Ancient find x-rayed
Fellbach, January 19, 2021 – The Nebra Sky Disc is considered one of the most important archaeological finds of the past century. It shows the world's oldest specific depiction of the day and night sky: A vessel is depicted as the central element between the sun and the moon.
There are written records from ancient Egypt where a sun barque (ship) brings the sun back to sunrise in the east at night after setting in the west. The golden arc at the margin of the disc also supports this theory. Traces of gold on the opposite side prove that a golden arc was originally incorporated there as well. Both horizon arcs extend exactly over an angular range of 82 degrees and describe the path of the sunset and sunrise at the find spot between summer and winter solstice. The sky disc gives us an insight into the knowledge of our ancestors about the course of the world and its religious interpretation 3,600 years ago.
Many scientific investigations have already been carried out on the sky disk in order to find out more about its inner secret.
In order to obtain information about the inner structure, the sky disc was x-rayed several times in the past at the State Museum for Prehistory in Halle in Germany – but only with conventional film technology. “The images that we received with conventional technology were quite good but not comparable with today's digital recording technology,” said Heiko Breuer, senior conservator at the State Museum of Prehistory.
The results with the new, large-format digital detector and the X-ray device from EXAMION produced far more brilliant images – and without having to wait extensive periods of time for film development.
“On the new digital X-ray images, we can now see a large number of fine hairline cracks in the material which were formed during forging of the disc 3,600 years ago but which are invisible today because they are hidden deep in the metallic core of the bronze plate,” Heiko Breuer explains, describing the first findings of the X-ray examination.
To assist the conservator, EXAMION provided an experienced X-ray technician to select the optimal imaging parameters for examining the valuable disc.
Bernhard Schleicher, Managing Director of EXAMION, is exited: “It's nice to see that our products are also perfectly suited for examining ancient finds.”