The Sky Disc of Nebra (Saxony-Anhalt) is one of the most important archaeological finds of the past century. The bronze disc with gold leaf inlays bears the world's earliest known concrete representation of the cosmos, making it a crucial discovery not only in archaeological terms, but for the fields of astronomy and the history of religion as well.
The Sky Disc was laid down 3,600 years ago together with two valuable daggers, two axes, two spiral bracelets and a chisel atop the Mittelberg hill near Nebra. It is just one of numerous surviving archaeological hoards from a network of sites that spanned all of Bronze Age Europe.
The imagery of the Sky Disc shows the full moon or sun, the crescent moon and the Pleiades against a symbolic depiction of the night sky. In later phases of the object's life, two arcs indicating the yearly course of the sun along the horizon were added, along with a sun barque. These features carry a variety of information. The endpoints of the horizon arcs correspond with the winter and summer solstices while the Pleiades, in relation to the sun and full moon, signal important sowing and harvest dates in the agricultural calendar.
The burial of the Sky Disc of Nebra also marks the end of the Early Bronze Age, which was characterised by elaborate tombs, Europe-wide trade relationships and societal upheavals. One of the most important centres of this epoch was located in today's Central Germany, whose unusually rich soils and plentiful salt deposits ensured the region's prominent role in prehistoric Europe.
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The World View Behind the Sky Disc
An Astronomical Clock