Archaeoastronomy is the study of ancient monuments and their astronomical alignments to gain an understanding of ancient civilisations. Stonehenge falls into this category.

Interest in this subject has grown in recent years following a lot of new work interpreting the Great Pyramid at Giza in Egypt.

New theories for various sites abound, and those based on some sound research and facts deserve a greater degree of attention by the established scientists such as the Egyptologists. Other speculation (such as the suggestion that there are pyramids on Mars which has largely been disproved by recent space probe photographs) are far from having any sound evidence at this stage although further research is justified. At this stage we should avoid the sort of mass hysteria that led to everyone seeing non-existent canals on mars a few years ago.

Whilst keeping an open mind on some of the fringe issues the basic work on the Great Pyramids at Giza is my particular interest . The realisation by Robert Bauval and Graham Hancock that these monuments bear an identical relationship to the belt stars of the constellation Orion was the starting part and this work has been enhanced by studies inside the pyramid.

However these alignments indicate that it is much older than previously thought. Also the Sphinx shows signs of water erosion which indicates it comes from a much earlier time when the area was not desert. Pyramids are found all over the world so was there a very ancient civilisation of world proportions.

On this page we will seek to compare the established and accepted dates (*some of which frequently change) of history with those of Archaeoastronomy.

Known History of the World

Archaeoastronomy Chronology



Beginning of the Universe






Formation of the Solar System






Extinction of the dinosaurs






First human ancestors






First stone tools appear












The Ice Age






Invention of early weapons i.e. Bow & Arrow and Cave Paintings









Possible date of source of Claudius Ptolemy's "Map of the North"



New Stone Age / Agriculture begins






Ice Age Ending/ First pottery made






Linen used






Use of Copper



Possible date of original Antarctic maps being drawn - advanced seagoing civilisation



First seagoing ships






Horses tamed & ploughing developed






The Bronze Age begins.






First riverside civilisations including Nile in Egypt. Carts with wheels appear.






Stonehenge built






First writing






Minoan Civilisation






The Old Kingdom in Egypt






Early Indus valley civilisation









Apparent alignment of Giza Pyramid shafts with Orion & Syrius



Middle Kingdom in Egypt






Early Pacific Island civilisations






The Iron Age






Mayan dynasty founded in South America






Rome founded






Ch'in Empire in China founded




I have devoted a specific page to Ancient Maps covering Antarctica, however, this is not the only area they cover. So what other parts of the world were mapped between 13,000 BCE and 4000 BCE ?

We must remember when considering ancient maps that it is only relatively recently that we have discovered the theory of Ice Ages and therefore when these maps were drawn you would not expect to see areas covered by ice.

Piri Reis MapOne is the 14th Century map drawn by Turkish Admiral Piri Reis. Drawn in 1513 it also shows features of South America which had not been discovered at the time. The Andes, with the Amazon rising in them, are shown (although the Amazon is shown twice, possibly due to source maps being overlapped wrongly) together with the island of Marajo which was not discovered to 1543. The Falkland Islands discovered in 1592 also appear.

It shows an island in the Atlantic which does not exist today but where isolated rocks are now found. So, was the map based on a source drawn when sea level was different and more land was above water.

In 1487 the "portelano" of lehudi Ibn Ben Zara was drawn covering Europe and North Africa. It seems to show glaciers as far south as the latitude of England and the Mediterranean as it would appear if sea levels were different due to the ice.

Another map was compiled in 1559 by Turk Hadji Ahmed. This shows Alaska and Siberia joined by land almost 100 miles wide. Again this shows conditions which existed prior to the end of the last Ice Age.

Claudius Ptolemy's "Map of the North" shows Sweden covered with remnant glaciers that would reflect conditions that existed about 10,000 BCE. This map, which was lost until the 15th century, was drawn by the custodian of the Library at Alexandria. He probably had access to many ancient documents and maps lost when the library was destroyed.

These maps seem to be evidence of an ancient civilisation capable of exploring and mapping the ancient world.

Today Antarctica is covered in ice and it was only in the late 1940's, when a seismic survey was conducted, that we got a "picture" of the land mass underneath. Why therefore are there earlier maps showing it's true shape.

Piri Reis Map

In earlier times it was up to mariners to make their own maps and the usual practice was to copy one made by someone who had visited the place before you.

Perhaps the most well known of these Antarctic maps is the one drawn by Turkish Admiral Piri Reis in the 14th Century which shows an ice free Antarctica with inhabited areas

Another of these maps is the one drawn in 1531 by Oronteus Finaeus. Many features on this one such as the outline of the continent, the location of mountain ranges and the position of the South Pole closely match modern discoveries. However the coastal areas show rivers flowing from the mountains into the sea, although the interior shows none. This includes the area of the Ross Sea which today is a mile thick ice sheet. From this it is concluded that Oronteus copied maps (which themselves may have been copies of earlier ones) which were drawn by sailors who visited the continent in prehistoric times when the coast was ice free although the interior may have been glaciated. Bearing in mind the conditions in Greenland when the Vikings first visited such conditions would have been habitable. However for these conditions to exist the map must have been drawn during the last ice free period which came to an end about 4000 BCE and hence we have transoceanic voyages back so far that it must have been an earlier lost civilisation.

Is there any other evidence other than seismic surveys confirming the outline etc.?

Well in 1949 core samples of the sea bed under the Ross Sea were taken and while some layers show sediments associated with glacial climates other layers how sediments consistent with those brought down by rivers in temperate climates. A radioactive dating method on these sediments and the layer thickness showed that warm conditions had prevailed for a long period until 6000 BCE. After that glacial sediment started to appear until 4000 BCE consistent with glaciers starting to cover the continent just as the 1531 map shows


Gerard Kremer, better known as Mercator who developed the system we still use today to project the surface of the round globe on to a flat sheet of paper, in 1569 produced an atlas including maps of Antarctica which showed even more recognisable features. He spent many years researching and with additional features presumably had access to other ancient source maps.

In 1737 Philippe Buache published a map presumably based on even earlier sources as it shows the centre of the continent without ice and is the first to depict it as two islands with a water channel between which we now know would be the case if all the ice were to melt. The last time this condition is thought to have exited is about 13000 BCE

We are left therefore to decide whether there was an advanced civilisation 15000 years ago. It is disappointing that with "copies" being drawn as late as 1797 we are unable to trace the source maps today, however we undoubtedly have fairly accurate maps of something that could not possibly have been discovered physically at the time and I therefore think that this is true evidence to support the early civilisation theories.

There are also other ancient maps.

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