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The stages in the life of the Sky Disc

The traces left by metalworking and wear, the materials used and the arrangement of the pictorial elements together reveal a clear story of the life of the disc. We can distinguish five stages in it.


The stages in the life of the Sky Disc
The stages in the life of the Sky Disc (© LDA Sachsen-Anhalt)

Stage 1 - First the bronze disc is decorated as the sky at night with 32 stars, the full moon and the crescent.
Stage 2 - Later, the addition of the arcs at the edges hid two of the stars, while another star was replaced in a new position to keep it visible. The relocation of the single star can be seen clearly because that gold arc is now missing. X-ray images clearly show the two hidden stars beneath the other arc.

Stage 3 - One piece of plate differs sharply from the other gold appliqués in its colour and decoration: the fringed and grooved arc at the bottom. It is squeezed in between the stars, whereas all the other heavenly bodies lie at a clear distance from the gold dots - this element does not belong to the original picture.

There is a different proportion of silver in the gold plate used for the stars, the arcs on the side-edges, and the grooved arc, respectively. This shows that the gold objects of each stage of production were made from a different batch of gold each time. They may have been made by different people.

Stage 4 - Later, the disc must have been put to a new use, because holes were bored right round its edge. It may have been fixed to a stand and could perhaps have been carried as a standard.
Stage 5 - All the indications suggest that one of the horizon arcs had already been removed in ancient times, before the Sky Disc was deposited in the ground.

This world comes to an end

We do not know when the Sky Disc was made or how much time passed between each set of alterations. In the end, the bronze image was buried around 1600 BC. It was laid to rest like a prince, with gold-inlaid weapons, tools and jewellery. The era of the Sky Disc and its message had passed. Perhaps people no longer understood it, or perhaps they chose to consign the disc and its creators to oblivion.