Perils of Archaeology
Premiered 9/9/9 (9 September 2009)
The continuation of The Myth and Legend of D'PTah, an original novel by Dan Sewell Ward.
Perils of Archaeology
Dimutri was feeling better. From Dookie's viewpoint, that was just so much crap!
Dookie was, however, forced to concede that it was indeed amazing what an exclusive diet of saltines and chicken broth could accomplish in terms of: 1) reducing digestive discomforts, 2) simplifying various elimination problems, 3) providing rest time for bile-oriented internal organs, and, curiously enough, 4) creating a cleared complexion (albeit a complexion in a faded, pale state). There was also, allegedly, the psychologically uplifting sense of knowing with great certainty that in the event of famine, the food situation was not going to get a whole lot worse. In times of plenty, it is easy to forget that one can feel quite a bit better with far less food than normally consumed. Admittedly, the latter might result in a loss or diminishment of self nurturing, but there are surely better ways to pat oneself on the back than eating. Let's face it: the latter need is the whole reason for becoming adept at Yoga.
From Dookie's perspective, there was also the difference between Dimutri's present condition and when the latter was devoting himself to applying deceptive and manipulative intellectual techniques. During the trots, such techniques had been temporarily placed on the back burner [pardon the twisted pun]. Instead of the normal traumas of modern life, Dimutri had been obliged to think primarily in terms of seeking comparative relief. Humans are one of those rare breeds where their current sense of the absolute (status and health) is far less important than the comparison of their current state with their past/future states. If things are improving, life is perceived as good. If things are declining (in any manner), things are bad. It is an incredibly simple formula, and is based upon comparisons with others only when the fortunes of said others is on the increase or the decrease.
From Dimutri's viewpoint, the transition from a latrine intensive state -- where the piped in music was inevitably, Chariots of Fire  -- to one in which he could spend time simply laying (and/or sweating) in his improvised cot... was one of enormous improvement. Accordingly, life for him was good. Much more importantly, it was getting better.
All things are of course relative. On the other side of the tracks, so to speak, Dookie's awareness of the guest's improving condition was that M. A. Duenki was now... if you'll pardon the expression (and the pun)... catching s**t from Dimutri. This largesse (despite Dimutri's ample supplies) was in the form of numerous critical and hopefully beneficial analyses of Dookie's report writing skills. Meanwhile the rest of the site operations continued blissfully on. When an individual of Dimutri's character is confined, or at least encouraged to remain in the very near vicinity of a tent/path/latrine (based strongly on recent past experience), such an individual finds considerably less enthusiasm for interfering needlessly in the rougher, far-from-the-latrine operations. But in the cot, or even in the true tradition of latrines, one such as Dimutri could still read and criticize. Lucky Dookie.
Dimutri's complaints of Dookie's efforts tended to focus on the lack of experience and what the elder statesman termed, “Dookie's undomesticated wildness in terms of joining the more civilized cadre of academia.” Dimutri had known that Dookie had been brought into the fold of civilization by its alleged high priestess, Anna Shamhat, but this was viewed with a professionally cynical eye. Perhaps Dookie had failed to live up to her expectations, and that he was not yet ready to fulfill his support duties. Where after all, were his gray hairs? 'No gray hairs; no wisdom,' was Dimutri's often repeated understanding of life, status, and all things academic.
Meanwhile, Dookie – his optimism still extant despite the shock of discovering the level of ignorance of his alleged superiors – decided he could accept the title of 'wild man'... in this case one brought into the fold by the civilization's (aka academia's) first citizen, Gil. The assumption of academia being the only true civilized portion of modern society was a bit of a stretch, of course, but that kind of thing has been done before. Many, many times. It's a trend. The great minds of academia have always been able to easily find chasms between their lofty intellects and the mindless masses. There was always room to distinguish the routine city dwellers of the civilized world from the barbaric and/or wild creatures of the forest.
With a bit more of a stretch, Dookie could also argue that the machinations of a single woman – a ranking member of any lofty academic cadre – had been the one to align the King and Wild Man in such a way so as to benefit them both. Evidence for this optimism stemmed from the fact that Dookie's skill had clearly improved under the tutelage of Gil, and conversely Gil... with Dookie's covert guidance... might have become a bit less dogmatic and tyrannical in his day-to-night managerial skills. Of course, Dookie continued to seek approval, to make the essential good impression. As for Gil, he was likely only vaguely aware of any alleged Dookie-inspired improvements.
There was just the one nagging concern: If Gil liked Dookie's reports, why not Dimutri? Shock at the obtuseness of authority was one thing; denial of being controlled by people dumber than fence posts was quite another. Thus... the criticism was simply misguided. The managers were not, hopefully, brain dead.
