Horizon

Season 41 Episode 4

Secrets of the Star Disc

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Aired Tuesday 9:00 PM Jan 29, 2004 on BBC Two
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Secrets of the Star Disc
AIRED:
Horizon presents the extraordinary story of how a small metal disc is rewriting the epic saga of how civilisation first came to Europe, 3600 years ago.

When grave robbers ransacked a Bronze Age tomb in Germany, they had no idea that they had unearthed the find of a lifetime. But they knew that it was worth selling. It was a small bronze disc of exquisite design. So they contacted the archaeologist Harald Meller, offering to sell it to him for £300,000.

Meller went deep into the criminal underworld and, after a police sting, he got his disc. It depicted the sun, the moon and the stars. This suggested an understanding of the heavens greater than that of the first great civilisations, like Egypt. Could it possibly be real?

After exhaustive tests, the disc was declared genuine. Then a team of crack scientists pieced together what it meant. What emerged is a true marvel.

This disc, it seems, is a Bronze Age Bible, combining an advanced understanding of the stars with some of the most sophisticated religious imagery of the age. In intellectual achievement and also age, it surpasses anything yet found in Egypt or Greece. It seems that civilisation had already dawned in Europe.moreless

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