|The 3,600 year old Sky Disk of Nebra is the world's oldest image of the cosmos.|
It caused a world-wide sensation when it was brought to the attention of the German public in 2002, having been discovered at Mittelberg in the state of Saxony-Anhalt two years earlier.
A group of German scientists has deciphered the meaning of one of the most spectacular archaeological discoveries in recent years: The mystery-shrouded sky disc of Nebra was used as an advanced astronomical clock.
The disc maps 32 stars, including the Pleiades, as they appear in reference to a local mountain on the horizon, the Brocken. The Mittelberg ('Central Hill') enclosure is oriented in such a way that the sun seems to set every equinox behind the Brocken, the highest peak of the Harz mountains. The nearby Ziegelroda forest is said to contain around 1,000 barrows.