The Oxford Outremer map was probably made or copied by an English monk named Matthew Paris, a famous chronicler and mapmaker who died in 1259. While Matthew Paris is well known to medieval scholars, this map is less well known.
If you look at the original image, you can probably tell why this is the case. The map was drawn on the back of a sheet of parchment that had already been used for two elaborate paintings. The colors have bled through and make it difficult to see Matthew’s drawings and the labels and notes he wrote to accompany them.
Our current project is the result of collaboration between faculty, graduate students and the visiting fellows at the Center for Medieval Studies. Our goal was to produce a clearer image of the artwork that is easier to read and study. Along the way, we gathered a database of information about the places on the map. You can consult the enhanced image together with all of our data at the interactive map. You can download our database here.
We have also prepared some essays introducing the map and explaining how we approached the different kinds of spatial information recorded in the map. Finally, we prepared an essay and made a video about our process for enhancing the map.
We hope to encourage scholars of different disciplines and backgrounds to bring their expertise to bear on the map and especially its mysteries. If you have suggestions or comments regarding our project, we invite you to send them to us.