Ancient Near East Maps

A Survey of Websites Dedicated to the Digital Preservation of Old Maps

1849 Map of Asia Minor
High resolution scan of an 1849 map of Asia Minor, from the Perry Castaneda Library. Perry-Castañeda Library, University of Texas Libraries

Maps of the ancient Near East that can be used for personal research, for classroom or lecture use, or for publication on your website can be found on the Internet, it just takes a little digging. The websites listed below are portals for what are in some cases decades of research by dedicated scholars, some based in universities, some independent scholars. You'll find an index and a few examples of the maps available on each website listed here.

Note that terms of use are also listed in the descriptions for each site, but also know that these can change with little notice, so if you plan to use the maps on a website, be sure to contact the editors first to make sure you won't be in copyright violation.

The University of Texas at Austin: Perry-Castañeda Library

The Perry-Castañeda Library is based at the University of Texas at Austin, and truly the best of the bunch. UTA's PCL Map collections include high-resolution scans of historical atlases from all over the world. 

Terms of Usage: Most of the maps are in the public domain, and no permissions are needed to copy them, no matter where you are using them. They would appreciate credit (and a small donation) to "University of Texas Libraries" as the source of the scanned images.

    David Rumsey Map Collection

    David Rumsey has collected over 85,000 geo-referenced maps over the past thirty and more years, focused on very high-resolution scans of rare 16th- through 21st-century maps of the world. They are astonishing in their detail and resolution. Middle Eastern maps are in the Asia collection, with a specialized Luna viewer to assist in the creation of slideshows suitable for classroom use.

    Terms of Usage: Images may be reproduced or transmitted under a Creative Commons license that allows education and personal use, but not commercial use. For commercial use, contact the editors.

    The Mapping History Project

    The Mapping History Project at the University of Oregon has developed a set of interactive and animated maps of fundamental history problems that require Shockwave, as well as straight downloadable images.

    English and German versions.

    Usage Terms: Contact the editors for academic and commercial use.

    Oriental Institute: Center for Middle Eastern Studies (CMES)

    The OI'sCenter for Middle Eastern Studies (CMES) has made pdf versions of maps of the Islamic World available on its website.

    Terms of Use: The terms are not specifically identified with regard to the maps, but there is a contact page that you should use before publishing these maps elsewhere.

    Oriental Institute: CAMEL

    The Center for Ancient Middle Eastern Landscapes (CAMEL) project at the University of Chicago's Oriental Institute has a vast collection of maps and other images from the Near East, but only a handful of the maps are currently online.

    Terms of Use: Publication, distribution, exhibition, or reproduction is prohibited without prior written permission.

    My Old Maps

    Independent scholar Jim Siebold has been collecting and scanning old maps and writing detailed monographs about them since the turn of the 21st century, under a range of different websites beginning with the Henry Davis Consulting Firm. His most current and up-to-date version of the ongoing project is the My Old Maps website.

    Terms of Use: Low-resolution images may be downloaded and used with accreditations; high-resolution images are available for free from Siebold on request.

    HyperHistory Online

    HyperHistory Online is a long-term project by architect and independent scholar Andreas Nothiger, whose main claim to fame is a huge History Chart that begins with the Old Testament prophets of David and Solomon and ends with World War II. He has a substantial collection of maps, drawn for his project.

    Terms of Use: Not listed on the website, but an email contact is provided.

    Bible Maps

    Bible Maps is a Canadian website that has loads of maps, constructed on the basis that the Bible is literal fact, pure and simple; chronologies are based on strict biblical interpretations.

    Terms of Use: Free to look at, print, and share in churches and schools, but not permitted to sell or post on line. Details on use and construction are listed on the home page.

    Al Mishraq: The Levant

    Al Mishraq is a Norwegian site dedicated to the history and archaeology of the Levant region of western Asia. The site has a handful of interesting maps, but they are spotty in quality.

    Terms of Use: Not provided on the site, but an email address is provided on the homepage.