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Ancient disc may be world's oldest sky map


Posted on Wednesday, 24 December, 2014 | Comment icon 20 comments

The Nebra sky disc. Image Credit: CC BY-SA 3.0 Frank Vincentz
The 3,600-year-old Nebra sky disc may have enabled ancient farmers to keep track of the seasons.
Discovered in 1999, the disc, which depicts representations of the moon and stars, has been of great interest to astronomers and could be the earliest known sky map ever found.

Thought to date back to the Bronze Age, the disc would have been used to predict the best times for sowing and harvesting.

The care and attention taken to produce it as well as its remarkable sophistication has surprised many archaeologists.

"We knew that people back then must have had a certain idea of the seasons and the Moon, as we all have," said researcher Dr. Alfred Reichenberger.

"There are depictions of the cosmos that are older, for example in the chamber tombs of the old pyramids in Egypt. But they are schematic… as of today, there has never been something as concrete as the Nebra sky disc."

Source: Mail Online | Comments (20)

Tags: Nebra Sky Disc

Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #11 Posted by third_eye on 24 December, 2014, 20:17
If anyone is interested in things like these : Celestial stem From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia The ten Celestial or Heavenly Stems (Chinese: ??; pinyin: ti?ng?n) are a Chinese system of ordinals that first appear during the Shang dynasty, ca. 1250 BC, as the names of the ten days of the week. They were also used in Shang-period ritual as names for dead family members, who were offered sacrifices on the corresponding day of the Shang week. The Heavenly Stems were used in combination with the Earthly Branches, a similar cycle of twelve days, to produce a compound cycle of sixty days. Subseq... [More]
Comment icon #12 Posted by quiXilver on 25 December, 2014, 0:27
I'm intrigued by the various zodiacs... what people would see in the stars and what stories they attributed to them.
Comment icon #13 Posted by Cameronesi on 25 December, 2014, 10:45
''Adams Calendar''
Comment icon #14 Posted by Ozfactor on 25 December, 2014, 11:51
What a wonderful find ! .. Lucky it was not sold on the black market and never seen again . Was there a reference to who would have owned it ? A wealthy land owner or do you think a community owned it ? It might have been used by a community / communities , as a share item to assist the local farmers . I am going with the idea that it was owned by a community , simply because a few types of artists and sky watchers would have been needed to make it and if one person owned it , within a short period of time, locals would start watching him and planting when he planted because his crops would be... [More]
Comment icon #15 Posted by pallidin on 25 December, 2014, 17:50
Good catch, seeder, a great historical find.
Comment icon #16 Posted by Dark_Grey on 26 December, 2014, 5:22
How many collective millions of hours have we spent watching the sky to get us where we are today...I wonder sometimes if humanity lost a little something when we lit up the skies and lost sight of the vast universe we live in.
Comment icon #17 Posted by third_eye on 26 December, 2014, 8:02
I took a bunch of tourists out on a night time walk on the beach and all they could look at was their precious mobile internet updates ~ ~
Comment icon #18 Posted by Kenemet on 26 December, 2014, 10:46
You could say the story is over 3000 years old if you want to be picky. I take it you searched this forum to be sure it hasnt been posted HERE before? For the benefit of those who enjoy reading about stuff like this? I recall hearing about it before then. There hasn't been anything new about it in quite awhile. I'd hoped they would find some other artifacts in situ to give more context. I'm more than a little skeptical about the claim that it's the oldest sky disc (it may be the oldest round sky disc) -- it's certainly not the earliest calendar or astronomical observations, as the Babylonians ... [More]
Comment icon #19 Posted by quiXilver on 26 December, 2014, 18:56
A friend of mine had traveled out to California from NYC. I took him camping and we were sitting at about 8,000 ft watching the sun fall into the low lying clouds beneath our feet. He was taking pictures with a digital camera. He'd stare at the sunset through the eye hole, snap a shot... then look at the shot he'd just taken on his view screen and say 'whoa'. Very surreal to watch him, watch a glorious sunset, through a tiny camera lense, virtually ignoring the vista before him.
Comment icon #20 Posted by third_eye on 26 December, 2014, 23:12
Its an ancient problem made worse with modern distractions : No Water, No Moon September 1, 2012 by Stephen Damon When the nun, Chiyono, studied Zen under Bukko of Engaku she was unable to attain the fruits of meditation for a long time. At last one moonlit night she was carrying water in an old pail bound with bamboo. The bamboo broke and the bottom fell out of the pail, and at that moment Chiyono was set free! In commemoration, she wrote a poem: In this way and that I tried to save the old pail Since the bamboo strip was weakening and about to break Until at last the bottom fell out. Nor mor... [More]


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