Dimutri's reply had been succinct, if not a bit arrogant: What passes for excellence out in the wilderness does not necessarily pass muster in sophisticated and learned circles. Blunt statements of fact are easily dismissed by the more refined elements of society. What is needed and what must be learned in order to compete in such rarified circles are the arts of diplomacy, insightful analyses, artful presentations, and enough spin to achieve a whole host of specific objectives. These objectives of course must never be stated, but are to be assumed as a matter of survival in the civilized wilds of academia. This is where the worldly Dimutri could assist the lowly Dookie, and perhaps with great effort and persistence on the part of the student, the master could raise the supplicant to the level of M. A. Duenki, researcher extraordinaire.
There are, however, many ways to skin a cat – despite repeated entreaties by the Society to Save Furry Beasts. The transition, transformation, and transmutation from Dookie (as the Fool) to Mikhail Arthanius Duenki (as the enlightened Fool) could also be done via the time honored "Good Grief" Cycle of shock-denial-anger-bargaining-depression-testing-acceptance-detachment-amusement nine-step path of personal growth .Hell... this sort of thing could with luck even lead to having a Royal Title attached. (The Royal Title would, of course, be fictitious, but hopefully amusing.) There would also need to be made a distinction between The Fool's Journey , and a journey of fools. For the moment, however, it was the first stages where Dookie was still preoccupied with delving into what was wrong with Dookie, the shock and denial of the ulterior motives of authorities... instead of the equally important questions of who the hell said what? Why did they say that? And just prior to where do they get off with all of this...? Well... you get the idea.
Accordingly, Dookie found himself throwing himself back into making the reports even better, renewing his efforts and vying for the approval of his newly acquired mentor du jour. Of course, when all was writ and read by Dimutri, Dookie's work was panned, shredded (literally and figuratively), and tossed back into his face (not quite so literally). This was actually good news for Dookie, in that now he would be able to condense denial into a matter of moments and thereafter proceed from shock (and self loathing) directly to anger. It might be noted that such a choice of paths has often made all the difference.
For indeed Dookie... Mr. Duenki, if you please... had become a little pissed.
The only remaining problem (for the moment) would be that such anger would probably show up in his writing. Inexplicably a writer's emotion (e.g., anger, taking a stand, and so forth) has long been known to seep through the sentences and paragraphs of all manner of writing, despite any and all vain attempts to disguise such bleeding in the pages. The only wild card [pardon the pun - 4] was whether or not Dimutri would even notice. It probably helped that Duenki was in a better mood when he drastically revised the next sections of the report.
Archeology is the study of human history and prehistory through the excavation and analysis of physical remains. These physical remains are subject to the whims of fate, the ravages of time, and the capriciousness of both the makers and the analysts of history. There is inevitably a highly selective survival of documents, with time and nature being the primary enemies of true, accurate and complete chronicles... albeit the biased creation and interpretation of documentary evidence are not far behind.
As has often been said, history is dictated and creatively selected (even fantasized) by the winners. There is never a viable reason to assume an ancient document is more representative of the historical truth than much of the self-aggrandizing pulp published by all too modern day academics in their rhodium plated citadels. In addition to the substantial challenges of making sense of the bits and pieces of woefully incomplete puzzles, modern man must also contend with the spin and bias of modern day -- as well as ancient scholars. These factors obviously lead to severe challenges and limitations in interpreting artifacts, their damaged portions, and the fact that virtually everything is taken out of context (then and now).
Enough has perhaps been said of the dismal state of affairs in modern day archeology whereby so-called scholars use every artifice to spin, misdirect, and marginalize contrary evidence to their pet theories. This is really nothing new. Throughout history organizations have gone to the extreme of instructing data collectors and analysts in the field to report only that which confirms or supports previously held theories. Such intellectually dishonest demands are an affront to truth, but are also part and parcel of the field of archeology where limited evidence can easily lead to erroneous conclusions.
As to the makers of history, or more accurately their scribes and chroniclers, the problems are compounded. Not only is there the inevitable bias, but also an inherent necessity to limit and/or select the most appropriate and informative data available, such that the degree of intended bias is up for grabs. To what degree, for example, is the objectiveness of an ancient scribe whose very life may depend upon the caprice of vain and arrogant rulers? This is not a matter of research priority and/or status of researchers within the modern academic community; this is a matter of life and death.
Ideally, a scribe is a generalist and researcher of diverse cultures, including in his or her sway stories of the scribe's times. Such a scribe must be protected from narrow-minded and vested interests, and yet must have access to history makers. They must in fact have the status of the medieval fool who alone could whisper contrary notions to a ruler's ear. Simultaneously, they must have a combination of feminine receptivity and the masculine ability to focus. As it turns out, an additional, useful talent would be a bit of arrogance concerning their undertakings.
