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Ask mapman[TM].

Long before people could read or write, they painted maps on cave walls. Indeed, the impulse to represent spatial relationships visually--in maps--predates all written language systems.

The earliest examples of picture maps were created toward the end of the Paleolithic period, or prehistory (which began about 2.5 million years ago and lasted until 6000 B.C.). Back then, people lived closer to nature and depended upon hunting and gathering for their food. Several surviving maps from that era show the location of hunting grounds, neighboring tribes, and living quarters.

One inquiring reader wants to go back in time when people on the move left their mark on the wall.

Justin W., of New York City, wants to know about prehistoric maps.

Q: How old are maps?

A: According to historians of cartography (mapmaking), the first datable picture map is a six-foot-wide wall painting (above) from about 6200 B.C.


It was discovered at Catalhuyuk (chah-tahl-hoo-YOOK), an archaeological site near Konya, Turkey. Because the rectangular mud-brick houses found at the site match those on the painting, experts believe it is the map of a Stone Age settlement--probably Catalhuyuk itself.
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Author:McMahon, Jim
Publication:Junior Scholastic
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Mar 22, 2004
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