Trundholm sun chariot

Trundholm sun chariot

The Trundholm sun chariot (Danish: "Solvognen"), is a late Nordic Bronze Age artifact discovered in Denmark, that has been interpreted as a depiction of the sun being pulled by a mare that may have relation to later Norse mythology attested in 13th century sources.


The Trundholm sun chariot is a bronze statue of a mare and a large bronze disk, which are placed on a device with spoked wheels. The horse stands on a bronze rod supported by four wheels. The rod below the horse is connected to the disk, which is supported by two wheels. All of the wheels have four spokes. The artifact was cast in the lost wax method.

The sculpture was discovered in 1902 in the Trundholm moor in West Zealand County on the northwest coast of the island of Zealand ("Sjælland") in Denmark, in a region known as Odsherred (approximately coord|55|55|N|11|37|E|). The sculpture is in the collection of the National Museum of Denmark in Copenhagen.

The disk alone has a diameter of approximately 25 cm (9.8 inches). It is gilded on one side only, the right-hand side (relative to the horse). This has been interpreted as an indication of a belief that the sun is drawn across the heavens from East to West during the day, presenting its bright side to the Earth and returns from West to East during the night, when the dark side is being presented to the Earth. A continuation around a globe would have the same result.


The sculpture has been dated to the 18th to the 16th century BC. A model of a horse-drawn vehicle on spoked wheels in Northern Europe at such an early time is astonishing; they would not be expected to appear until the end of the Late Bronze Age, which ranges from 1100 BC to 550 BC.

In Europe, the earliest known "chariots"—rather than ox-drawn carts having solid wheels without spokes—are from the Iron Age, dating from circa the 6th century BC (see Etruscan chariot). Artifacts from the Late Bronze Age, bearing single-spoked wheels, have been found in Switzerland (Corcelettes), Drenthe (Netherlands), and Stade (Germany).


Norse mythology

In Norse mythology, Sól is the personified goddess of the Sun, the corresponding Old English name is Siȝel (/ˈsɪ jel/), continuing reconstructed Proto-Germanic *Sôwilô or *Saewelô. The Old High German Sun goddess is Sunna. Every day, Sól rode through the sky on her chariot, pulled by the two horses Arvak and Alsvid. The sun chariot has been interpreted as representing a bronze age predecessor to the goddess.Fact|date=May 2008

The chariot has also been interpreted as a possible Bronze Age predecessor to Skinfaxi,Lindow, John. (2001) "Norse Mythology: A Guide to the Gods, Heroes, Rituals, and Beliefs", page 272. Oxford University Press ISBN 0-19-515382-0.] the horse that pulled Dagr, the personification of day, across the sky.


Professor of Archeology at the University of Copenhagen, Klaus Randsborg, has pointed out that the sum of an addition of the number of spirals in each circle of the disk, multiplied by the number of the circles in which they are found, counted from the middle (1x1 + 2x8 + 3x20 + 4x25), results in a total of 177, which comes very close to the number of days in six synodic months, only 44 min 2.8 s shorter each.

The synodic cycle is the time that elapses between two successive conjunctions of an object in the sky, such as a specific star, with the sun. It is the time that elapses before the object will reappear at the same point in the sky when observed from the Earth, so it is the "apparent" orbital period observed from Earth.

He asserts his belief that this demonstrates that the disk was designed by a person with some measure of astronomic knowledge and that the sculpture may have functioned as a calendar.

ee also

*Nordic Bronze Age
*Urnfield culture
*Nebra skydisk
*golden hat
*sun worship
*The King's Grave
*Egtved Girl
*Håga Kurgan


External links

* [ Reconstructing the Trundholm Sun Chariot]
* [ "Götter und Helden in der Bronzezeit: Europa im Zeitalter des Odysseus"] , exhibition, Bonn. 1999. Catalogue introduction, wall panel information: [] (.doc format)

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