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Nebra sky disc

Coordinates: 51°17′02″N 11°31′12″E / 51.28389°N 11.52000°E / 51.28389; 11.52000
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The Nebra sky disc, c. 1800–1600 BC

The Nebra sky disc (German: Himmelsscheibe von Nebra, pronounced [ˈhɪml̩sˌʃaɪbə fɔn ˈneːbra]) is a bronze disc of around 30 cm (12 in) diameter and a weight of 2.2 kg (4.9 lb), having a blue-green patina and inlaid with gold symbols.[1][2] These symbols are interpreted generally as the Sun or full moon, a lunar crescent, and stars (including a cluster of seven stars, axiomatically interpreted as the Pleiades[3][4]).

Two golden arcs that were along the sides are thought to mark the angle between the solstices, one now is missing. Another arc at the bottom with internal parallel lines is usually interpreted as a solar boat with numerous oars,[5] although some authors have also suggested that it may represent a rainbow,[6] the Aurora Borealis,[7] a comet,[8] or a sickle.[9]

The disc was found buried on the Mittelberg hill near Nebra in Germany.[10] It is dated by archaeologists to c. 1800–1600 BC and attributed to the Early Bronze Age Unetice culture.[11][12] Various scientific analyses of the disc, the items found with the disc, and the find spot have confirmed the Early Bronze Age dating.[13][14][15]

The Nebra sky disc features the oldest concrete depiction of astronomical phenomena known from anywhere in the world.[1][16][13] In June 2013, it was included in the UNESCO Memory of the World Register and termed "one of the most important archaeological finds of the twentieth century."[17]

Discovery[edit]

The disc, together with two bronze swords, two sets of remains of axes, a chisel, and fragments of spiral armbands were discovered in 1999 by Henry Westphal and Mario Renner while they were treasure-hunting with a metal detector. The detectorists were operating without a license and knew their activity constituted looting and was illegal. Archaeological artefacts are the property of the state in Saxony-Anhalt. They damaged the disc with their spade and destroyed parts of the site. The next day, Westphal and Renner sold the entire hoard for 31,000 DM to a dealer in Cologne. The hoard changed hands, probably several times, within Germany during the next two years, being sold for up to a million DM. By 2001 knowledge of its existence had become public.

In February 2002, the state archaeologist, Harald Meller, acquired the disc in a police-led sting operation in Basel from a couple who had put it on the black market for 700,000 DM.[18] The original finders were eventually traced. In a plea bargain, they led police and archaeologists to the discovery site. Archaeologists opened a dig at the site and uncovered evidence that supported the looters' claims. There were traces of bronze artefacts in the ground, and the soil at the site matched soil samples found clinging to the artefacts. The disc and its accompanying finds are held by the State Museum of Prehistory in Halle, Saxony-Anhalt, Germany.

The two looters received sentences of four months and ten months, respectively, from a Naumburg court in September 2003. They appealed, but the Appeals Court raised their sentences to six and twelve months, respectively.

The discovery site is a prehistoric enclosure encircling the top of a 252 metres (827 ft) elevation in the Ziegelroda Forest, known as Mittelberg ("central hill"), some 60 kilometres (37 mi) west of Leipzig. The surrounding area is known to have been settled in the Neolithic era, and Ziegelroda Forest contains approximately 1,000 barrows.

At the enclosure's location, the sun seems to set every summer solstice behind the Brocken, the highest peak of the Harz mountains, some 80 kilometres (50 mi) to the northwest. The treasure hunters claimed the artefacts were discovered within a pit inside the bank-and-ditch enclosure.

Dating[edit]

The swords found with the disc [19]
Other associated finds: chisel, axeheads, bracelets

Axes and swords found buried with the disc were dated typologically to c. 1700–1500 BCE. Remains of birch bark found in the sword hilts have been Radiocarbon dated to between 1600 and 1560 BCE, confirming this estimate. This corresponds to the date of burial, at which time the disc had likely been in existence for several generations.[11] Analyses of metal radioactivity and the corrosion layer on the disc further support the early Bronze Age dating.[20][21]

Origin of the metals[edit]

According to an initial analysis of trace elements by x-ray fluorescence by E. Pernicka, then at the University of Freiberg, the copper originated at Bischofshofen in Austria, whilst the gold was thought to be from the Carpathian Mountains.[22] A more recent analysis found that the gold used in the first development phase (see below) was from the River Carnon in southern Cornwall in England.[23] The tin present in the bronze was also of Cornish origin.[24]

History[edit]

As preserved, the disc was developed in four stages:

