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In 1999 treasure hunters were scouring the site of a Bronze Age hill fort near the German town of Nebra when they dug down and revealed a three and a half thousand year old bronze disc – the Nebra Star Disk, 1,600 B.C. The Disc was buried with a pair of fine swords and fine tools. This was the first evidence of a new and powerful cast of wizard priests. Richard Rudgley, Pagans: Magic Moments Channel 4 2004
The Star Disc is embossed with gold leaf images of the sun, moon and thirty-two stars. ibid.
The bogs of Denmark have preserved many clues to the daily life and beliefs of the Bronze Age. ibid.
Real people and real ceremonies. Our magician in the grave was a priest in the cult of the sun. His job was to keep the sun rising in the sky. Because in the Bronze Age magic and religion were one and the same. ibid.
Could it be that the legend of King Arthur’s sword in the stone is inspired by the magical smiths of the Bronze Age? ibid.
Deep inside this ancient mine is the key to one of Europe’s biggest archaeological mysteries. It’s a story that begins with a robbery from a burial site in the dark heart of Europe ... At its heart is one small piece of bronze. This is the extraordinary tale of how one small bronze disc is rewriting the story of how civilisation may have first come to ancient Europe. Horizon: Secrets of the Star Disc, BBC 2004
This forest in eastern Germany contains some of Europe’s oldest human settlements. ibid.
In 1999 three men came combing through this forest with metal detectors ... After a brief struggle the earth gave up a treasure it had kept safe for over three thousand years. What these robbers didn’t realise was that they may have dug up one of the most significant archaeological finds of the century ... A fantastic horde of what seemed to be bronze-age treasure. There were jewels, tools and swords. But there was something else too: a disc of exquisite design. ibid.
And for the first time Harald Meller [archaeologist] really took in the disc. There inlaid in gold was the reason why it had been called magical. An incredible picture of the sky with the sun, moon and what seemed to be stars. Nothing like this had ever been seen before. ibid.
‘We could securely date the disc to 1,600 BC.’ ibid. expert
The oldest accurate picture of the night sky in all history. ibid.
In May this year Hollywood releases its latest epic. It’s the story of the Trojan war. But is any of it more than just a myth? Tonight Horizon can reveal the latest scientific evidence about the real Troy. The evidence comes from the written tablets of a lost civilisation; a lost shipwreck and treasure uncovered at Troy itself. Horizon: The Truth of Troy, BBC 2004
The story was composed by the Greek poet Homer almost three thousand years ago. It’s so compelling that for centuries people wondered whether any of it was true. Was there a war fought for love? Did a coalition of Greeks set sail? Did Troy even exist? ibid.
The first breakthrough was made by Heinrich Schliemann in 1870. He was something of an amateur but he had other qualities ... They placed Troy in the north west corner of what is now Turkey ... Fifteen metres down he found a walled palace with a paved ramp leading to a gate. Schliemann thought he had found Homer’s Troy. The rest of the world wasn’t so sure. But in this trench he answered the doubters with a breath-taking discovery: treasure. ibid.
These jewels could never have been worn by Helen. They were more than a thousand years too old. Schliemann had dug down too deep. ibid.
Perhaps there was more to Troy than had so far been uncovered. Outside the city walls [Manfred] Korfmann’s team began to excavate ... A city of the late Bronze Age was now revealed. Korfmann believes it was a sizeable city with a population between four and eight thousand. ibid.
After three thousand years the legendary city of Troy seemed to have become a reality. It seemed there was some historical truth in the myth. But there was still no evidence that Troy had been destroyed as Homer said by an enemy army ... Soon they began to find evidence of violence. ibid.
But were the Greeks capable of mounting an expedition together? ibid.
Another possible motivation for a war began to emerge from the stones of Mycenae. That motivation was greed. ibid.
Korfmann believes that Troy became a wealthy city because of its strategic position as a gateway between two continents. So it seems Troy was a very desirable city, desirable to the Myceneans because of its wealth. ibid.
The late Bronze Age was a time of rich trade, of great wealth being moved across the high seas. ibid.
The Hittites ... A superpower of the late Bronze Age ... The tablets described festering conflicts involving the Myceneans all along the coast ... Conflicts spread over two hundred years. The tablets stated Mycenean warriors had once fought at the gates of Troy to win Helen back. That it was a war of love and vengeance. It makes a wonderful story but it has never seemed very likely. ibid.
The tablets show that Troy was an ally of the Hittites. If Troy was attacked the Hittites were likely to come and fight alongside them. So Homer’s legend appears to have been based on a real conflict between two superpowers of the Late Bronze Age – the Myceneans and the Hittites. ibid.
So there was no face that launched by a thousand ships. The war or wars were not fought for love but more likely for gold and loot. And what of the Trojan Horse? ibid.
A strange disc covered in strange signs dating back to an ancient civilisation over three thousand years old. The Phaistos Disc has stunned historians ever since it was discovered ... Believed to date back over three thousand years. Ancient X Files: Blood of Christ & Mystery Disc, National Geographic 2010
The disc displays two hundred and forty two mysterious characters arranged in groups leading in a spiral towards the centre, and covering both sides. ibid.
Mortimer Wheeler faces his darkest hour as an archaeologist in British India. In 1947 the Crown colonies are on the brink of partition. Civil war is raging. Wheeler has to quit the location of a unique discovery – the cradle of urban civilisation along the Indus river. Who lived here? India: The First Civilisation
Scholars speak of over 50,000 inhabitants. ibid.
The masters of the Bronze Age may have been illiterate. ibid.
A fresh water and sewage system. ibid.
This is Must Farm in the fenlands of Cambridgeshire ... During the Bronze Age this settlement collapsed into the marshy fens. Alice Roberts, Britain’s Pompeii: A Village Lost in Time, BBC 2016
This site has been dubbed Britain's Pompeii. ibid.
Ireland’s museums are rich with treasure, precious artefacts that connect this land to its ancient past. Some are iconic, others overlooked but each one has a story to tell and a unique past in Ireland’s history. Alice Roberts & Gavin Hughes, Ireland’s Treasures Uncovered, BBC 2020
That treasure is the Tara Broach: the broach is on permanent display at the National Museum of Ireland … The original Tara Broach was made hundreds of years after the Celts. ibid.
The Bann Disc: this dates from the first century AD. ibid.
Ireland’s most famous golden treasure: it is the Broighter Hoard, made up of seven gold ornaments … discovered in 1896. ibid.
Ireland’s museums are filled with artefacts, treasures emblematic of the iron age. ibid.
The hoard contained not only the lunula but two gold sun discs pulled from a bog together in Coggalbeg back in 1945. The Coggalbeg hoard sheds new light on our bronze age ancestors. ibid.
The treasure is St Conall Cael’s bell and the shrine that held it. ibid.
Everybody’s heard of the Book of Kells … 680 dazzling pages of illustration and calligraphy. In Medieval Europe it illuminated the story of Christ. ibid.
Waterford’s greatest artefact: the Great Charter Roll. ibid.
Peloponnese: a peninsula connected to the Greek mainland by bridges over a 6km canal … Home to one of the greatest Bronze-Age civilisations – the Mycenaeans. A Greek Odyssey with Bettany Hughes V, Channel 5 2020
Known for producing some of history’s toughest fighters from the warrior heroes of the Bronze-Age Greeks about three and half thousand years ago to the ancient Spartans who dominated this wild landscape a thousand years later. ibid.