The Nebra Sky Disc - Ancient Map of the Stars
The mysterious disc pictured below was discovered in 1999 by treasure hunters using a metal detector at a prehistoric enclosure encircli...
Unfortunately the treasure hunters caused considerable damage to the disc during its crude removal from the ground, which included splintering its outer rim, losing one of the stars, and chipping off a large piece.
Many researchers believe it is the oldest known realistic representation of the cosmos yet found, perhaps a kind of astronomical calculational tool to determine planting and harvest times. used as an advanced astronomical clock.
For thousands of years all across northern Europe, monuments were aligned to mark the summer and winter solstices, Stonehenge in Wiltshire, England, and Newgrange in Ireland, being good examples.
Some researchers have pointed to the presence of the Pleiades star cluster on the disc as further evidence of Bronze Age astronomical knowledge.
Although nowadays there are only six stars in the Pleiades visible to the naked eye, in the Bronze Age one of the group stars may have been much brighter, thus accounting not only for the depiction of seven stars on the disc, but also for the ancient Greek name for the cluster – the ‘Seven Sisters’.
The Pleiades was an important constellation for many ancient civilisations, including those of Mesopotamiaand Greece. The constellation would have appeared in their skies in the autumn, showing that it was time to start bringing in the harvest, and disappeared in the spring, indicating the time for planting crops.
This evidence for the importance of the disc in connection with prehistoric agriculture may mean that the (third) golden arc underneath the crescent moon and golden disc in fact represents a sickle.
The latest examinations of the disc, by a group of German scholars, came to the conclusion that it was indeed genuine, and had functioned as a complex astronomical clock for the synchronization of solar and lunar calendars.
The Nebra Sky Disc is the earliest known guide to the heavens yet discovered, and certainly, along with the Goseck site, the first examples of detailed astronomical knowledge in Europe.
But perhaps that is not the end of the story. Wolfhard Schlosser believes, intriguingly, that the disc, currently valued at $11.2 million, was one of a pair, and that the other is still out there waiting to be found, somewhere at the Nebra site.
THE NEBRA SKY DISC - Ancient European Map of... by AveEuropa