Archeologists Solve Puzzles of the Nebra Sky Disc

Berlin (Germany) – In a new book dedicated to the State Archaeologist of Saxony-Anhalt Harald Meller together with the historian and science journalist Kai Michel the legendary Nebra Sky Disk as “key to a lost world in the heart of Europe”. In it, for the first time, the authors design the panorama of that fantastic world to which we owe the miracle of bronze and gold – the first kingdom of Central Europe. At the same time, the Sky Disc will be one of the highlights of the exhibition “Bewegte Zeiten. Archeology in Germany” shown in the Berlin Martin-Gropius-Bau. 

“What do not we all know about the ancient cultures in Egypt and Mesopotamia, about Nefertiti and Tutankhamun?” The two authors ask, and unfortunately, all too often correctly states: “Our own prehistory, on the other hand, is unknown to us.” Nebra and the research results now gathered, Meller and Michel also see “the key that unlocks our past.”

In addition to the sky disc, the Nebra ensemble includes two swords with gold grip cuffs, two axes, a chisel, and two broken arm spirals. 
Copyright / Source: Meller & Michel, Propyläen 2018

Already the discovery of the “Sky Disc” in July 1999 was an archaeological sensation – the oldest concrete representation of the heavens in human history came from no so-called high culture but from the allegedly dark heart of Europe. Raubgräber discovered the more than 3,600-year-old bronze treasure on the top of the Mittelberg in Saxony-Anhalt. In an adventurous police action, the archeologist Harald Meller saved this treasure for the public and since then coordinates the research of the century find.

Based on new archaeological, genetic and metallurgical investigations around the sky disc, the two authors draw the picture of a culture, the first kingdom in European history, whose rulers made contact with Stonehenge to the Orient. “The rulers of the sky disc buried themselves under huge burial mounds, their power was based on exclusive knowledge, armies ensured a peaceful life for humans. The Sky Disk itself provides insights into a lost world in which not least the foundations of our own world were laid. “

The Nebra Sky Disc provides a unique insight into the world of ideas of the Bronze Age people. It is the two-dimensional image of a three-dimensional world model: above the earth, the sky arches as a dome, on which the stars shine. A ship is waiting to take the sun on board.

We also know spherical worldviews from Egypt, Greece or the Bible. 
Copyright / Source: Meller & Michel, Propyläen 2018

The Sky Disc is not only the most important archaeological find in the German-speaking world of the last 100 years, but the decoding of its symbolism also documents a great moment of astronomy, according to Meller and Michel. “The gold of the disc comes from England, the copper from the Alps, the technique for their production from Mycenae and the underlying knowledge from the Orient. The Sky Disc is thus the product of an already startlingly globalized world. “

In the disc itself, the researchers thus see something like the treasury of the first known kingdom of Central Europe. Since the first graves of the subjects of this empire were discovered at Únětice and Aunjetitz near Prague, their culture is referred to as Aunjetitzer culture. The Aunetseeds used their rulers in the largest burial mounds of the Central European Bronze Age, but also brought to their god’s human sacrifices and even child sacrifices. Their rulers, in turn, knew how to use their exclusive knowledge, with which they were able to determine the time for harvesting and sowing through the sky disc, to increase their power. It created for the first time armies to protect the population but also inequality and injustice in unprecedented measure. The places of worship newly excavated in the wake of the discovery of the sky disc bear witness to a revolution of faith. In addition, genetic analyzes of prehistoric skeletons show how much our present-day Europe is a product of migrations.

The end of culture and the cult around and with the sky disc, when the sky disc ensemble was spent in the earth. Based on the C-14 dating of the birch bark, the scientists locate from one of the sword handles (which were found with the sky disc) and the first appearance of the swords in central Germany and the archaeologically diagnosed end of the Early Bronze Age around 1600 BC. Chr.

Seen from the place of deposit of the sky disc in the observatory (center), the sun goes down at the time of the summer solstice (around June 21) behind the Brocken (ol) and on May 1 behind the Kyffhäuser (olm). Mountain and disc are a perfect match (Illu.). 
Copyright / Source: Meller & Michel, Propyläen 2018

That this falls exactly in the time window of one of the “ancient catastrophes of antiquity” – the eruption of the volcano Thera (now Santorin) – consider Meller and Michel for “no coincidence” but draw a first theoretical sounding, but then substantiated with the scenario of Connections between the catastrophic natural disaster and its effects into the “kingdom of Nebra”, where on the evening of a summer solstice both sun and the sky disk at the same moment began their journey into the underworld – the sun disc apparently on the Brocken in the Harz , the sky disc on the or in the middle mountain.

The authors 
Prof. Dr. med. Harald Meller , born in 1960 in Olching, is director of the State Museum of Prehistory in Halle an der Saale and the State Office for the Preservation of Monuments and Archeology Saxony-Anhalt. The State Archaeologist is an internationally recognized scientist and exhibition organizer.

Kai Michel, born in 1967 in Hamburg, is a historian and literary scholar. He was a science editor for newspapers such as Die Zeit or Die Weltwoche and writes today for GEO. He is the co-author of the bestseller “The Diary of Humanity” and lives in Zurich and in the Black Forest.

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