The Other World’s Oldest Map

Never mind the Soleto Map: pottery doesn’t count as maps, apparently. The City of Turin (Torino), as part of its celebrations related to next month’s Winter Olympics, will have on display the first-century-BC Papyrus of Artemidorus, which, while several centuries younger than the Soleto Map, is, it’s argued, the real world’s oldest map. Because it’s more like a real modern map — it’s on paper, for one thing. (Let’s debate this in the comments.)

From the ANSA article:

The parchment, which is over 2.5 m long and 32.5 cm wide, was found by chance at the end of the 20th century. Its importance has been compared to that of the Dead Sea Scrolls. It features the account of a trip to Spain of a previously obscure Greek geographer, Artemidorus of Ephesus, and the map, which is unfinished and impossible to relate to any particular region.
But what counts is that it shows roads, rivers and settlements in an attempt to depict realistic spatial arrangements; something which makes it the first example of the kind of map used today.
Older “maps” have been found — like the scratched-on-ceramic Soleto Map, which shows towns in the southern Italian region of Apulia and dates back to the 5th century BC — but they do not have the characteristics we would associate with a modern topological map.

The Papyrus will be on display in Turin between February 8 and May 7 at the Palazzo Bricherasio.

See previous entry: The Western World’s Oldest Map.