  1. Initially the disc had thirty-two small round gold circles, a large circular plate, and a large crescent-shaped plate attached. The circular plate is interpreted as either the Sun or the full Moon, the crescent shape as the crescent Moon (or either the Sun or the Moon undergoing eclipse), and the dots as stars, with the cluster of seven dots likely representing a star cluster. The star cluster is thought to refer to the Pleiades,[13] or possibly the general symbol of a star cluster.[25]
  2. At some later date, two arcs (constructed from gold of a different origin, as shown by its chemical impurities) were added at opposite edges of the disc. To make space for these arcs, one small circle was moved from the left side toward the centre of the disc and two of the circles on the right were covered over, so that thirty remain visible. The two arcs span an angle of 82°, correctly indicating the angle between the positions of sunsets at summer and winter solstice at the latitude of the Mittelberg (51°N).[26][27] The arcs relate to the Sun's path – the ecliptic. Given that ancient astronomers knew the planets and many stars that mark the ecliptic, they could observe it sweep across the horizon within the arcs, in a single winter night, not just sunrise and sunset over an entire year.[28] Thus, the arcs are consistent with wholly nighttime use.
  3. The final addition was another arc at the bottom, identified as a solar boat,[29] again made of gold, but originating from a different source.
    Path of Vega at winter solstice, as seen from 51°N
  4. By the time the disc was buried it also had 38 to 40 holes punched out around its perimeter, each approximately 3 millimetres (0.12 in) in diameter. The exact number is obscured by damage to the disc edge.[30]

Significance[edit]

Video explaining the significance of the sky disc

The find is regarded as reconfirming that the astronomical knowledge and abilities of the people of the European Bronze Age included close observation of the yearly course of the Sun and the angle between its rising and setting points at the summer and winter solstices. While much older earthworks and megalithic astronomical complexes, such as the Goseck circle and Stonehenge, had already been used to mark the solstices, the disc presents this knowledge in the form of a portable object.[27] The disc may have had both a practical astronomical purpose as well as a religious significance.[31][3]

The depiction of the Pleiades on the disc in conjunction with a crescent moon has been interpreted as representing a calendar rule for synchronising solar and lunar calendars, enabling the creation of a lunisolar calendar.[32] This rule is known from an ancient Babylonian collection of texts with the title MUL.APIN.[33] According to one of the seven rules in the compendium, a leap month should be added when the Pleiades appear next to a crescent moon a few days old in the spring, as depicted on the disc. This conjunction occurs approximately every three years.[34][35][36] Harald Meller suggests that knowledge of this rule may have come from Babylonia to Central Europe through long-distance trade and contacts, despite it being attested earlier on the Nebra disc than in Babylonia.[37] Baltic amber beads have been found in a foundational deposit under the large ziggurat of Aššur in Iraq dating from c. 1800-1750 BC, indicating that a connection existed between both regions when the Nebra disc was created.[38] However some Assyriologists and astronomers have rejected the comparison of the Nebra Disc with MUL.APIN.[39][40][41]

Gold strips on the side of the disc mark the summer and winter solstices,[37][42] and the top represents the horizon[43] and north

The number of stars depicted on the disc (32) is also thought to be significant, possibly encoding the calendar rule numerically. Firstly, the conjunction of lunar crescent and Pleiades depicted on the disc occurs after 32 days following the last "new light" (the first visible crescent moon of the month), and not before.[44] Secondly, because a lunar year (354 days) is eleven days shorter than a solar year (365 days), 32 solar years is equal in length to 33 lunar years (with an error of only two days). That is, 32 x 365 = 11680 days, and 33 x 354 = 11682 days.[45] This 32 solar-year cycle may be represented on the disc by 32 stars, plus the sun (or full moon), adding up to 33.[46][47]

The archaeologist Christoph Sommerfeld has argued that the disc encodes knowledge of the 19-year lunisolar Metonic cycle.[48] According to Sommerfeld the Metonic cycle is similarly encoded on the disc of the Trundholm sun chariot, dating from c. 1500 BC.[49] The Metonic cycle is also thought to be encoded on the Late Bronze Age Berlin Gold Hat, which features a band of 19 "star and crescent" symbols.[50]

Some authors have argued that the number of pin holes around the rim of the disc (approximately 38 to 40) has an astronomical significance. The exact number is not known due to damage to the disc.[30][51]

The Nebra disc has also been compared to a passage from the Greek poet Hesiod in Works and Days, written around 700 BC:

"When the Pleiades, daughters of Atlas, are rising, begin your harvest, and your ploughing when they are going to set. Forty nights and days they are hidden and appear again as the year moves round, when first you sharpen your sickle. This is the law of the plains, and of those who live near the sea, and who inhabit rich country, the glens and hollows far from the tossing sea,—strip to sow and strip to plough and strip to reap, if you wish to get in all Demeter's fruits in due season, and that each kind may grow in its season."[52][53]

Gold signet ring from Mycenae with similar celestial imagery, fifteenth century BC [54]

A depiction of a sun and crescent moon similar to the Nebra disc appears on a gold signet ring from Mycenae in Greece, dating from the fifteenth century BC.[55][56][57] Beneath the sun and moon is a seated female figure holding three opium poppies in her hand, she is identified as a goddess of nature and fertility, with a double-axe and celestoal symbols, possibly the Minoan poppy goddess, or an early form of the goddess Demeter.[58][59][60][61] Opium poppy has also been found in settlements of the Unetice culture.[62] According to Kristiansen and Larsson (2005), imagery similar to that found on Mycenaean signet rings also appears in Nordic Bronze Age petroglyphs from the Kivik King's Grave in Sweden, dating from the sixteenth to fifteenth centuries BC.[63]

