Cartoon of the Nebra Disk and its archaeo-astronomical interpretation
The Story Behind the Disc
In the context of organizing a workshop at some point a really important issue needs to be addressed:
What could a workshop poster look like?
Contrary to the colleagues interested in astronomical imaging, spectroscopists are in a difficult situation.
They never have nice images to show. Fortunately, while ESO was preparing to celebrate its
40th anniversary there appeared
a press release by the
Landesmuseum für Vorgeschichte of Saxony-Anhalt, Germany,
documenting that quantitative astronomy in Europe may potentially date back 3600 years!
Corresponding information about this discovery is also available in
English language, or e.g.
at this mirror site.
While the story which goes with the discovery and recovery of this 32cm diameter bronze disc is by itself already very fascinating,
even more thrilling is that in fact this artifact is being interpreted by archeo-astronomers as a pocket-version of the
Stonehenge site. As the object is the focus of ongoing research it may pay off to
search the web for new scientific results.
In any case, intrigued by the aesthetic beauty of this creation of our colleagues in earlier epochs, who definitely
archived their work in a unique and fascinating way, the photo of the Nebra Disc was selected as the basis of the
workshop poster. In addition, bronze age astronomy was obviously naked-eye astronomy. The very high resolution spectroscopic
observations, even with an 8m telescope like the VLT, will include many objects visible to the unaided human eye. In that sense
the Nebra Disc is not too far from a classical finding chart.