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The Phases of the Sky Disc

The traces of manufacture and use, the materials used, and the arrangement of the picture elements reveal a clear biography. We can distinguish between five phases.


Phase 1 – First the bronze disc is outfitted as the night sky with 32 stars, the full moon, and the crescent moon.

Phase 2 – Later, the attachment of the rim arcs covered two of the stars, another star is replaced so that it remains visible. This is plain to see because the particular gold arc is missing today. The two hidden stars stand out clearly on the x-ray image underneath the other arc.

Phase 3 – One sheet of metal differs significantly from the other gold appliqués in its colour and decoration: the feathered arc. It is wedged between the stars, whereas all other celestial bodies maintain a clear distance from the golden dots– this arc does not fit with the original picture.

The gold sheets of the stars, the peripheral rim arcs, and the grooved arc each have a different silver content. This illustrates that the gold objects of each phase were made of different gold. They may even have been made by different people.

Phase 4 – Later again, the disc was intended to be used differently than before, hence the rim was perforated. Attached to a support, the image of the sky was perhaps carried as a standard.

Phase 5 – All indications are that one horizon arc was removed in ancient times before the deposition.


At the End of this World

We do not know when the Sky Disc was made and how much time has passed between the changes. In the end the work of art was buried around 1600 BC. It was equipped like a chieftain, with gold-decorated weapons, tools, and ornaments. The age of the Sky Disc and its message had passed. One no longer understood them or wanted to abandon them and their creators to oblivion.


Museum exklusiv

Here you can find the film from the »Museum exklusiv« series of the State Museum of Prehistory »Die Himmelsscheibe von Nebra: Die Phasen des Bildprogramms« (German version only).

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