British Museum to display ‘world’s oldest surviving map of the stars’

Nebra Sky Disc (British Museum/PA)
Nebra Sky Disc (British Museum/PA)

The British Museum is to display what it says is the world’s oldest surviving map of the stars.

The Nebra Sky Disc is 3,600 years old and will go on show at the London museum next year.

The 30cm bronze disc with a blue-green patina is decorated with inlaid gold symbols thought to represent the sun, moon, stars, the solstices and the Pleiades constellation.

The Nebra Sky Disc will form part of an exhibition at the British Museum (Zak Hussein/PA)

It was discovered in 1999 near the town of Nebra in Germany and is being loaned to the British Museum by the State Museum of Prehistory in Halle.

It is the first time it has been loaned internationally for 15 years.

It will form part of an exhibition on Stonehenge which will open in February.

Neil Wilkin, curator of The World Of Stonehenge at the British Museum, said: “The Nebra Sky Disc and the sun pendant are two of the most remarkable surviving objects from Bronze Age Europe.

“Both have only recently been unearthed, literally, after remaining hidden in the ground for over three millennia.

“We’re delighted that they will both be key pieces in our once-in-a-lifetime Stonehenge exhibition at the British Museum.

“While both were found hundreds of miles from Stonehenge, we’ll be using them to shine a light on the vast interconnected world that existed around the ancient monument, spanning Britain Ireland and mainland Europe.

“It’s going to be eye-opening.”

The World Of Stonehenge will run from February 17 to July 17 next year.

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