THE NEBRA SKY DISC
The Nebra Sky Disc is currently the oldest known representation of the celestial sky. This was a phenomenal archaeological discovery that took place on Mount Mittelberg, near Nebra (Saxony-Anhalt, Germany) during 1999. It has been shrouded in mystery and controversy since its discovery and it has even been suggested that its design is of extra-terrestrial origin.
A team of looters who were looking for old ammunition and military weapons, discovered, with the help of illegal metal detectors, the remains of a prehistoric settlement that would later be dated to around 1600 years BC. The disc has been associated with the Bronze Age Unetice culture.
Their findings were as follows: The disc stuck vertically on the ground, 2 swords, 2 axes, some bracelets and a chisel. All of these items were surrounded by large stones that protected the area where they’d been deposited. In Germany, these types of private finds are illegal and must be handed over to a museum. This failed to appeal to the looters who, despite its incalculable historic value, sold all the treasures on the black market during 2000 for the sum of £13,000.
That buyer, in turn, tried to sell the artefacts to the prehistoric museums of Berlin and Munich. It was then that the director of the Berlin museum, Wilfried Menghin, received some photos in which he saw the rather dirty Nebra Celestial Sky Disc and some other relics. The asking price for these looted items had now jumped to £200,000.
Menghin responded that the legitimate owner of the prehistoric treasure was Germany as a nation and that the items legally and morally belonged to the Museum of Prehistory in Munich. The illegal seller was clearly disturbed by the conversation and the artefacts vanished again.
NEBRA SKY DISK EXCAVATION SITE
Two years later Menghin was approached with a similar proposition but this time the director of the museum did not want to lose track of the Nebra Sky disc again and went to the Ministry of Culture for Saxony-Anhalt and the matter was turned over to the police. The ensuing investigation initially turned up the Sky Disc and sometime later the remainder of the artefacts were also discovered and the looters arrested. Possibly in exchange for a lenient sentence, the looters confessed the location of the find to be the forest of Ziegelroda on the slopes of Mittelberg at a height of 250 metres. Chemical analyses of the soil found on the disk and the soil from the forest clearly confirmed that this was the original location of the discovery.
The federal office of Saxony-Anhalt the excavation of the site and obtained very good results. It was discovered that these had not been grave goods but a cache where the pieces had been randomly placed inside a metal container with a lid that was typically used to store precious objects. This type of deposit was quite frequent among people of the Bronze Age and archaeologists believe that they were probably offerings to the gods – although this is by no means certain.
ARE THE ITEMS FAKE?
Around the time of the discovery some doubts were raised that such a sophisticated object as the Nebra Sky Disc could have been produced by the people from so long ago. Test were carried out and the specialists agreed that the green bubble shapes found on the surface of the copper carbonate disk could only have been created by a process requiring significant time. The Sky Disc was agreed to be authentic.
THE NEBRA SKY DISC
It has a size of 31 by 32 cm and a thickness that increases from the outside to the interior, from 1.5 mm to 4.5 mm. It is arched and slightly concave and weighs just over two kilograms. Its original colour is unknown as after 3,600 years of being buried it has acquired a greenish coloration due to a patina of copper carbonate. It was found in the ground in an upright position with its obverse facing north. The gold ornamentation, impervious to corrosion, has not been degraded like the bronze.
Research down on the Nebra Sky disc indicate that it was modified on at least three separate occasions. The time scale between modifications is unknown.
The disk originally had thirty-two small round gold circles as well as a large crescent-shaped plate attached to the side.
The section believed to represent the moon is depicted as an eclipse.
A ‘sun boat’ depicted as an arc was added at a later date.
At the time the Disc was concealed it had been modified again and had some thirty-nine or forty-three millimetre (3mm) cut out around its perimeter. Their purpose is unknown.
Although there has been concern raised that the Sky Disc is a fake, multiple tests have revealed that it is authentic – an opinion held by the majority of researchers and archaeologists. Analysis of the bronze indicates that it was made in the region although the gold and tin were probably acquired from Cornwall in Britain. This has raised another problem. The precision tooling and advanced understanding of the stars does seem very advanced for this time period.
However, the early people from this area did have a fascination with the stars and celestial objects. Around 25 kilometres southwest from where the Nebra Sky Disk was found is one of the finest solar Neolithic sites in Germany. This series of ancient earthworks has been compared to Stonehenge, in Britain, with regard to its importance. Studies of the ‘Gosek Complex’ have revealed that it was almost certainly used as a celestial observatory. However, it’s worth noting that while 25km is considered close today, it would have represented a journey of probably two days to the people of the time.
Historians are facing a difficult question. Why did some select groups of Neolithic people seem to have awareness far in excess of the ordinary people of the time? This pattern is not unique and has been observed all across Europe.
A wide range of theories have been put forward about the origin and purpose of the Nebra Sky Disk. These are just some of them …
Celestial Calendar Theory
The most common of the Nebra Sky Disk theories is that the disk represents the constellations of the night sky around 1,400 to 1,600 BC. According to Harald Meller, a German academic and archaeologist, the disk was actually a complex astronomical clock that was used by the ancients to harmonise the solar and lunar calendars of the time.
