Moonstruck Druids

Sunday, August 01, 1999
RELATED TAGS: ARCHAEOLOGY
When leonardo da vinci drew a map of the moon 500 years ago, he thought he was the first to do so, and until now so did everyone else. But Philip Stooke believes a series of wall carvings in a tomb just north of Dublin are the work of an eagle-eyed artist who beat Leonardo by about 4,300 years.

Based on research by Philip Stooke"It just didn't seem likely that da Vinci was the first person who ever tried making a picture of the moon," says Stooke, a planetary scientist at the University of Western Ontario. While plowing through libraries of cave paintings and ancient art, he came across peculiar carvings in the walls of the Knowth tomb, a stone monument left by the mysterious culture that built Stonehenge. He immediately noticed that the arcs and circular shapes closely corresponded to the dark markings on the moon.

"These people were fascinated by astronomical things," says Stooke. "In fact, the whole shape of Stonehenge--a circle with a horseshoe inside--might represent the moon."
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