Oronteus Finaeus
Piri Re'is Map Oronteus Finaeus

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Figure 1 - The Oronteus Finaeus map of 1532, southern hemisphere
Figure 2 - The Oronteus Finaeus map redrawn on a modern polar projection
Figure 3 - A modern map of Antarctica drawn on a modern polar projection

This map was found in the Library of Congress, Washington DC in 1960 by Charles Hapgood. It was drawn by Oronteus Finaeus in 1531. As with the Piri Reis map, Antarctica is shown to be ice free with flowing rivers, drainage patterns and clean coastline. Some of the mountain ranges shown were only discovered recently. The deep interior didn't show any rivers or mountains which some believe means it was already covered in ice at the time. The Oronteus Finaeus map is more accurate than any other map of the same time. In fact, it is more accurate than any map made anywhere up to the year 1800.

Another tidbit of proof is the Ross sea. Today huge glaciers feed into it, making it a floating ice shelf hundreds of feet thick. Yet this map and the Reis map show estuaries and rivers at the site.

In 1949 coring was done to take samples of the ice and sediment at the bottom of the Ross Sea. They clearly showed several layers of stratification, meaning the area went through several environmental changes. Some of the sediments were of the type usually brought down to the sea by rivers. Tests done at the Carnegie Institute in Washington DC, which date radioactive elements found in sea water, dated the sediments at about 4000 BC, which would mean the area was ice free with flowing rivers up until that time - exactly what is recorded on the Reis and Finaeus maps.

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The life of Oronce Fine (Oronce Finé, Orotius Finaeus, Oronteus Finaeus) (1494-1555)

Oronce Fine was born in Briançon in 1494 and educated in Paris. After a brief spell in prison in 1518, he earned a medical degree from the Collège de Navarre in Paris in 1522, although he was to become a mathematician. In 1524, he was once again in prison and in the same year he built an ivory sundial that still exists. Like many mathematicians of the sixteenth century, Fine was considered an expert on fortifications and worked on the defenses of Milan.

In 1531, he was appointed to the chair of mathematics at the Collège Royal in Paris. He wrote voluminously on scientific subjects, his publications including treatises on astronomical instruments and astronomy (he suggested in 1520 that eclipses of the moon could be used to determine the longitude of places); he also invented a map projection, producing a map of the world in 1519 using it. He also drew the first domestically published map of France in 1525 and on another map of the world, drawn in 1531, the name Terra Australis appeared for the first time. Other productions include works on arithmetic and geometry. In 1544, he calculated the value of pi to be (22 2/9)/7, which he later refined to 47/15 and, in De rebus mathematicis of 1556, 3 11/78. In astronomy, he believed that the earth was at the center of the universe (in common with most of his European contemporaries) and he built an astronomical clock in 1553.


Copyright © 2010 Tim Stouse
Last modified: December 10, 2010
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