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Scientific Research

The Nebra hoard is probably one of the scientifically most intensively researched archaeological finds altogether. The investigations began with the seizure in 2002 and continued until today. Many recognised research institutions are involved. They include the chemical and physical characterisation of the material by means of x-ray fluorescence analysis, synchrotron XRF, x-ray diffractometry, computer tomography, isotope/mass spectrometry, metallography, light and scanning electron microscopy, and much more.

The investigations concentrate on questions about manufacturing technique, the history of manufacture, questions concerning ›authenticity‹ and origin of the objects, and their raw materials.

The Sky Disc is a work of smithery. The craftsperson who beat out the disc from a raw casting cake made of soft bronze to a size of 32 centimetres in diameter had to contend with difficulties. But the smith was resourceful, already knew technological ruses to make the unruly, tough metal, supple.

Furnished with metal inlays, the Nebra finds are almost unique in terms of technology in central Europe.


The Sky Disc was not created in one working step. It was repeatedly modified with different generations of craftspeople each leaving their own signature on the cult object. In fact, it was probably adapted again and again to the altered ritual needs and changing worldviews.

The Nebra hoard consists of approx. 4 kg of bronze and 50 g of gold: a considerable amount. Where did the material come from? Copper is found in the region, but research points to a different source and extensive long-distance trade. The trails lead to other European countries, to Austria and England.

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