Archaeoastronomist Emília Pásztor has argued against a practical astronomical function for the disc. According to Pásztor "the close agreement of the length of the peripheral arcs with the movement of the sun's risings or settings might be a pure coincidence".[64] This claim is undermined by the finding of a similar feature on the roughly contemporary gold lozenge from Bush Barrow at Stonehenge, where the acute angles of the overall design (81°) are equal to the angle between the solstices at the latitude of Stonehenge.[65][66] According to Euan MacKie (2009) "The Nebra disc and the Bush Barrow lozenge both seem to be designed to reflect the annual solar cycle at about latitude 51° north."[67] MacKie further suggests that both the Nebra disc and Bush Barrow lozenge may be linked to the solar calendar reconstructed by Alexander Thom from his analysis of standing stone alignments in Britain.[68] Both the Nebra sky disc and Bush Barrow lozenge were made with gold from Cornwall, providing a direct link between them.[23][69] According to the archaeologist Sabine Gerloff the gold plating technique used on the Nebra sky disc also originated in Britain, and was introduced from there to the continent.[70]

Sky Disc at dawn near winter solstice

Authenticity[edit]

There were some initial suspicions that the disc might be an archaeological forgery. Peter Schauer of the University of Regensburg, Germany, argued in 2005 that the Nebra disc was a fake and that he could prove that the patina of the disc could have been created with urine, hydrochloric acid, and a blow torch within a short amount of time. He had to admit in court that he had never held the disc in his own hands, unlike the eighteen scientists who had examined the disc.[71] Scientific analyses of the patina (or corrosion layer) have confirmed its authenticity.[21]

Richard Harrison, professor of European prehistory at the University of Bristol, stated in a BBC documentary that "When I first heard about the Nebra Disc I thought it was a joke, indeed I thought it was a forgery", due to the extraordinary nature of the find, although he had not seen the sky disc at the time. The same documentary presented scientific analyses confirming the authenticity of the disc.[21]

A paper published in 2020 by Rupert Gebhard and Rudiger Krause questioned the Early Bronze Age dating of the Nebra disc and proposed a later Iron Age date instead.[72] A response paper was published in the same year by Ernst Pernicka and colleagues, rejecting the arguments of Gebhard and Krause.[13] Scientific analyses of the disc, the items found with the disc, and the find spot have all confirmed the Early Bronze Age dating.[1][15]

Exhibition[edit]

The disc was the centre of an exhibition entitled Der geschmiedete Himmel (German "The forged sky"), showing 1,600 Bronze Age artefacts, including the Trundholm sun chariot, shown at Halle from 15 October 2004 to 22 May 2005, from 1 July to 22 October 2005 in Copenhagen, from 9 November 2005 to 5 February 2006 in Vienna, from 10 March to 16 July 2006 in Mannheim, and from 29 September 2006 to 25 February 2007 in Basel.

On 21 June 2007, a multimedia visitor centre was opened near the discovery site at Nebra.[73]

The disc is part of the permanent exhibition in the Halle State Museum of Prehistory (Landesmuseum für Vorgeschichte) in Halle.

The disc was on display at the British Museum in London as part of The World Of Stonehenge Exhibition from 17 February to 17 July 2022.[74] The disc was on display at the Drents Museum in Assen from 6 August to 18 September 2022.[75]

Replica on the ISS[edit]

In November 2021, a replica of the Nebra Sky Disc was launched to the International Space Station on the Crew-3 mission, taken by German astronaut Matthias Maurer. Maurer, who was part of the European mission Cosmic Kiss, designed the mission's patch with inspiration from the Nebra Sky Disk, as well as the Pioneer plaques and Voyager Golden Records that were sent into the unknown carrying messages from Earth.[76]

Legal issues[edit]

Replica of the find situation of the Nebra Sky Disc for the German exhibition Der geschmiedete Himmel (German "The forged sky")

The state of Saxony-Anhalt registered the disc as a trademark, which resulted in two lawsuits. In 2003, Saxony-Anhalt successfully sued the city of Querfurt for depicting the disc design on souvenirs. Saxony-Anhalt also successfully sued the publishing houses Piper and Heyne over an abstract depiction of the disc on book covers.[77] The Magdeburg court assessed the case's relevance according to German copyright law. The defenders argued that as a cult object, the disc had already been "published" approximately 3,500 years earlier in the Bronze Age and that consequently, all protection of intellectual property associated with it has long expired. The plaintiff, on the other hand, argued that the editio princeps of the disc is recent, and according to German law protected for 25 years, until 2027. Another argument concerned the question of whether a notable work of art may be registered as a trademark in the first place. The Magdeburg court decided in favour of the State of Saxony-Anhalt.