One saving grace in the world of archeology is the apparent randomness of whose histories find their ways into modern day hands. Consider, for example, dozens of ancient documents describing crucial events in the history, but which contradict one another to the point that the powers that be are forced to selectively choose and declare canonical only a small portion – while the others are quickly labeled heretical -- and if at all possible intentionally destroyed. What madness lurks in the heart of those who can not comprehend and appreciate a diversity of opinions and perceived facts? Absolute truth is, as they say, an oxymoron. Uncertainty is not a thing to be feared, but rather the icing on the cake of the all-encompassing search for truth.
Traditionally, the primary technique for verifying historical accounts – and to reduce (but never eliminate) – the natural tendency to misinterpret events (both now and then) is to compare evidence from multiple sources. In this way one can theoretically obtain a grander view of history, eliminate intentional misconstructions on the part of history makers, and find common ground in attempting to understand from whence we came. In this view, nothing is heretical, and nothing is granted the status of accepted dogma. As the famous sign says: “Beware of the Dog-ma”.
Which leads us to the narrative in the previous chapter of this interim report. The account is notable in several aspects: From an archaeological perspective, it is impressively complete, in good condition, and has both the sense of credibility and plausibility. It compares favorably with other accounts, but has the advantage of a unique perspective combined with enough detail to fill in the holes of the narratives previously requiring imagination in their interpretations. How does one account for this unique document, and even more importantly, its continued existence after so many years?
One way to preserve truth is to inscribe one's written history on a bronze or metallic sheet. This seems incredible on the face of it, considering the rarity and value of all precious metals. And yet, in ancient times, metals were in fact quite common – at least apparently so. They were mined, forged, and used in the most mundane of situations, including even... astoundingly... toys. Alas, such prolific use of metals in the ancient past has left the modern world with far less resources with which to build a civilization.
Despite everything, however, in ancient times the idea of inscribing a history on bronze sheets might have seemed relatively straight forward. Clearly, anyone wanting to increase the likelihood of their history surviving the ages would – if they had the means and resources – want to commit their story to metal. Many other such ancients have carved their histories into stone – and thereafter declared them sacred in order to reduce the likelihood of their being defaced and/or destroyed. Thus, would those with access to metal sources and metal forming/manipulation technology choose to describe their tales in metal? This might imply a semi-official version of history, but at the very least someone committed to keeping their version of the history alive far beyond the tenure or lifetime of a dynasty.
What apparently was not considered at the time was the subsequent reduction in the availability of metals following The Perl Discontinuity. The end result was that less enlightened discoverers of caches of bronze documents were more likely to melt down the metal and ignore the inscriptions. Rare and valuable metals need not be preserved in their discovered state if other priorities rule.
Thus we have at hand the astounding and extraordinary Myricon discovery, with semi-official, multiple sources, and remarkable candor – all preserved on bronze and other metals.
The Myricon Archaeological Discovery
Nine year ago, as of this writing, one of the most significant archaeological discoveries in our time was made in the Myricon region of Central Ureal (even though at the time, the significance of the find was notably underestimated and poorly reported). The early findings consisted of what was apparently – based on a detailed and careful reconstruction -- a relatively small, double pyramidal styled complex of fifteen circular spheres or stalls constructed in the distant ancient past. The hollow spheres consisted of an unusually durable metal -- a metal somewhat akin to modern tempered bronze -- and were enclosed by a similar metal in the shape of a double pyramid. The latter was unusual in that the top and bottom so-called pyramids consisted of unequal six-sided double pyramids, as required by the geometry of spheres.
Surrounding the complex and completely enclosing it on all sides, top and bottom, had been what was roughly nine feet of dry sand. The sand was in turn enclosed by a fortification of three foot thick stone walls combined with a strange composite of sand, gravel, and an unidentified adhesive. In addition, there were within the resulting composite significant amounts of what analysis determined to be what might best be described as hydro carbonated, cylindrical, solid tubing. This tubing, unfortunately, had been crushed, torn, and for the most part obliterated in terms of its originally intended function.
The sand and fortification, it should be pointed out, surrounded the complex above and below, as well as being on all sides of the six-sided, double pyramidal shape. The design strongly suggests the intention of the builders to preserve the interior containers from the ravages of time and the elements. This latter construction was perhaps intentional by either the original builders or by subsequent groups who had become aware of the complex and for unknown reasons added additional features.
It has been demonstrated, for example, that ancient artifacts which had been immersed in dry sand have tended to best survive the ravages of millennial ages. Furthermore, the use of spheres – even though now crushed and broken – may have been predicated on the fact that the spherical structure is the most likely to resist the enormous forces of fluid pressures (such as at the bottom of a fluid-like sand, or more precisely at watery depths).
