Sunday, 6 October 2013

Busy Doing Nothing in Particular except Reading about the Nebra Sky Disk.

The Nebra sky disk.

 I am still alive and kicking, and because last week was fairly quiet, (except for Friday)  I had no new news to post.   I have had my nose stuck in a book though, and I'm attempting to understand the complex geology of the country in which I live and also the history of the stone quarries in Bathford,  whilst at the same time drinking cups of tea and nibbling biscuits.

I have also been thinking about my visit to Braunschweig next year, and some of the special places I would like to visit.   I must visit the State Museum of Prehistory in Halle, which houses the wonderful "Nebra Sky Disk," a bronze disk with a blue-green patina and inlaid with gold symbols of the heavens.  It is around 30 cm in diameter and  weighs 2.2 kg.   The symbols are interpreted as a sun or full moon, a lunar crescent, and stars, thought to be the Pleiades cluster. Two golden arcs along the sides, marking the angle between the solstices were added later.   The lined arc at the bottom, is thought to represent a rainbow.  

The disk is attributed to a site near Nebra in Saxon-Anhalt in Germany, and dated at c 1600 BC.  The disk is unlike any known artistic style from the period, and was initially thought to be a forgery, but is now accepted as authentic.  In June 2013 it was included in "UNESCO'S Memory of the World" register.

The site was discovered in 1999 by treasure hunters, and the disk and other important artefacts were stolen, not properly recorded, and the site despoiled.   The hoard exchanged hands for large sums of money throughout Germany, but eventually became known to archeologists who contacted the police.  The disk was seized from a couple in Basel during a police sting. During plea bargaining, this couple helped police trace the disk back to the two unlicensed treasure hunters, who lead archeologists to the discovery site in Ziegelrode Forest, 60km west of Leipzig.  The robbers served a year in prison for theft and deception.  I really must see this beautiful object, and it's a trip I can do in a day from Braunschweig.

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