Mercator’s Map of Cologne

open the Mercator-Browser

The funding by the Archaeological Society Cologne, permitted the digitalization and contextualization of Mercator's Map of Cologne as one aspect of the project “Antiquitates Coloniae” under the leadership of Prof. Dr. Dietrich Boschung. From these resources, the programming of a browser – basing on datasets related to objects and the collections' background of the antiques in the data base of Arachne – for centralizing and visualizing them has been financed. The depictions of antiques framing the map are defined as clickable “hotspots” leading to the real objects' appropriate datasets and their background information.

Mercator’s Map of the city of Cologne - realized in 1571 – firstly offered a possibility to gain an insight into the cityscape of 16th century Cologne and to localize the depicted buildings using georeferencing. The pictured objects - mostly antique – and the associated catalogue-like annotations made by Mercator let the map serve as a very important source to assign the still existing antiques to their contexts of provenience and collections on one hand, on the other hand to study the lost objects in detail.

Both the still existing and the missing antiques have been classified in datasets whose contents base on the researches by comparative analysis of P. Noelke, H. Gregarek, B. und. H. Galsterer (inscriptions) und J. Klinkenberg. Referring to the history of the particular collections, I. Kirgus provided an informative basis.

To gain information about the lost objects as well as to detect potential mistakes in Mercator's engravings, the next step provided to consult a further contemporary reference. It is Stephan Broelman's “Epideigma” (1608). Many objects are congruent with those Mercator depicted, some are different. All of them are presented in a museum-like atmosphere. The corresponding antiques have been compared with each other and – as far as possible – with the real objects as well for gaining information of the contemporary perspective on antiques, but primarily to get a precise idea of the lost objects' appearances.

The results of the comparison are shown in new datasets concerning Broelman's reproductions and linked to Mercator's equivalences.

The project included the design and development of the Mercator Browser that allows a faster access to the datasets and their linkings, offers introducing information about the item by clicking and provides a better visualization of the reproductions' collectivity.