Trundholm Sun Chariot

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Denkstein at Kirkeåsvejen (21) in the immediate vicinity of the site
Coat of arms of the Odsherred municipality

The Trundholm Sun Chariot , in Danish Solvognen, is a sculpture from the older Nordic Bronze Age (around 1400 BC). It belongs to the collection of the Danish National Museum in Copenhagen .

Trundholm Sun Chariot
ungilded "back" of the sun chariot

Find history

The cult car was discovered in 1902 by a farmer while plowing. The eponymous site is located in a moorland in the former Trundholm municipality near Nykøbing Sjælland in Denmark . In 1996 a total of 21 previously missing fragments were found after an amateur archaeologist in Trundholm found another fragment of the sun chariot and systematic excavations were carried out. The original - especially the wheels - has now been supplemented with these finds.


The approximately 60 centimeter long sculpture is composed of cast bronze parts : a horse stands on two axes, on another axis there is a 25 centimeter large disc covered with sheet gold on one side with driven , concentrically arranged circular and meandering patterns. The total of six four-spoke wheels have only been preserved in fragments, but their free rotation on the axles is still evident. The axes of the disc and horse are connected to each other. On the underside of the horse's neck as well as on the front edge of the disc, a little below half the height, the remains of eyelets can still be seen, which can be interpreted as reins, so that the disc steers the horse.

Interpretation by Flemming Kaul

An actual "car", i. H. an attachment between the axle and the disc is missing (and never existed), which is why Flemming Kaul interprets the sculpture not as a carriage, but as an abstract representation of the mythical journey to the sun. The wheels both under the disc and under the horse are only attached for the purpose of the sculpture's mobility. He interprets the gold-plated side of the disk as the sun - if you look at this side, the horse moves from left to right, like the sun in the sky of the northern hemisphere on its apparent daily path. In the dark side he sees the "night side" or the night's journey of the sun through the underworld. Similar to the "gold hats" , the spiral ornaments could be interpreted as a calendar . However, other interpretations are also possible, because we only associate the color of the material with the impression of a sun. Disc-shaped elements, which are held in different colors due to the material, are u. U. interpreted differently.


The Trundholm Sun Chariot - along with the Nebra Sky Disc found in 1999 - is one of the most important finds from the European Bronze Age. The complicated casting process for the production of the filigree parts indicates a high level of manufacturing technology. It is part of the 2006 culture canon .

The motif of the sun chariot is also known from Egyptian, Chinese, Greco / Roman, Indian, Celtic and Persian mythology and rather points to a primordial myth that had spread in practically all more highly developed cultures.


The Trundholm Sun Chariot was on view from October 15, 2004 to May 22, 2005 in the exhibition The Forged Sky with around 1,600 other Bronze Age finds from 18 countries, including the Nebra Sky Disc, in the State Museum of Prehistory (Halle) . The exhibition took place in cooperation with the National Museum in Copenhagen. In return, the exhibition after Halle was also shown in Copenhagen (July 1 to October 22, 2005). From March 4 to July 9, 2006, the exhibition was still on view in Mannheim.


Numerous copies were made for exhibition purposes. A copy of the sun chariot is in the Roman-Germanic Central Museum in Mainz. From December 6, 2006 to March 25, 2007, a copy of the car was in the Focke Museum in Bremen in the special exhibition Horse-sacrificed equestrian warriors. Driving and riding shown through the millennia .


  • Flemming Kaul : The Myth of the Sun's Journey. Representations on bronze objects from the late Bronze Age . In: Gold and Cult of the Bronze Age. Exhibition catalog, Germanisches Nationalmuseum, Nuremberg 2003, ISBN 3-926982-95-0 .
  • Flemming Kaul: The Trundholm Sun Chariot . In: Harald Meller (ed.): The forged sky, the wide world in the heart of Europe 3600 years ago. Exhibition catalog, Theiss, Stuttgart 2004, ISBN 3-8062-1907-9 , pp. 54–57.
  • Karsten Kjer Michaelsen: Politics bog om Danmarks oldtid . Copenhagen 2002, p. 205. ISBN 87-567-6458-8
  • Christoph Sommerfeld : ... by year and day - remarks about the Trundholm panes . In: Prehistoric Journal 85 (2), 2010, pp. 207–242. ISSN  1613-0804 .

Web links

Commons : Trundholm Sun Chariot  - Album with pictures, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

Coordinates: 55 ° 53 ′ 23.8 "  N , 11 ° 34 ′ 18.7"  E