy on one hand. On the other hand, Hapgood (1966, 1979) often has to explain away inaccuracies and contradictions in the Piri Reis and Orontius Finaeus Maps by proposing the existence, at first, of a couple of separate source maps created thousands of years apart and later the existence of numerous local source maps that were incorrectly compiled into the larger maps. This involves considerable circular reasoning in that the numerous errors are the only evidence for the existence of the various alleged sources map, while the existence of the source maps is used to explain away the errors.

Other Hypotheses

However, Lunde (1980) presents a more credible hypothesis that the source map for the Orontius Finaeus Map of 1531 might have been a poorly drawn map of historic Antarctica, possibly Australia, made by some unknown Portuguese sailors sometime before 1513. Regardless of the source data, if any, for the Orontius Finaeus Map of 1531, it clearly fails to accurately portray either a partially or completely unglaciated Antarctica. This hypothesis make better sense as the Orontius Finaeus Map has more clear resemblance to a glaciated than nonglaciated Antarctica.

The Problem of An Ice-Free Antarctica

As discussed in other posts, an abundance of evidence demonstrates that Antarctica was covered by a fully developed ice cap between 40,000 to 6,000 BP contrary to the claims of Mallery and Hapgood (1966, 1979). This evidence includes ice core data (Jouzel et al 1987, Lorius et al. 1979), cores from the Ross Sea (Licht et al. 1996, Kellogg 1979), palynological data from tip of South America (Heusser 1989), and numerous radiocarbon dates from glacio-lacustrine deposits and deltas (Stuiver et al. 1981). In fact, these and other studies show that a maximum development of the ice cap and Ross Ice Shelf occurred during that period, 21,000 to 16,000 BP (Denton et al. 1996) which contradicts the claims made by Mallery and Hapgood (1966, 1979) about the glacial history of Antarctica.

As I have reviewed in previous posts, numerous studies, e.g. Denton et al. (1991) and Marchant et al. (1996) present an abundance of evidence that Antarctica was last completely ice-free over 14 million years ago. Deep cores and borings made into sediments filling deep basins within and thousands of kilometers of seismic data from the continental shelf of Antarctica confirm these studies (Cooper et al. 1995). Thus, at no time was Antarctica ice-free enough for maps showing either a totally or partially ice-free Antarctica to have been made during the last 14 million years or so.


The clearest deduction that can be made from the above analysis is that there is no evidence of any advanced map-making technology being involved in the production of either the Orontius Finaeus or Piri Reis Maps. Thus, there is also absolutely no evidence of an advanced map-making technology in the production of the Buache Map of 1737.

References Cited

Bentley, C. R., and Ostenso N. A., 1961, Glacial and subglacial topography of West Antarctica. Journal of Glaciology. vol. 3, no. 29, pp. 882-912.

Cooper, A. K., Barker, P. F., Brancolini, G. (eds.), 1995, Geology and seismic stratigraphy of the Antarctic Margin. Antarctic Research Series, vol. 68, American Geophysical Union, Washington, D.C., 303 pp.

Denton, G. H., Prentice, M. L., and Burkle, L. H., 1991, Cainozoic history of the Antarctic ice sheet. In R. T. Tingey (ed.), pp. 366-433, The Geology of Antarctica. Clarendon Press, Oxford.

Drewry, D. J. (ed.), 1983, Antarctica: Glaciological and Geophysical Folio. Scott Polar Research Institute, Cambridge.

Hapgood, C. H., 1966, Maps of the Ancient Sea Kings, 1st Edition, Chilton Books, Philadelphia.

Hapgood, C. H., 1979, Maps of the Ancient Sea Kings, 2nd Edition, E. P. Dutton, New York.

Heezen, B. C., Tharp, M., and Bentley, C. R., 1972, Morphology of the Earth in the Antarctic and Subantarctic. In Antarctic Map Folio Series no. 16. American Geographical Society.

Heusser, C. J., 1989, Climate and chronology of Antarctica and adjacent South America over the past 30,000 years. Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology, vol. 76, no. 1/2, pp. 31-37.

Jouzel, S. J., Dansgaard, W., and many others, 1987, Vostok ice core: a continuous isotopic temperature record over the last climatic cycle (160,000 years). Nature. vol. 239, pp. 403-408.

Kellogg, T. B., Truesdale, R. S., and Osterman, L. E., 1979, Late Quaternary extent of the West Antarctic ice sheet: New evidence from Ross sea cores. Geology. vol. 7, pp. 249-253.

Licht, K. J., Jennings, A. E., and others, 1996, Chronology of late Wisconsin ice retreat from the western Ross Sea, Antarctica. Geology. vol. 24, no. 3, pp. 223-226.

Lorius, C., Jouzel, S. J., and many others, 1979, A 150,000-yr isotopic climatic record from Antarctic ice. Nature, vol. 316, pp. 644-648.

Lunde, P., 1980, Piri Reis and the Hapgood Hypotheses. Aramco World Magazine. (Jan-Feb 1980).

Marchant, D. R., Denton, G. H., Swisher, C. C., and Potter, N., 1996, Late Cenozoic Antarctic paleoclimate reconstructed from volcanic ashes in the Dry Valleys region of southern Victoria Land. Geological Society of America Bulletin, vol. 108, no. 2, pp. 181-194.

Stuiver, M., Denton, G. H., and others, 1981, History of marine ice sheet in Antarctica during the last glaciation: a working hypothesis. In G. H. Denton and T. J. Hughes (eds.), pp. 319- 436, The Last Great Ice Sheets. Wiley-Interscience, New York.

…..signature of post omitted…..

Version 4.0
Dec 18, 2001

Copyright (c) 1996-2002 Paul V. Heinrich All rights reserved.