The Goseck Circle and the Nebra Sky Disk

Constructed by a mysterious culture the Goseck Circle is the oldest known Solar Observatory and it has a connection with the Nebra Sky Disk, the oldest representation of the cosmos.

Known as the ‘German Stonehenge’, the Goseck Henge is an early Neolithic Henge-structure. Is considered the earliest solar observatory currently known in the world.

The people who built Goseck Circle are known only as the Stroke-Ornamented Ware Culture from the fragments of pottery they left behind.  Various pottery shards belonging to this culture were dug out from the site and date back to around 4700 B.C.  The discovery of the shards also suggests that the site was functional for a period of 200 years and then abandoned.

The circle at Goseck is one of more than 250 ring-ditches in Germany, Austria and Croatia identified by aerial surveys, though archaeologists have investigated barely 10% of them.


Archaeologists know nothing about the appearance or language of the people who built Goseck and can only surmise what their religious beliefs might have been.

Some claim the circle was a calendar that told ancient farmers in the area when it was time to begin counting the days until spring planting.  However, excavations of the 6,000 square-meter site have also found the remains of headless skeletons, human and animal bones, decapitated oxen and ritual fires all pointing towards burial rituals or human sacrifice.

Human bones with the flesh scraped off have been found inside the circle

Goseck Henge is considered to be the oldest official solar observatory in the world.  It lies on the same latitude as Stonehenge, just over 1′ minute (approx. 1000m) longitude further north.  Stonehenge and Goseck both lie on the exact latitude at which the midsummer sunrise and sunsets are at 90° of the moon’s northerly setting and southerly rising. This particular phenomena is only possible within a band of less than one degree of which Stonehenge and Goseck lies in the middle-third.  The site also sits on one of two unique latitudes in the world where the full moon passes directly overhead on its maximum zeniths.


The 3,600-year-old bronze Nebra disc was discovered just 25 kilometres away from Goseck in the wooded region of Nebra and is considered to be the oldest concrete representation of the cosmos. The 32-centimeter disc is decorated with gold leaf symbols that clearly represent the sun, moon and starts. A cluster of seven dots has been interpreted as the Pleiades constellation as it appeared 3,600 years ago, almost 2,000 years after the Goseck Circle.

Perhaps the observatory’s most curious aspect is that the roughly 100-degree span between the solstice gates corresponds with an angle on a bronze disk unearthed on a hilltop 25 kilometres away, near the town of Nebra.

Nebra Sky Disk by Simon E. Davies

The two opposing arcs, which run along the rim of the Nebra Sky Disc, are 82.5 degrees long and mark the sun’s positions at sunrise and sunset. The lowest points of the two arcs are 97.5 degrees apart, signifying sunrise and sunset on the winter solstice in central Germany at the time. Likewise, the uppermost points mark sunrise and sunset on the summer solstice. The sun’s position at solstice has shifted slightly over the past millennia, notes Wolfhard Schlosser of the Ruhr University in Bochum, so that the angle between sunrise and sunset is now slightly farther apart than when the Nebra disk and the Goseck circle were made (by 1.6 and 2.8 degrees, respectively).


In 2005 the Goseck Circle was finally rebuilt but the questions still remains…

Our ancestors back then weren’t even supposed to know how wheels worked, never mind how to build something so huge, elaborate, and purposeful.Who were they? Why did the ancient seem obsessed with the skies?

The truth is that no one knows and Goseck and the Nebra Sky Disk still remain a total mystery to traditional archeology.

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