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Cartographic maps of ancient East

Cartographic maps are also found in slave holding ancient societies, in the peoples of ancient East, inhabited in the valleys of the Tigris and Euphrates rivers, as well as in Egypt. In those countries people were occupied with irrigation farming, which required the erection of a vast system of irrigation and drainage facilities: canals, dams, reservoirs, thus forming population overcrowded and caused high demand in available for farming land. In these circumstances (in the construction of irrigation facilities, setting boundaries of allotments, calculating land tax) occurred the necessity in area description. As testify found documents, such descriptions were sometimes represented in the form of map images. Building of large cities with fortresses, temples and palaces demanded making their plans. In addition to drawings of small cites, some primitive maps of discovered at that time world saved until present. Trade links and exchanges with foreign countries and numerous trip conquests contributed to extension of geographical horizon, fostered and encouraged consolidation of gained knowledge.

Maps found in Babylonia and Mesapotamia

Relatively a lot of finds were discovered during excavations in Babylonia and other countries of Mesopotamia, where clay tiles or tablets served as a material for writing, and acquired incomparable durability after backing.

The oldest finds, dating back to 2400-2200 BC, with a schematic picture of Mesopotamia represent the river, flowing along the valley, between two mountain countries; before emptying into the sea, the river forms a delta, the situation of the countries is indicated by means of circles.

Among engineering maps saved a piece plate with plan Nippura city in Mesopotamia, which represents the walls and gates of the city, the most important buildings, canals and other facilities.

There are also isolated images, reproducing speculative presentation of ancient people about structure and boundaries of the world. Among them there is a Babylonian tablet of 5 century BC, accompanied by the text. It depicts the Earth as a flat circle, washed by Ocean, named “Bitter River”. Mountains, which descend to the river Euphrates, are situated in the north. Gulf (Persian) extends deep into the land. Babylon is placed in the center of the Earth. Assyria is represented to the north-east of Babylon, in the north adjoining with the country Urartu. In addition to Babylon several other cities are also indicated on the map by oval mark. Behind the Ocean lie seven islands, symbolizing the unknown world. The concept of the world in the form of disk, surrounded by ocean, with the public or religious center of the country, was widespread and even appeared on maps of the early Middle Ages.

Maps found in Egypt

Papyrus, which was used for writing by Egyptians, was less durable in comparison with clay tablets. Therefore, the number of Egyptian maps saved till present is not big. Among the surviving maps on papyrus, especial interest represents the plan of gold mines in the Eastern Desert of Pharaoh Ramses II (about 1250 BC). The plan combined planned representation with shape mountain drawing - technique to some degree preserved until the XVIII century.