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Conference notes.

Two very interesting symposia were held in June 2016 on mapping and cartographic history.

The first was the Third Symposium of the International Society for the History of the Map (ISHMap) on "Encounters and Translations: Mapping and Writing the Waters of the World" held 3-4 June 2016 in Lisbon at the Biblioteca Nacional de Portugal (National Library of Portugal). It brought together some 50 participants, including senior international authorities in the field as well as younger researchers and doctoral students (who accounted for about half of the total presentations), demonstrating the growing interest among a new generation of scholars in the history of mapping and cartography. The Bibiloteca Nacional de Portugal made it possible for the participants to see a selection of cartographic treasures in the exhibition "Mapping the Oceans: the Portuguese Contribution".

Henrique Leitao of the Interuniversitary Center for the History of Science and Technology (CIUHCT, based at Lisbon University) gave the introductory keynote emphasizing the commonalty and useful cross-fertilisation between the history of maps and cartography and the history of science in their cultural, social and scientific contexts. Many other presentations contributed accounts of little known or unknown artefacts, for example the MS chart of isogonic lines c.1585 by Luis Texeira, and often provided new interpretations of their production and contexts. Other interesting contributions included, for example, the examination of coastal profiles 1585-1815 by Wouter de Vries (Amsterdam) or the examination of the work of Jesuit mathematicians along the Brazilian coastline in the 1730s by Luis A.M. Tirapicos (CIUHCT, Lisbon), or the Vallard or Gandille atlas 1547 by Nicolas Medevielle (East Carolina University). The symposium ended with a keynote by Zsolt Torok (Budapest) on the innovatory work of Luigi Ferdinando Marsigli (1658-1730) especially in respect of the Danube River. All the abstracts of the symposium are available on the ISHMap home page:

The second symposium was the First International Workshop on the Origin and Evolution of Portolan Charts ( held 6-7 June 2016 at the Navy Museum in Lisbon, Portugal, organised by the Interuniversity Centre for the History of Science and Technology ( This brought together leading international experts in the field with presentations that highlighted the use of new mathematical modelling, laboratory analysis and radiocarbon dating techniques in the study of Portolan charts raising questions about currently accepted theories, generating a lot of debates and lively discussions.

Chandra Jayasuriya

University of Melbourne

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Author:Jayasuriya, Chandra
Publication:The Globe
Article Type:Conference notes
Date:Jul 1, 2016
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