Historical photographs

Nebra disk. From Prehistory to the Middle Ages

Nebra disk. From Prehistory to the Middle Ages

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In 1999, a surprising discovery took place in the Ziegelroda Forest, 180 kilometers southwest of Berlin, Germany. Two illegal treasure hunters who operated without a license dug up, with the help of a metal detector, two bronze swords, a chisel, several fragments of bracelets, two rifles (small axes) and a curious disk adorned with gold and other metal inlays. It was Nebra's album, a real gem of prehistoric astronomy.

This disc, 30 centimeters in diameter and weighing 2 kilos, offers a peculiar representation of an astronomical map. Its design includes two central images, a circle and a crescent, which reproduce the silhouettes of the Sun or the full Moon and the waning moon.

Around it are scattered several golden points that could be the stars, and a small grouping on one of the lunar horns reminds of the Pleiades cluster. On the edges of the disc there are some additions that could represent the rainbow, the Milky Way or the Solar Ship, very present in the iconography of ancient Egypt.

The process to recover the disc of Nebra, which had to be rescued from clandestine trade networks in 2002, came to question its authenticity. In addition, the enclave where it was found had been seriously contaminated. Thanks to a series of laboratory studies, such as the analysis by X-ray fluorescence of copper and gold, the elaboration of the Nebra disk could be placed towards the second millennium before the Christian era, in the middle of the Bronze Age.

Today you can see the Nebra record at the State Museum of Prehistory in Halle, in Germany. Its true nature is still unknown, but it could be an astronomical calendar, a decorative object or a magical amulet of a shaman or a warrior.

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