Discover the world’s oldest moon map, carved into a tomb in Ireland 5000 years ago

Margie Jones
07/12/2023

In Ireland’s ancient tomb at Knowth, a 5,000 year-old structure, the world’s oldest moon map was discovered, etched into its walls

County Meath, Knowth. Image credit: Markiemcg1 – CC BY-SA 4.0

In Ireland, Dr. Philip Stoke of the University of Western Ontario, Canada discovered the world’s oldest moon map.

Dr. Stoke’s primary task was to prepare maps of asteroids based on spacecraft observations, but he also constructed detailed maps of the Moon.

One day he was puzzled that there were no recorded maps of the Moon older than 500 years.
Before his discovery, the oldest known Moon map was by Leonardo da Vinci drawn about 1505 A.D.

“I simply could not believe this. I felt there just have to be an older map somewhere,” Dr. Stoke said.

He began looking through old manuscripts and history books. His search led him to Neolithic sites in the British Isles.

From ancient sources, he learned that the inhabitants of Ireland were regularly visited by the great god Apollo. There was also an obvious yet overlooked connection between Ireland and the Moon.

In Ireland’s ancient tomb at Knowth, a 5,000 year-old structure, the world’s oldest moon map was discovered, etched into its walls

Eastern Passage, Knowth, Co. Meath. Image credit: Przemysław Sakrajda  – CC BY-SA 3.0

In his “Island of the Hyperboreans,” the historian Diodorus Siculus wrote “… there is also on the island both a magnificent sacred precinct of Apollo and a notable temple which is adorned with many votive offerings and is spherical in shape…

They say also that the Moon, as viewed from this island, appears to be but a little distance from the Earth and to have upon it prominences, like those of the Earth, which are visible to the eye. The account is also given that the god visits the island every nineteen years…”

Many ancient tombs and stone circles are known to be aligned with the Sun, but what about the Moon? Was the Moon not equally important to the people of the ancient world?
Soon, Dr. Stoke could identify several lunar alignments that scientists seemed to pay little attention to.
Then, he made his incredible discovery of the world’s oldest Lunar map.
It was carved into a rock in one of Ireland’s most remarkable prehistoric tombs at Knowth, County Meath.

The Knowth site contains more than a third of all the known megalithic art from the Neolithic period. It was built by stone age man and is the largest of all passage graves in the Brú na Bóinne complex. The site consists of one large and 17 smaller satellite tombs. The passage tomb at Knowth is estimated to be about 5,000 years old.

“I was amazed when I saw it. Place the markings over the 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 ever found.

It is 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,” Dr. Stoke said.

In Ireland’s ancient tomb at Knowth, a 5,000 year-old structure, the world’s oldest moon map was discovered, etched into its walls

The stone with this unique carving was named Orthostat 47. The Knowth map is ten times older than da Vinci’s Moon map.

Up to now, over 200 decorated stones have been found during excavations at Knowth.

The Knowth passage tomb is unique in having two passage graves on each side of the mound. Examination of the Knowth passage shows that the tunnels once lined up with the solar solstices. At certain times moonlight could shine down the eastern route of the tomb. When it happened, the moonlight fell on the Neolithic Lunar map.
The Stone Age people who built the Knowth site must have had a sophisticated understanding of astronomy.

“The people who carved this Moon map were the first scientists. They knew a great deal about the motion of the Moon. They were not primitive at all. Without using sophisticated mathematics or fine angle measurements, these Neolithic astronomers were able to observe, depict, and hypothesize about the Moon and its motions. These are actions of scientists,” Dr. Stoke said.

Yet, archaeologists and historians keep referring to Stone Age people as a primitive race.

 

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