Region of Italy Mapped on Ancient Pottery

From Times Staff and Wire Reports

French archeologists have found the oldest known map showing locations in the Western world: a pottery fragment dating from about 500 BC that shows Apulia, the heel of Italy’s boot.

The 13 towns of the map are located by points, as on maps today. The place names are inscribed in Greek, but other text is in a local tongue called Messapian. Many of the towns on the map still exist, including Otranto, Soleto and Leuca (now called Santa Maria di Leuca). The map is the first physical evidence that the Greeks drew maps before the Romans did. The Chinese made maps at an earlier date.