Landesamt für Denkmalpflege und Archäologie Sachsen-Anhalt
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The Nebra Sky Disc

Nebra Sky Disc
© LDA Sachsen-Anhalt (Foto: Juraj Lipták)

The Sky Disc is one of the most important archaeological finds of the past century. It displays the world's oldest known concrete depiction of astronomical phenomena. Its significance is reflected by its inclusion into the UNESCO's Memory of the World register in June 2013.

Features of the sky at night and by day are mingled, against the background of an abstract representation of a starry sky. The sun and moon's course across the heavens is not only depicted, but also explained. For, between the horizons, a ship is making a nocturnal journey across the celestial ocean. This is the first time this image occurs in Europe as a central mythic symbol. The Sky Disc gives us a glimpse into our ancestors' knowledge of the course of the universe and its religious interpretation 3600 years ago.

 

History of the discovery

Mittelberg
Mittelberg hill near Nebra (© LDA Sachsen-Anhalt)

The Nebra Sky Disc is part of a bronze hoard that was illegally unearthed by metal detectorists near the summit of Mittelberg hill in the summer of 1999.

The hoard was sold and passed through the hands of various middlemen and dealers in the following years. In February 2002 the finds were impounded by the Basle police, working closely with the State of Saxony-Anhalt's Landeskriminalamt (State Criminal Investigation Office), Ministry of Education and Cultural Affairs, and State Office for Heritage Management and Archaeology. Since then, the originals have been among the treasures of the State Museum of Prehistory in Halle. Since the 23rd of May 2008, the Sky Disc has been on display in the permanent exhibition of the State Museum.