The case was appealed and on the basis of decisions from the Oberlandesgericht Düsseldorf in 2005 and the Federal Court of Justice in 2009, the initial ruling was overturned and the German Patent and Trademark Office withdrew the trademark rights.[78] Thereafter, the state of Saxony-Anhalt registered the design of the disc as a trademark with the European Union Intellectual Property Office.[79]

In 2023, the state of Saxony-Anhalt filed a DMCA take down notice requesting removal of nine images of the Nebra sky disc from Wikimedia Commons, asserting that they were the "owner of the exclusive copyright in the Sky Disk of Nebra".[80] Wikimedia Deutschland, a chapter of the Wikimedia Foundation, subsequently filed a DMCA counter-notice stating that since the implementation of Article 14 of the Directive 2019/790 of the European Parliament, there can be no such copyrights on reproductions of visual works that are in the public domain.[81]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c "Nebra Sky Disc". Halle State Museum of Prehistory.
  2. ^ "The Nebra Sky Disc: decoding a prehistoric vision of the cosmos". The-Past.com. May 2022.
  3. ^ a b Eiland, Murray (2003). "Pre-heraldry on the Sangerhausen Disc". The Armiger's News. 25 (2): 1, 9 – via Academia.edu.
  4. ^ Bohan, Elise; Dinwiddie, Robert; Challoner, Jack; Stuart, Colin; Harvey, Derek; Wragg-Sykes, Rebecca; Chrisp, Peter; Hubbard, Ben; Parker, Phillip; et al. (Writers) (February 2016). Big History. Foreword by David Christian (1st American ed.). New York: DK. pp. 20–21. ISBN 978-1-4654-5443-0. OCLC 940282526.
  5. ^ Garrow, Duncan; Wilkin, Neil (June 2022). The World of Stonehenge. British Museum Press. pp. 147–148. ISBN 9780714123493. OCLC 1297081545. In its next phase of use, a third gold arc was added to the Sky Disc. Unlike the two solstice arcs, this addition did not serve to mark a particular celestial observation. It appears to be a representation of a 'sun ship'. ... Short feathered lines on each side of the gold sun boat on the Nebra Sky Disc may represent the oars of a crew.
  6. ^ Joshua Rapp Learn (May 11, 2021). "The Nebra Sky Disk: Is the world's oldest star map really a map at all?". Astronomy Today. Retrieved 30 January 2022.
  7. ^ Mentock, Richard (November 2021). "Rethinking the Nebra Sky Disk". Physics Today. 74 (11): 10. Bibcode:2021PhT....74k..10M. doi:10.1063/PT.3.4868. S2CID 240475208.
  8. ^ Crocco, Juan (2022). Essay: What is depicted on the Nebra Sky Disc?. tredition. pp. 87–102. ISBN 978-3-347-71288-1.
  9. ^ Haughton, Brian (2011). "The Nebra Sky Disk - Ancient Map of the Stars". World History Encyclopedia.
  10. ^ "Nebra Sky Disc: The Place of Discovery". Halle State Museum of Prehistory.
  11. ^ a b "Nebra Sky Disc: Nomination". UNESCO Memory of the World. The Nebra Sky Disc is dated to the early Bronze Age. It was made circa 1800 BC and was in use over several generations until around 1600 BC when it was buried and dedicated to the gods.
  12. ^ "Nebra Sky Disc — Bronze Age representation of the sky, Germany". UNESCO Portal to the Heritage of Astronomy.
  13. ^ a b c d Pernicka, Ernst; Adam, Jörg; Borg, Gregor; Brügmann, Gerhard; Bunnefeld, Jan-Heinrich; Kainz, Wolfgang; Klamm, Mechthild; Koiki, Thomas; Meller, Harald; Schwarz, Ralf; Stöllner, Thomas; Wunderlich, Christian-Heinrich; Reichenberger, Alfred (2020). "Why the Nebra Sky Disc Dates to the Early Bronze Age. An Overview of the Interdisciplinary Results". Archaeologia Austriaca. 104. Austrian Academy of Sciences: 89–122. doi:10.1553/archaeologia104s89. S2CID 229208057.
  14. ^ "Nebra Sky Disc: Dating". Halle State Museum of Prehistory.
  15. ^ a b "The Nebra Sky Disc Dates from the Early Bronze Age". Austrian Academy of Sciences. 2020.
  16. ^ Garrow, Duncan; Wilkin, Neil (June 2022). The World of Stonehenge. British Museum Press. p. 144. ISBN 9780714123493. OCLC 1297081545.
  17. ^ "Nebra Sky Disc". UNESCO Memory of the World.
  18. ^ Meller, H. (January 2004). "Star search". National Geographic: 76–8.
  19. ^ "The Nebra Sky Disc: decoding a prehistoric vision of the cosmos". the-past.com. 25 May 2022.
  20. ^ "Nebra Sky Disc: Dating". Halle State Museum of Prehistory.
  21. ^ a b c "Secrets of the Star Disc". BBC Science & Nature. Horizon. January 2004.
  22. ^ Pernicka, E. & Wunderlich, C-H. "Naturwissenschaftliche Untersuchungen an den Funden von Nebra". Archäologie in Sachsen-Anhalt. 1/02: 24–29.
  23. ^ a b Ehser, Anja; Borg, Gregor; Pernicka, Ernst (2011). "Provenance of the gold of the Early Bronze Age Nebra Sky Disk, central Germany: geochemical characterization of natural gold from Cornwall". European Journal of Mineralogy. 23 (6): 895–910. Bibcode:2011EJMin..23..895E. doi:10.1127/0935-1221/2011/0023-2140. Retrieved 12 November 2013.
  24. ^ Haustein, M. (2010). "Tin isotopy: a new method for solving old questions". Archaeometry. 52 (5): 816–832. doi:10.1111/j.1475-4754.2010.00515.x.
  25. ^ Hoffmann, Susanne M. Meller, Harald; Reichenberger, Alfred; Risch, Roberto (eds.). "Das babylonische Astronomie-Kompendium MUL.APIN: Messung von Zeit und Raum". Tagungen des Landesmuseums für Vorgeschichte Halle (Saale). 24: 251–275.
  26. ^ McIntosh, Jane (2010). Lost Treasures; Civilization's Great Riches Rediscovered. London: Carlton Books. p. 16. ISBN 9781847322999.
