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Nebra Sky Disc: Germany loans the world’s ‘oldest map of stars’ to the British Museum

An ancient object thought to be the world’s oldest map of the stars is to go on display at the British Museum.

The Nebra Sky Disc is widely believed to be 3,600 years old, dating from the Bronze Age.

The bronze disc was unearthed in Germany in 1999 and is considered one of the most important archaeological finds of the 20th Century.




But its discovery has also been controversial, with a small number of scholars disputing its authenticity.

The Nebra disc measures about 30cm and has a blue-green patina emblazoned with gold symbols representing the Sun, Moon, stars, solstices and other cosmic phenomena.

According to Unesco, which includes the artefact on its global list of important historic documents, the disc gives a unique glimpse into humanity’s early knowledge of the heavens.



It belongs to Germany’s State Museum of Prehistory in Halle but is being loaned to the British Museum.

The British Museum said it would go on show as part of an exhibition on Stonehenge, opening in February.

The disc was discovered near the town of Nebra in Germany along with swords, axes and other items dating from the Bronze Age.

It was found with a metal detector by two illegal treasure hunters, and later recovered by police in a sting.

While it is widely considered to date from the Bronze Age, in the past others have claimed it to be a fake.

And last September, the debate was reignited when two archaeologists published a new paper suggesting the object could be about 1,000 years younger and dating from the Iron Age.