Discovered in 1957 and hailed as the earliest map of the New World, the Vinland Map
charted Norse exploration of the Americas long before Christopher Columbus. After decades of controversy, however, an amateur historian may finally have demonstrated that it is a clever hoax: the map occupies a sheet of parchment that was relatively unremarkable 120 years ago
. [Sunday Times, paywalled]
Though the parchment is a genuine 15th-century relic, Glaswegian researcher John Paul Floyd says it was displayed at an 1892 event, celebrating Columbus's discoveries, without any contemporaneous reference made to the map now drawn upon it.
After it was brought to public attention in the 1960s—complete with an outline of the Canadian coastline—experts dated the map to the mid-15th century, placing it a good 50 years before the Santa Mariá's 1492 journey. But it was always controversial, thanks to its sudden appearance in the historical record.
Floyd also found that the parchment was included in a 1926 event, again without any mention of the remarkable map of the Americas that it now contains. He believes that it was stolen at some point between then and the late 1950s, the map forged, and ultimately bound to the other medieval documents where it would be discovered. He believes that the Vinland map also includes characteristics found in an 18th-century reproduction of a 1463 world map: more evidence that it's a fake.
The British Library's head of cartographical and topographical materials says that the scientific community is taking Floyd's report seriously: "Sometimes it takes an outsider to see the obvious," he told The Sunday Times.
• Gallery: Digitizing the past and present at the Library of Congress
• A Native American woman in Iceland
After years of speculation and wrangling over his remains, Kennewick Man turns out to be closely related to contemporary, local Native Americans after all. Discovered near Kennewick, Wash., in 1996, the skeleton ended up in a tug of war between tribes in the pacific northwest who wanted to bury the remains, and scientists who wanted […]
Our solar system is awesome.
The European Organization for Nuclear Research, or CERN, has been releasing portions of its research to the public for years. This week’s massive 300 terabyte dump of Large Hadron Collider (LHC) data is the biggest yet by a long shot — and it’s all out there, open source, free for the exploration.
You never know when new projects, ideas or opportunities can drop into your lap at a moment’s notice. That may require you to learn a new programming language like Python. Or maybe you need a primer on 3D game development. Or you might realize you could use a serious brush-up on iOS mobile creation.Point is, […]
Isn’t it about time to stretch what your Mac can do? I mean, you’ve got plenty of great programs now…but don’t you think you could use some new tools to get your creative, analytical and organizational juices really flowing? It’s spring, so we cleaned up a whole bunch of super-cool apps lying around and packaged […]
In the world of app development, there’s no greater arena to find success than with Android users. About 80% of the smartphones in use today worldwide operate on the Android operating system, so if you build a great app that Android users love, you’re an international rock star. You’ll be able to make sure your […]