  27. ^ a b Garrow, Duncan; Wilkin, Neil (June 2022). The World of Stonehenge. British Museum Press. pp. 145–147. ISBN 9780714123493. OCLC 1297081545. both the gold arcs [on the Nebra disc] occupy a very precise angle of between 82 and 83 degrees, a figure that is well beyond the error expected if a right angle was intended. The reason for this seems to be connected to observations of the sun. The arcs mark the full range of points on the horizon at which the sun sets and rises in a solar year. The terminal of each arc inscribes the summer solstice sunrise and sunset and the winter solstice sunrise and sunset as seen from the latitude of the Mittelberg 3,600 years ago. ... The marking of solstice sunrise and sunset at monuments such as Stonehenge was about the expression of religious and symbolic ideas linking the monument to the cycles of the cosmos. The same concerns were probably true of the Sky Disc, which had the benefit of being a portable and possesable object.
  28. ^ PM 2Ring. "Where does the ecliptic cross the horizon during the course of a night?". astronomy.stackexchange.com. Retrieved 28 May 2024.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: numeric names: authors list (link)
  29. ^ Bohan, Elise; Dinwiddie, Robert; Challoner, Jack; Stuart, Colin; Harvey, Derek; Wragg-Sykes, Rebecca; Chrisp, Peter; Hubbard, Ben; Parker, Phillip; et al. (Writers) (February 2016). Big History. Foreword by David Christian (1st American ed.). New York: DK. p. 21. ISBN 978-1-4654-5443-0. OCLC 940282526.
  30. ^ a b Dathe, Henning; Kruger, Harald (2018). "Morphometric findings on the Nebra Sky Disc". Time and Mind. 11 (1): 89–104. doi:10.1080/1751696X.2018.1433358. S2CID 165508431.
  31. ^ Meller, H (2002). "Die Himmelsscheibe von Nebra – ein frühbronzezeitlicher Fund von außergewohnlicher Bedeutung". Archäeologie in Sachsen-Anhalt (in German). 1/02: 7–30.
  32. ^ "The Nebra Sky Disc". Archaeology. June 2019. In the first phase, the disc showed the night sky with 32 gold stars, including the Pleiades, a gold orb representing the sun or a full moon, and a crescent moon. It served as a reminder of when it was necessary to synchronize the lunar and solar years by inserting a leap month. This phenomenon occurred when the three-and-a-half-day-old moon—the crescent moon on the disc—was visible at the same time as the Pleiades. 'The astronomical rules that are depicted wouldn't be imaginable without decades of intensive observation,' says Harald Meller, director of the State Museum for Prehistory in Halle. 'Until the Sky Disc was discovered, no one thought prehistoric people capable of such precise astronomical knowledge.'
  33. ^ Symonds, Matthew (2022-05-25). "The Nebra Sky Disc: decoding a prehistoric vision of the cosmos". The Past.
  34. ^ Garrow, Duncan; Wilkin, Neil (June 2022). The World of Stonehenge. British Museum Press. pp. 145–147. ISBN 9780714123493. OCLC 1297081545. (on the disc) there is a distinctive rosette of seven stars clustered between the full and crescent moons. These are identified as the Pleiades or Seven Sisters, recognised by many world cultures as calendar stars, since they are last seen in the night sky in March and only reappear again in October. ... The path of the sun provides a measure of the time of day and year, while the moon can do the same in measuring out months and weeks based on its regular cycles. A problem arises, however, when it comes to equating the solar and lunar years. The former is eleven days longer than the later and after three years the difference is equivalent to about a month. To bring the two calendars into harmony a rule is needed. The first written record of such a rule comes from a Babylonian cuneiform tablet dating to the seventh or sixth centuries BC, which advises to add a leap month every third year if no new moon appears next to the Pleiades in the spring but rather a crescent moon a few days old. That arrangement of heavenly bodies is precisely what the Sky Disc seems to show, reflecting an ingenious materialisation of a complex astronomical and calendrical rule without the need for writing.
  35. ^ Meller, Harald (2021). "The Nebra Sky Disc – astronomy and time determination as a source of power". Time is power. Who makes time?: 13th Archaeological Conference of Central Germany. Landesmuseum für Vorgeschichte Halle (Saale). ISBN 978-3-948618-22-3. The synchronisation key of the first phase [of the Nebra disc] allowed the longer solar year (approximately 365 days) to be harmonised with the shorter lunar year (around 354 days). Each year in spring, the crescent moon passed close to the Pleiades, appearing with different widths, depending on the lunar phase. The appearance of a 4.5 day-old crescent moon next to the Pleiades, as shown on the Sky Disc, meant that an extra month should have been added, since the solar and lunar years differed by approximately one month after every three years.
  36. ^ Meller, Harald. Concepts of cosmos in the world of Stonehenge (British Museum 2022).
  37. ^ a b Meller, Harald (2021). "The Nebra Sky Disc – astronomy and time determination as a source of power". Time is power. Who makes time?: 13th Archaeological Conference of Central Germany. Landesmuseum für Vorgeschichte Halle (Saale). ISBN 978-3-948618-22-3.
  38. ^ Bunnefeld, J.; Becker, J.; Martin, L.; Pausewein, R.; Simon, S.; Meller, H. (2023). "Baltic Amber in Aššur. Forms and Significance of Amber Exchange between Europe and the Middle East, c.2000–1300 BC". Acta Archaeologica. 92 (2): 228–243. doi:10.1163/16000390-20210031. S2CID 258250358.
  39. ^ Feller, Manfred; Koch, Johannes. "Geheimnis der Himmelsscheibe doch nicht gelöst? Warum die angebliche Entschlüsselung der Himmelsscheibe durch R. Hansen und H. Meller falsch ist". Archived from the original on 2016-03-04.
