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Nebra Sky Disc


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The other night on BBC4 I was watching the lovely Alice Roberts presenting Britain's Pompeii (see http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b07myxws/britains-pompeii-a-village-lost-in-time around about 26:15) about the discovery of a Bronze Age village in the Fens, and was interested to see a piece about the Nebra Sky Disc - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nebra_sky_disk - which was something I'd not heard anything of before and is reckoned to be the oldest depiction of the stars known to man. Primarily they were looking at the extent of Bronze Age trading networks, and how the copper from it came from near Salzburg and the tin and gold from Cornwall, but they also looked at the design. It's reckoned that little clump towards the top may be the Pleiades, and it's all about the sunsets at the solstices, and maybe at what time of year to start planting your crops.

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That's wonderful, and certainly predates the Bronze Age by a looooooong way. I suppose the programme makers would say that the disc is the oldest confirmed view of the night sky, but if those dots in the cave painting aren't the Pleiades I'd be interested to know what they are, because they look exactly like it to me. Fantastic.

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