It is commonly accepted, although far from proven, that the Neolithic people of Europe used solar alignments to predict the changing seasons and use this information to provide advice with regard to the planting and harvesting of crops. This would mean that the Nebra Sky Disk was actually a form of portable stone circle. If this is all true, then the Sky Disk also represents the first record of a multi-calendar synchronisation system.
It is worth pointing out that not all researchers agree with this assessment as it applies to the Nebra Sky Disk or, for that matter, stone circles in general. As they point out. A well-positioned pole in the ground, a length of string and a few wooden stakes can achieve the same effect. They ask, ‘Why were these Neolithic people committing so much ‘expensive’ energy to create complex solutions when simpler ones very easily available?’
Schlosser of the Rurh University at Bochum stated that he believes that these Bronze Age savants already had levels of astronomy knowledge that the Babylonians would only discover a thousand years later. He went on to suggest that questions need to be asked whether this knowledge was acquired locally or originated from afar. Although, he himself makes no connection between the disk and extra-terrestrial events.
This demonstration of advanced Neolithic knowledge has led to speculation that the Nebra Sky Disc represents evidence that early human civilizations were contacted by beings not of this planet. Ancient alien researchers point out that all across the world, from the rock paintings of Tassili to the Nazca lines of Peru, there are ancient depictions of beings that bear a remarkable resemblance to ‘spacemen’ and their technology. While nobody claims that the disk itself is of alien origin, the researchers believe it is a depiction of something that people of the region may have seen and copied – possibly to use as a talisman. In particular they point to the ‘Sun Ship’ at the base of the disk as a representation of a craft capable of travelling through the ‘heavens’.
Nebra Sky Disc – Egypt
According to other researchers, the extreme lower section of the Sky Disc depicts the constellation of Orion. This is a major issue for traditional archaeology as Orion should not have been observable from that position in Germany at that time. In fact, the nearest possible geographic location from which it would have been visible is Luxor in ancient Egypt. The conclusion that was drawn is that the 26- to 30-degree variance can only be accounted for by a simultaneous pole shift. As Nebra Sky Disk theories go – this one is more about proving pole shift rather than the origin of the Sky Disk. As an origin theory it is really suggesting that the design of the disk came from Ancient Egypt.
There have been theories put forward that the Sky Disc represents the wandering and mythical planet Niburu and not the moon at all. This has been prompted ancient astronaut supporters who propose that the disc was a stellar map design was left behind by Pleiadian explorers that visited Europe about 4000 years ago.
Certainly historical texts are full of stories of beings that came from the heavens and told the early agrarian cultures how they should lead their lives. From the Anunnaki of Mesopotamia to celestial gods of early Greek and Scandinavian cultures, the essential story is the same. The people of Earth were in trouble shortly after a period of rapid climate change approximately 7,000 years ago. Beings from the heavens came down and shared their wisdom and the people of earth suddenly experienced a massive jump forward in terms of understanding and technology. These beings eventually left but were then worshipped as gods by the humans they left behind.
Atlantis and Atlanteans Culture
It has been proposed that there is a link between the Sky Disk and the legendary people of Atlantis. The theory suggests that the Atlanteans (Minoans) were a very advanced civilization that helped spread awareness and knowledge to the ancient people of the greater Mediterranean Triangle that stretches from the Black Sea in the East to Egypt in the South and Gibraltar in the West. These people were based on the Island of Thera and were destroyed when the island experienced a massive volcanic eruption between 1642–1540 BCE – around the same time that the Nebra Sky Disk was buried.
The respected German media channel – Die Welt – is said to have speculated that the Nebra Sky Disk could support the audacious hypothesis of the Atlantis explorer Spanuth, which locates the Atlanteans at Heligoland. He claims that the large water circle “sin-wur” is more like the Black Sea than the North Sea. He asks:
“Where did the creator of the Nebra Sky Disk gain his astronomical knowledge, which can only be worked out over generations to achieve this complexity?”
The Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung rightly states. Even the archaeologist Meller concedes: “It is clear that we always underestimate prehistoric people”. This statement may also be characterized by recent research reports from Göbekli Tepe in Turkey. Findings by Dr. Klaus Schmidt, Chief Excavator of the German Archaeological Institute, has already identified an early form of a writing in Eastern Anatolia dating back to around 7500 BC!
According to the mythology of the ancients, Atlas was the bearer of the sky, the father of the Pleiades constellation (seven sisters) which is a key feature of the Sky Disk. Atlas was also the great king of Atlantis.
People Just Don’t Know
According to some, the Nebra Sky Disc would be used to see the sunset during the winter solstice and would predict the changing seasons. However, not all historians agree with this explanation.
As it was found along with swords, it has been suggested that it could be part of a shield with a picture of the sky as magical protection.
As always, interpretation of objects from the distant past is complex.
The truth is that although there are numerous theories, modern science simply doesn’t know what the Nebra Sky Disc was used for.