  40. ^ Wolfschmidt, Gudrun (2022). Astronomy in Culture -- Cultures of Astronomy. Astronomie in der Kultur -- Kulturen der Astronomie. Featuring the Proceedings of the Splinter Meeting at the Annual Conference of the Astronomische Gesellschaft, Sept. 14-16, 2021. Nuncius Hamburgensis; Vol. 57. Susanne M. Hoffmann, Susanne M. Hoffmann, Gudrun Wolfschmidt, Tredition GmbH Hamburg. Ahrensburg. ISBN 978-3-347-71293-5. OCLC 1351570492.{{cite book}}: CS1 maint: location missing publisher (link)
  41. ^ Hoffmann, Susanne. "Das babylonische Astronomie-Kompendium MUL.APIN: Messung von Zeit und Raum". Tagungen des Landesmuseums für Vorgeschichte Halle (Saale) (24): 251–275.
  42. ^ Concepts of cosmos in the world of Stonehenge. British Museum. 2022.
  43. ^ Bohan, Elise; Dinwiddie, Robert; Challoner, Jack; Stuart, Colin; Harvey, Derek; Wragg-Sykes, Rebecca; Chrisp, Peter; Hubbard, Ben; Parker, Phillip; et al. (Writers) (February 2016). Big History. Foreword by David Christian (1st American ed.). New York: DK. p. 20. ISBN 978-1-4654-5443-0. OCLC 940282526.
  44. ^ Meller, Harald (2021). "The Nebra Sky Disc – astronomy and time determination as a source of power". Time is power. Who makes time?: 13th Archaeological Conference of Central Germany. Landesmuseum für Vorgeschichte Halle (Saale). pp. 151–152. ISBN 978-3-948618-22-3. Zudem vergehen bei einer 4,5 Tage alten Mondsichel nicht wie üblich 29 oder 30 Tage seit dem letzten Neulicht, sondern 32 Tage. Dies korrespondiert mit den 32 Sternen, die auf der Himmelsscheibe in der ersten Phase abgebildet waren, sodass die Schaltregel wohl sogar doppelt verschlüsselt in diesem auf den ersten Blick simplen Bildwerk dargestellt ist. Das große runde Goldobjekt könnte zugleich Vollmond und Sonne repräsentieren. Die 32 Sterne der ersten Phase verkörpern dann 32 Sonnenjahre, denen – zählt man Vollmond / Sonne hinzu – 33 Mondjahre entsprechen (Hansen 2007). English translation: "with a 4.5-day old crescent moon, not 29 or 30 days elapse since the last new light, as is usually the case, but 32 days. This corresponds with the 32 stars that were depicted on the sky disc in the first phase, so that the leap rule is probably even depicted in a doubly coded way in this, at first sight, simple pictorial work. The large round gold object could represent both the full moon and the sun. The 32 stars of the first phase then embody 32 solar years, to which - if one adds the full moon / sun - 33 lunar years correspond (Hansen 2007).
  45. ^ "The difference between solar and lunar years". Sciencing.com. 2018.
  46. ^ Meller, Harald (2021). "The Nebra Sky Disc – astronomy and time determination as a source of power". Time is power. Who makes time?: 13th Archaeological Conference of Central Germany. Landesmuseum für Vorgeschichte Halle (Saale). pp. 151–152. ISBN 978-3-948618-22-3.
  47. ^ Hansen, Rahlf; Rink, Christine (2008). "Himmelsscheibe, Sonnenwagen und Kalenderhüte - ein Versuch zur bronzezeitlichen Astronomie". Acta Praehistorica et Archaeologica. 40: 97–98.
  48. ^ Sommerfeld, Christoph (2012). "... Sterne mal Sterne durch Sonne ist Mond - Bemerkungen über die Nebra-Scheibe". Preaehistorische Zeitschrift. 87 (1): 110–131. doi:10.1515/pz-2012-0006. S2CID 163304521.
  49. ^ Sommerfel, Christoph (2010). "... nach Jahr und Tag – Bemerkungen über die Trundholm-Scheiben". Praehistorische Zeitschrift. 85 (2): 207–242. doi:10.1515/pz.2010.012. S2CID 164902130.
  50. ^ Menghin, Wilfried (2008). "Zahlensymbolik und digitales Rechnersystem in der Ornamentik des Berliner Goldhutes". Acta Praehistorica et Archaeologica. 40: 157–169. doi:10.11588/apa.2008.0.71505.
  51. ^ Herten, Friedel; Waldmann, Georg (2018). "Functional principles of early time measurement at Stonehenge and Nebra". Archäologische Informationen. 41: 275–288.
  52. ^ "Hesiod, Works and Days (Hes. WD 387)". Perseus.tufts.edu.
  53. ^ Garrow, Duncan; Wilkin, Neil (June 2022). The World of Stonehenge. British Museum Press. p. 145. ISBN 9780714123493. OCLC 1297081545. The Greek poet Hesiod, writing in c. 700 BC, noted that '[w]hen the Pleiades rise it is the time to use the sickle, but the plough when they are setting'. Their disappearance and appearance has been seen historically as a marker of the beginning and end of the farming year in Europe [...] In the region of Germany where the disc was found, the Pleiades is last seen in the sky on 10 March, alongside the young, crescent moon. The full moon accompanies the reappearance of the constellation on 17 October. On the disc, the Pleiades is tellingly placed between the crescent and full moons, suggesting an awareness of this celestial rhythm.
  54. ^ "Greek civilization. Gold signet ring with worship scene, female figures, landscape, sun and moon. From Mycenae, Acropolis treasure. Athens, Ethnikó Arheologikó Moussío (National Archaeological Museum)". agefotostock.
  55. ^ Rappenglück, Michael (2016). "Cosmovisions Put Upon a Disk: Another View of the Nebra Disk". In Silva, Fabio; Malville, Kim; Lomsdalen, Tore; Ventura, Frank (eds.). The Materiality of the Sky: Proceedings of the 22nd Annual SEAC Conference, 2014. Sophia Centre Press. p. 58. ISBN 978-1907767-09-8.
  56. ^ Pasztor, Emilia; Roslund, Curt (2007). "An interpretation of the Nebra Disc". Antiquity. 81 (312): 267–78. doi:10.1017/S0003598X00095168.
  57. ^ Valavanis, Panos; Nagy, Gregory (1993). "The Sun in Greek Culture and Art". The Sun in Myth and Art. Thames & Hudson. pp. 280–293.
