Trivium Art HistoryBronze Age

Nebra Sky Disk

Nebra Sky Disk, 1600 BCE — Bronze Age
30 cm30 cm

Nebra Sky Disk is a Bronze Age, Gold, Bronze Decorative Artwork created in 1600 BCE. It lives at the Pergamonmuseum in Germany. The image is tagged Stars, Moon, Night Sky, Heaven, Astronomy, and Astrology.

The Nebra Sky disk is one of the most enigmatic artifacts of the Bronze Age. At just over a foot in diameter, and weighing 2kg, the bronze disk is embossed with thirty-two small gold circles, a large circular gold plate, and two crescents.

As with most artifacts that have no written descriptions from the time if their creation, we have to guess at the meaning of the symbols on the Nebra disk. However, there are some strong clues. The grouping of seven small dots roughly correspond to the Pleiades star cluster, a common landmark in the winter night sky in the Northern Hemisphere. With the astronomical theme established, the disk and wide crescent may be the sun and moon, or full and eclipsed views of either.

The Nebra disk was discovered near Nebra, Saxony-Anhalt, in Germany with two bronze swords, two hatchets, a chisel, and fragments of spiral bracelets. The bronze swords were dated to between 1600 and 1560 BCE, and so by association, the Nebra Sky disk is considered to be the oldest known depiction of the cosmos. 

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