Dr Philip Stooke, of the University of Western Ontario, Canada always wondered why there
was no map or drawing of the Moon older than the one drawn by Leonardo di Vinci in about
1505. So he began looking in old manuscripts and history books as well as in the records
of excavations of the Neolithic sites on the British Isles - and he thinks he found one.
Carved into a rock in one of Ireland's most remarkable prehistoric tombs at Knowth, County
Meath, is a set of lines and dots, estimated to be about 5,000 years old. That's pretty much
all anyone thought about it, until Dr. Stooke looked at them with his mind's eye Moon
"I was amazed when I saw it. Place the markings over a picture of the full Moon and you will
see that they line up. It is without doubt a map of the Moon, the most ancient one ever
found," said Dr Stooke.
"It's all there in the carving. You can see the overall pattern of the lunar features, from
features such as Mare Humorun through to Mare Crisium."
"The people who carved this Moon map were the first scientists," said Dr Stooke. "They
knew a great deal about the motion of the Moon. They were not primitive at all."
Investigations at Knowth almost 20 years ago showed that at certain times moonlight could
shine down the eastern passage of the tomb. The moonlight would also fall on the Neolithic
lunar map itself, much as a ray of sun will slant into the Egyptian tombs on an exact day of
each year. Dr. Stooke says that to him, it was obviously built by men who had a
sophisticated understanding of the motions of the Sun, Moon and stars.
There is no circular outline of the moon added to the carving, Dr Stooke believes, because
it may have been drawn on the rock with chalk or with colored paint.
The original markings