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Exhibitions archive

The World of the Nebra Sky Disc – New Horizons: themes

The Realm of the Sky Disc

The pyramids in Egypt, the magnificent Minoan palaces in the Aegean – testimonies to early states in the 2nd millennium BC we are quite familiar with. But how did people live at the same time in central Europe? New research in diverse disciplines now brings this era to life.

Was there also a dynasty in central Germany whose rulers were buried in barrows which could be seen from far away? Did they command armies whose weapons we find in great bronze treasures? Did the population live in peaceful times, without castles and fortifications? And did adventurous people travel to distant countries to make contacts and bring new knowledge back home with them?

The State Museum of Prehistory invites you on a journey into the ›Realm of the Sky Disc‹!

Secret knowledge

The Nebra Sky Disc (UNESCO Memory of the World) is an outstanding find from the Early Bronze Age – the oldest concrete depiction of the sky in human history. At the same time, however, secret knowledge is also encoded in its image: Whoever owned the Sky Disc and knew how to read it could set the annual calendar for their society, had power over time.

New Horizons

How did this knowledge reach our region?

The Sky Disc itself is a testimony to the extensive networks of the Bronze Age: The mythological notion of a sun ship probably comes from ancient Egypt, the knowledge about Pleiades constellations from the Middle East. The ring sanctuary of Pömmelte near Magdeburg, discovered only a few years ago, corresponds in its dimensions exactly to the contemporaneous Stonehenge in South England.

But not only ideas travelled far: the copper ore of the disc comes from Austria, the gold from Cornwall. Amber from the Baltic Sea has been found in Saxony-Anhalt, Greece, and even Mesopotamia.

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