  58. ^ Evans, Arthur (1925). "'The Ring of Nestor': A Glimpse into the Minoan After-World". The Journal of Hellenic Studies. 45: 11. doi:10.2307/624904. hdl:2027/mdp.39015008678354. JSTOR 624904. S2CID 161114626. waving lines ... cut off the upper part of the field on the great signet of Mycenae, and contain above their curve a rayed disk and crescent representing the heavenly luminaries. ... the seated Goddess, whose character is there marked by the double-axe as well as by the celestial symbols, holds poppy-heads presented to her by a votary.
  59. ^ Trckova-Flamee, Alena (2005). "Poppy goddess". Encyclopedia Mythica. The image of the so-called Poppy Goddess appears in pre-Hellenic iconography. She is represented as a large female figurine with raised hands in a gesture of greeting or blessing. [...] A goddess with the same emblems — three poppies — in her hand is depicted also in a gold signet ring from Mycenae. [...] The role of this goddess was correlated together with her attributes — poppies and its effects in a form of opium. [...] The motif of a seated goddess (who was called Demeter) on a throne with poppies in her hand is found on a Greek vase (plate) of the fifth century BCE. There is presently not enough evidence to connect a real name to this so-called Poppy Goddess of the pre-Hellenic period; nevertheless there are links to the Greek pantheon and to a ritual performed, later in honor of the goddess Demeter.
  60. ^ Ridderstad, Marianna (2009). "Evidence of Minoan astronomy and calendrical practices". arXiv:0910.4801 [physics.hist-ph]. The scene on the ring [from Mycenae] shows the sun, the moon, and what looks like the Milky Way on the sky, as well as the "Poppy Goddess" seated under a tree [...] The poppy flower of the Minoan 'Poppy Goddess' was associated in Classical Greek art with many goddesses, but, especially, it was the symbol of Demeter, who as the great mother and fertility goddess had a cult that had its origin in Minoan-Mycenaean times [...] as the Palaikastro mould shows, the Poppy Goddess was not only a chthonic fertility goddess, but also the goddess of celestial cycles.
  61. ^ Askitopoulou, Helen; Ramoutsaki, Ioanna A.; Konsolaki, Eleni (December 2002). "Archaeological evidence on the use of opium in the Minoan world". International Congress Series. 1242 (3): 23–29. doi:10.1016/S0531-5131(02)00769-0.
  62. ^ Pokutta, Dalia (2016). "Food and cooking in the Únětice culture". In Boroffka, Nikolaus (ed.). Carpathian heartlands: studies on the prehistory and history of Transsylvania in European contexts, dedicated to Horia Ciugudean on his 60th birthday. Muzeul Naţional al Unirii. p. 143.
  63. ^ Kristiansen, Kristian; Larsson, Thomas B. (2005). The rise of Bronze Age society. Cambridge University Press. pp. 192–193. ISBN 9780521843638.
  64. ^ Pásztor, Emilia (2015), "Nebra Disk", in Ruggles, Clive L. N. (ed.), Handbook of Archaeoastronomy and Ethnoastronomy, New York: Springer Science+Business Media, pp. 1349–1356, doi:10.1007/978-1-4614-6141-8_128, ISBN 978-1-4614-6140-1
  65. ^ Stonehenge's Richest Man: The Bush Barrow Chieftain (British Museum 2022). The point at the top and the bottom [of the Bush Barrow gold lozenge] has a very precise angle of 81 degrees. That's the same angle between where the sun rises at midwinter and midsummer solstices, so it has an astronomical importance. And the very finely detailed embossed decoration, particularly around the outer border, is laid out to a tolerance of less than half a millimetre. What that tells us is they understood astronomy, geometry and mathematics, 4,000 years ago.
  66. ^ Dathe, Henning; Kruger, Harald (2018). "Morphometric findings on the Nebra Sky Disc". Time and Mind. 11 (1): 89–104. doi:10.1080/1751696X.2018.1433358. S2CID 165508431. The potential observation of the horizon arc described by the Sun during its annual motion is exemplified by another impressive find from the Early Bronze Age: A diamond-shaped gold plaque of extraordinary quality was excavated in a burial under Bush Barrow in Wiltshire, southern England, less than a mile away from Stonehenge. ... Both objects, the Nebra Sky Disc and the Bush Barrow Lozenge, are unique in their appearance, but they may be related in their ritual and possibly astronomical relevance.
  67. ^ MacKie, Euan (March 2009). "The Prehistoric Solar Calendar: An Out-of-fashion Idea Revisited with New Evidence". Time and Mind. 2 (1): 9–46. doi:10.2752/175169709X374263. S2CID 162360353. Ker and his colleagues found the pair of acute angles of the basic diamond pattern [of the Bush Barrow lozenge] to be 81°. They realized that this was the angle between midsummer and midwinter sunrises (and sunsets of course) on a low horizon at the latitude of Stonehenge (51.17° N) four thousand years ago. ... The Nebra disc and the Bush Barrow lozenge both seem to be designed to reflect the annual solar cycle at about latitude 51° north, and both have elements in their design which could refer specifically to the solar calendar.
  68. ^ MacKie, E (2006). "New evidence for a professional priesthood in the European Early Bronze Age?". In Todd W. Bostwick; Bryan Bates (eds.). Viewing the Sky Through Past and Present Cultures: Selected Papers from the Oxford VII International Conference on Archaeoastronomy. Pueblo Grande Museum Anthropological Papers. Vol. 15. City of Phoenix Parks and Recreation Department. pp. 343–362. ISBN 1-882572-38-6.
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Further reading[edit]

