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Location: UFOUpDatesList.Com > 1999 > Apr > Apr 22

BBC: Prehistoric Moon Map Unearthed

From: Steven J. Dunn <SDunn@logicon.com>
Date: Thu, 22 Apr 1999 10:06:28 -0700
Fwd Date: Thu, 22 Apr 1999 17:37:41 -0400
Subject: BBC: Prehistoric Moon Map Unearthed

Source: http://news.bbc.co.uk/hi/english/sci/tech/newsid_325000/325290.stm

Prehistoric Moon map unearthed

Original Publication Date 1999/04/22 04:07:21

By BBC News Online Science Editor Dr David Whitehouse

A map of the Moon 10 times older than anything known before has
been found carved into stone at one of Ireland's most ancient
and mysterious Neolithic sites.

It has been identified by Dr Philip Stooke of the University of
Western Ontario in Canada. He spends most of his time preparing
maps of asteroids based on spacecraft observations, but he has
also prepared detailed maps of the Moon.

What puzzled him greatly was that there was no recorded map of
the moon older than about 500 years. "I simply could not believe
this," he told BBC News Online. "I felt there just had to be an
older map somewhere."

Prehistoric tombs

So he began looking in old manuscripts and history books as well
as the records of excavations of the Neolithic sites of the
British Isles.

Then he found one. It took the eye of an expert to see it for
what it was. It was carved into a rock in one of Ireland's most
remarkable prehistoric tombs at Knowth, County Meath.

"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."

Before this discovery, the oldest map of the Moon was by
Leonardo da Vinci, drawn about 1505. The Knowth map is 10 times

Knowth is already a major focus of research into understanding
prehistoric man. Now it will become one of the most important
scientific sites in the world.

"The people who carved this moon map were the first scientists,"
says Dr Stooke. "They knew a great deal about the motion of the
moon. They were not primitive at all."

The passage tomb at Knowth is estimated to be about 5,000 years
old. It was obviously built by men who had a sophisticated
understanding of the motions of the Sun, Moon and stars. It is
known that many stone circles and ancient tombs are aligned with
the Sun but less attention has been paid to possible lunar
alignments. This is despite the fact that at certain times the
Moon can rise or set at any location on the horizon that the Sun

Series of arcs

Investigations at Knowth almost 20 years ago showed that at
certain times moonlight could shine down the eastern passage of
the tomb.

Remarkably, the moonlight would also fall on the Neolithic lunar

During excavations, the stone in question was named Orthostat
47. Its right-hand section contains a series of arcs.

The circular limb of the moon is not included in the carving. Dr
Stooke believes that it may have been drawn on the rock with
chalk or with coloured paint.

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