Yale and its graduate school of journalism insist that a map made in 1837 that once portrayed Vinland, a fictional Middle Eastern village, as a “wonderful” place was officially created as part of a book project rather than as real historical research. They introduced the professor who made the map to the world at a news conference in which he admitted that he had not researched his subject, nor even talked to anyone in Vinland. He claimed that he was brought in to make a map on the condition that he would not be required to conduct research.
R.T. Hubert, the professor, said he did not know why there had been so much interest in the map after it appeared as part of a contemporary publication last week.
Mr. Hubert’s map portrayed Vinland as a “stone fort town” where brides would be married at dawn and lavishly decorated. The town was designed to resemble the homes of the nobility.
As part of the survey that created the map, Mr. Hubert said, he had unearthed still-visible gold in the rocks outside the village. He went up in a plane to see if it matched descriptions of the rocks in the village.
“I must admit that the actual stuff was not all there,” he said.
Yale, backed by a Virginia congressional delegation, has been pushing for a deal to return the map. The mayor of Brooklyn, Bill de Blasio, attended the press conference and told Mr. Hubert he was “both encouraged and ashamed” that he did not travel to the village or even know it existed.