October 20, 2009

"Secret Maps of the Ancient World"

Speaker: Charlotte Harris Rees

7–8:30 pm, Tuesday, October 20, 2009
Room 2945, SFU at Harbour Centre *please note new room number
515 West Hastings Street, Vancouver V6B 5K3

In 1972, Dr. Hendon M. Harris Jr., a third generation missionary born in Kaifeng China, was browsing in an antique shop in Korea when he came across an very old cartography book comprised of wood block-printed maps outlining ancient settlements in Korean. When he flipped through the pages, there was a map of the world. This map was Chinese. The Korean name for that type map is Ch’onhado meaning “Chinese map.” This map of the world not only documented known major land masses such as Asia, India, Africa Australia and Europe - many by their ancient names - also included both the continents of North and South America. Most shocking was that this map showed words describing China’s fabled Fu Sang written in an area on what is now called North America.

Prior to his death in 1981, Harris had collected 7 of these map books and found 23 other similar maps of this style in prestigious museums and collections around the world. The oldest of the Harris maps are believed to be from the Ming dynasty but the world map in each edition is now thought to have descended from a much earlier Chinese map.

In 2003, Charlotte Harris Rees, together with her brother, Hendon III, took the Harris Map Collection to Dr. John Hebert, Chief of Geography and Maps at the Library of Congress. The maps were there for three years while they were studied. Charlotte Harris Rees, initially a skeptic, published Secret Maps of the Ancient World in 2008. Endorsed by Dr. Hwa-Wei Lee, retired Chief of the Asian division of the Library of Congress, her extensive research puts forward a compelling case that ancient mapmakers from Asia came to the Americas and documented the terrain of the New World long before the arrival of Columbus.

On Tuesday, October 20, 7 to 8:30pm, Room 1600 in Simon Fraser University’s Downtown Harbour Centre, Charlotte Harris Rees will give a power point presentation of Secret Maps of the Ancient World. This will include a brief discussion of her visits to sites in North America where ancient Chinese are believed to have visited.