Nebra Sky Disc: British Museum Set To Exhibit World’s ‘Oldest Map Of Stars’

The Nebra Sky Disc belongs to a museum in Halle, Germany

The Nebra Sky Disc belongs to a museum in Halle, Germany

An earliest object thought to be the world’s oldest map of the stars is to go on exhibition at the British Museum.

The Nebra Sky Disc is widely trusted to be 3,600 years old, dating from the Bronze Age.

The bronze disc was excavated in Germany in 1999 and is been thought about carefully as one of the most important archaeological finds of the 20th Century.

But its finding has also been disputed, with a small number of scholars contending its legitimacy.

The Nebra disc take the measurements of about 30cm in diameter and has a blue-green patina emblazoned with gold symbols regarded as the Sun, Moon, stars, solstices and other cosmic phenomena.

As claimed by Unesco, which includes the artifact on its global list of significant historic documents, the disc gives a very special glimpse into humanity’s early understanding of the heavens.

It belongs to Germany’s State Museum of Prehistory in Halle yet is being lend to the British Museum – the first time it has been loaned abroad in 15 years.

The British Museum said it would go on display as part of an demonstration on Stonehenge, opening in February.

“It’s going to be eye-opening,” said Neil Wilkin, curator of The World Of Stonehenge exhibition.

The sky disc was found at a hilltop near Nebra in Germany

“The Nebra Sky Disc and the sun pendant are two of the most remarkable surviving objects from Bronze Age Europe,” he said.

“Both have only recently been unearthed, literally, after remaining hidden in the ground for over three millennia.

“We’re delighted that they will both be key pieces in our once-in-a-lifetime Stonehenge exhibition at the British Museum.

“While both were found hundreds of miles from Stonehenge, we’ll be using them to shine a light on the vast interconnected world that existed around the ancient monument, spanning Britain, Ireland and mainland Europe.”

The initial motive of Stonehenge remains a puzzle, yet the stone circle built in about 2,500 BC is line up with the movements of the Sun.

The Sun and its solstices are equally represented with markings on the Nebra disc – and specialist believe the Sun was central to northern European Bronze Age religion.

Archaeologist and Bronze Age specialist Prof Miranda Aldhouse-Green earlier told the BBC that the symbols on the Nebra disc

“are all part of a complex European wide belief system whereby people looked at the heavens, worshipped them, worshipped the sun, worshipped the moon, aligned their monuments on the sunrise or the moonrise”.

“And because Nebra has brought all these symbols together it tells us for the first time perhaps what people were really seeing, perceiving and believing.”

She differentiated the Nebra disc to a visible type of a holy text.

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Colourful history

The disc was discovered near the town of Nebra in Germany along with swords, axes and other items established from the Bronze Age.

It was found with a metal detector by two unlawful treasure hunters, and later retrieved by the police in a sting.

While it is widely thought about carefully to date from the Bronze Age, in the past others have claimed it to be a worthless imitatione7v.

And last September, the debate was reignited when two archaeologists published a new paper suggesting the object could be about 1,000 years younger and dating from the Iron Age.

CNN reported,that the Germany museum has set aside the declarations, saying some claims were conflicting, “not comprehensible” and that the researchers had disregarded other published study.

The World Of Stonehenge will move from 17 February to 17 July next year.


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