LONDON (NWN) – The British Museum will show what it says is the world’s oldest surviving star map in a major upcoming exhibition at Stonehenge’s stone circle.
The 3,600-year-old Nebra Celestial Disc, first discovered in Germany in 1999, is one of the oldest extant images of space in the world and has never been exhibited in the UK before, the London Museum said Monday.
The 30cm bronze disc has a blue-green patina and is decorated with inlaid gold symbols believed to represent the sun, moon, and constellations.
The World of Stonehenge exhibition, scheduled for next year, will mark the first time a disc has been leased from Germany in 15 years. Britain is only the fourth country to be visited by the disc after it was found buried in the ground in eastern Germany.
It will be presented alongside an extremely rare 3,000-year-old solar pendant, which the British Museum has called the most significant Bronze Age gold ever found in Britain.
“The Nebra Celestial Disc and the Sun Pendant are two of the most remarkable surviving objects from Bronze Age Europe,” said Neil Wilkin, curator of the exhibition.
“Although both were found hundreds of miles from Stonehenge, we will use them to shed light on the vast, interconnected world that existed around the ancient site, spanning Britain, Ireland and mainland Europe,” he added. “It will open your eyes.”
The exhibition aims to share the broader history of mythology and cosmology surrounding the 4,500-year-old Stonehenge in the south of England. There will also be hundreds of artifacts from across the UK and Europe that tell the story of Stonehenge.
The exhibition will run from February 17 to July 17, 2022.