Some ancient artifacts are truly puzzling because figuring out their purpose is challenging.
The 2,000-year-old Disco Colgante is an object that was produced for unknown reasons, or at least it seems so to us modern humans. Was it an ancient tool, a high-tech device, or a ritual artifact, or does it offer evidence of our ancestors’ vast knowledge of astronomy?
Who made the Disco Colgante and why? Credit: Fractal Holographic Universe
Of course, it may just be a coincidence, but the Disco Colgante makes us quickly think this is a graphic representation of the Milky Way or perhaps some other spiral galaxy.
How the spiral arms form in this type of galaxy is not entirely sure, but modern astronomers know that most spiral galaxies contain a central bulge surrounded by a flat, rotating disk of stars.
If the Disco Colgante represents the spiral galaxy, it shows ancient people were much more advanced than previously thought.
Mysterious 2,000-Year-Old Disco Colgante
Our ancestors’ profound knowledge of astronomy has surprised modern scientists on several occasions.
Some of the world’s oldest cave paintings have revealed ancient people had relatively advanced knowledge of astronomy. The artworks at sites across Europe are not simply depictions of wild animals, as was previously thought. Instead, the animal symbols represent star constellations in the night sky and are used to describe dates and mark events such as comet strikes.
Ancient Egyptians knew about ‘Demon Star’ Algol’s variability 3,000 years before Western astronomers and constructed many temples, pyramids, and other sacred monuments aligned with the direction of the rising or setting sun, moon, star, or planet, marking an essential day of the year. The magnificent solar alignment phenomenon in Abu Simbel is an extraordinary event when people from all over the world come to watch how the Sun illuminates the face of Pharaoh Ramses II.
Arms of the Milky Way and location of our Sun.
Many ancient civilizations studied the skies and made remarkably accurate solar and lunar calendars, but were these people also aware of the spiral galaxy’s structure?
Disco Colgante is, without a doubt, a fascinating artifact, but it does pose a challenge to anyone willing to determine its purpose. The object is kept at the Rafael Larco Herero Archaeological Museum in the capital of Peru, Lima.
The artifact is estimated to have been produced approximately 2,000 years ago, but Disco Colgante has never been carbonated, and we cannot say how old the disc is.
If you look closer at the disc, you’ll see the number of arms does not correspond to our galaxy’s arms. The Milky Way has four primary spiral arms: the Norma and Cygnus, Sagittarius, Scutum-Crux, and Perseus. If the ancient Peruvian disc represents a spiral galaxy, it’s not the Milky Way.
It’s a beautiful ancient artifact, but its purpose remains a riddle.
On the other hand, the small dot does indeed remind us of our Sun.
It has been suggested the Moche culture made the artifact. The Moche flourished and ruled the northern coast of Peru before the Incas between the first and eighth centuries; at the same time, the Mayas thrived in Mexico and Central America. They dominated the desert through a complex irrigation system, built adobe pyramids, and, like many ancient cultures, used religion to unify society. Archaeologists have unearthed many fascinating Moche artifacts, but nothing that reminds us of this peculiar disc.
The purpose of Disco Colgante remains unknown, but it’s not the first time we have come across puzzling artifacts that resemble parts of some high-tech devices. The ancient Egyptian Schist Disc is equally baffling, and all these old objects simply remind us we still have insufficient knowledge of our ancestors’ history.