Study: Bronze disk is astronomical clock

Mar 02, 2006

A mysterious Bronze Age disk has reportedly been identified by a Hamburg, Germany, scientist as being one of the world's first astronomical clocks.

The 3,600-year-old Sky Disc of Nebra, discovered four years ago when German grave robbers tried to sell it on the international market, indicates Bronze Age man had a sophisticated sense of time, The Times of London reported Thursday.

"We have been dramatically underestimating the prehistoric peoples," said Harald Meller, chief archaeologist of Saxony-Anhalt, where the disc was found.

The bronze disc is nearly 12 inches in diameter with a blue-green patina and inlaid with a gold sun, moon and 32 stars.

Grave robbers using metal detectors found it in 1999 alongside a pile of bronze axes and swords in a deep forest at the Nebra settlement, The Times reported.

Since the disk's recovery, archaeologists and astronomers had been trying to discover its function. Astronomer Ralph Hansen determined the disc was an attempt to co-ordinate the solar and lunar calendars to tell Bronze Age Man when to plant seeds and when to make trades, giving him an almost modern sense of time, The Times of London said.

Copyright 2006 by United Press International

Explore further: Super Bowl athletes are scientists at work

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Island of broken figurines

Jun 13, 2011

(PhysOrg.com) -- Why were Bronze Age figurines smashed, transported and buried in shallow pits on the Aegean island of Keros? New research sheds light on a 4,500-year-old mystery.

Recommended for you

Super Bowl athletes are scientists at work

Jan 30, 2015

Seattle Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman gets called a lot of things. He calls himself the greatest cornerback in the NFL (and Seattle fans tend to agree). Sportswriters and some other players call him ...

Reintegrating extremist into society

Jan 30, 2015

The UK government's increasingly punitive response to those involved in terrorism risks undermining efforts to successfully reintegrate former extremists, according to research by the University of St Andrews.

Strategies to enhance intelligence analysis

Jan 30, 2015

If you've ever watched a thriller about undercover agents, you probably have the impression that intelligence officers are models of objectivity, pragmatism and sharp, unbiased thinking. However, in reality ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.