  • Ute Kaufholz: Sonne, Mond und Sterne. Das Geheimnis der Himmelsscheibe. Anderbeck, Anderbeck 2004, ISBN 3-937751-05-X
  • Landesamt für Archäologie Sachsen-Anhalt (Hrsg.): Archäologie in Sachsen-Anhalt. Dt. Verl. d. Wissenschaften, Halle 1.2002, S.7–31. ISSN 0072-940X
  • Frank Hagen von Liegnitz: Die Sonnenfrau. Weihnachtsgabe der WeserStrom Genossenschaft, Bremen 2002.
  • Harald Meller (Hrsg.): Der geschmiedete Himmel. Die weite Welt im Herzen Europas vor 3600 Jahren. Ausstellungskatalog. Theiss-Verlag, Stuttgart 2004, ISBN 3-8062-1907-9
  • Katja Näther, Sven Näther: Akte Nebra – Keine Sonne auf der Himmelsscheibe? Naether, Wilhelmshorst 2004, ISBN 3-934858-02-3
  • National Geographic Deutschland. Gruner + Jahr, Hamburg 2004,1, S.38–61, ISBN 3-936559-85-6
  • Uwe Reichert: Der geschmiedete Himmel. in: Spektrum der Wissenschaft. Heidelberg 2004,11, S.52–59. ISSN 0170-2971
  • Ch. Sommerfeld : ...Sterne mal Sterne durch Sonne ist Mond - Bemerkungen über die Nebra-Scheibe, Praehistorische Zeitschrift, 87(1) 2012, S. 110–131. ISSN 1613-0804
  • Diedrich, Cajus: The "Sky Disk of Nebra" – revision to daily life "marriage and fertility" in the final Hallstatt (Early Iron Age, HaC-D) times. American Journal of Humanities and Social Science, 21, 2021, 1–26. http://journalsonline.org/american-journal-of-humanities-and-social-science/
  • Andreas Müller-Karpe, Die Himmelsscheibe von Nebra und ihre anatolischen Bezüge, Marburg 2021, ISBN 978-3-8185-0563-9.

External links[edit]

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51°17′02″N 11°31′12″E / 51.28389°N 11.52000°E / 51.28389; 11.52000