Dr David Whitehouse comes face to face with what is claimed to
be the oldest map of the Moon ever made:
Several times, I think I am stuck as I try to squeeze through a
narrow triangular-shaped crack in the rock. Just ahead of me is
Professor George Eogan of the National University of Ireland.
Together, we edge towards the heart of this ancient Neolithic
burial mound. He has been this way many times before to uncover the
mysteries at Knowth in Ireland.
The complex in County Meath was constructed in around 3000 BC
and is the largest and most remarkable ancient monument in Ireland.
Although nearby Newgrange is more famous, Knowth has turned out to
be an astonishing treasure trove of stone engravings and artefacts.
Knowth has the largest collection of megalithic art in Europe,
strange circular and spiral patterns that many believe to be lunar
The mound has two passages, one facing east and one facing west.
They are the longest cairn passages in Europe and, as I am finding
out, difficult to crawl through.
Eventually, the narrow passage opens into the very heart of this
vast ancient burial mound - a tall, central chamber. I am about to
come face to face with one of Knowth's most intriguing mysteries: a
map of the Moon ten times older than anything known before - at
least that is the claim.