What was claimed in 2001 to be the oldest map of
the moon ever made is reached via a narrow triangular-shaped crack
in the rock of an ancient Neolithic burial mound at Knowth in County
Dr David Whitehouse visited the site in that year,
along with Professor George Eogan of the National University of
Ireland. Together they edged towards the heart of the burial mound,
although Professor Eogan had already been this way many times before
to uncover the mound's mysteries.
The complex was constructed around 3000 BC and
is the largest and most remarkable ancient monument in Ireland.
Although nearby Newgrange is more famous, Knowth turned out to
be an astonishing treasure trove of stone engravings and artefacts.
It also has the largest collection of megalithic art in Europe,
consisting of strange circular and spiral patterns that many believe
to be lunar symbols.
The mound has two passages, one facing east and
one facing west. They are the longest cairn passages in Europe and
are somewhat difficult to crawl through.
Eventually, the narrow passage opens into the
very heart of this vast ancient burial mound - a tall, central
chamber. In there is one of Knowth's most intriguing mysteries:
a map of the moon ten times older than anything known before -
at least that was the claim when it was first discovered.