At first appearances, the Myricon Complex had been considered to be of relatively minor importance. This assessment was due in large part to the fact that the complex had been relatively small in size by comparison to other contemporary archaeological finds, had suffered substantial damage, and the principal interiors had been in a state of apparent confusion. All of the spheres had in fact collapsed to varying degrees, and only careful attention to detail allowed their reconstruction and the manner in which they had been connected with one another. Furthermore, there seemed to have been little organization or purpose in the apparently multiple sectioned complex other than perhaps as a grouping of storage containers of some kind. In fact, the contents of the spheres consisted almost entirely of enormous numbers of thin bronze sheets apparently etched in some unknown manner with strange and intriguing marks.
The bronze sheets did not initially garner much enthusiasm from the various research teams which occasioned upon the site. This was due to the substantial damage suffered by the complex (massive structural changes and to a lesser degree water and acidic damage). Furthermore, the bronze sheets were in most cases strewn about the complex in what was apparently a random or wasteful fashion. As a final deterrent to further extensive investigation, the complex and its artifacts appeared to be of relatively recent origin. There was also evidence of some bronze sheets melting and fusing together.
Strenuous attempts to decipher the marks on the bronze sheets was at first done essentially on faith that they might represent some form of symbols and which in turn might yield a hereto before unknown language. In addition, the apparently random stacking, scattering, and in some cases wadding of the bronze sheets themselves did nothing to encourage the effort. There was in fact a nagging doubt that the bronze sheets might be nothing more than random machine marks caused by some unknown mechanical device, or at best, a compilation of lists and/or inventories. The entire site could easily have been a waste dump, despite the apparent intention at preservation by the use of sand and the enclosing fortification. There were even concerns that the latter was based on possibly the contents of the spheres within the complex being either toxic or dangerous for other reasons.
This initial lack of enthusiasm in the Myricon find resulted in little work being done at the site other than the prescient action of some researchers to preserve the current condition and prevent further degradation.
Everything changed abruptly when two additional artifacts were discovered quite by accident. These two artifacts lent themselves superbly to their use in nuclear radioactive dating methods – and some researchers  have more recently been so bold as to suggest that the artifacts were intentionally placed at the site precisely for the purpose of dating the site for future generations. This latter conjecture is highly speculative, of course. It is mentioned here, if only for completeness of this report. Furthermore, any such intentions by the builders might also be construed as the efforts of pranksters and others enjoying a good laugh on the foibles of current scientific and archaeological investigations. The very idea that the ancients were aware of nuclear radioactive dating methods is, as the reader can readily imagine, highly questionable.
Nevertheless, and despite whatever the intentions of those who included the artifacts as part of the complex might have been, the all important nuclear radioactive dating was eventually accomplished – albeit on a very low priority basis. It was the nuclear dating which convinced researchers that the complex was quite likely well over a thousand years old, thus predating or being contemporary with the Perl Discontinuity. These extraordinary dating results – even when viewed with an understandable degree of skepticism -- provided the impetus to delve much deeper into the origin and purpose of the Myricon Complex. This additional research involved a two-fold process: a renewed and more determined effort to identify and understand the meaning of the bronze sheets, and two, an attempt to reconstruct in theory the metallic spheres in terms of their original orientation.
Extensive computer analysis of the bronze sheets at first failed to yield comprehensible results until it was speculated that certain special markings on the bronze sheets constituted not only a code as to the relationship of the various bronze sheets with one another, but that this relationship was a linear one whereby one sheet led to the next in a logical, albeit antiquated fashion. The very idea of the linear nature of the information led several noted authorities to take renewed interest in the site. Furthermore, the code was eventually determined to include additional markings on one edge of each of the bronze sheets, which suggested an organizing technique of somewhat primitive design, but an organizing technique nonetheless.
Eventually, the long anticipated breakthrough occurred and dedicated scholars were able to begin interpreting many of the various symbols. Based on some of the more sophisticated techniques of modern archeology, the symbols were found to not only constitute a rudimentary form of a linear alphabet (in and of itself a fascinating object of study), but in fact the symbols could be grouped so as to form abstract concepts, words, and trains of thought. Instead of lists, there was every appearance of a narrative, perhaps several.
The very existence of such symbols was only the beginning of the excitement as renewed efforts were able to identify one grouping of bronze sheets as being portions of a rudimentary dictionary or at the very least a collage of symbol groupings and their inherent meanings. The implication was immense: the builders of the complex had apparently and with specific intention endeavored to provide a means by which future intelligent beings could find a way to decipher the bronze sheets, and thus pass on the history or the mythology of the original builders. Such a long view of history – or even the possibility of such a view -- suddenly made the complex builders of intense interest to modern day researchers.
The process of organizing, collating, and interpreting the results is currently an ongoing effort. There appear to be a variety of widely diverse linear texts on different subjects. Unfortunately, many of the bronze sheet groupings are incomplete, some damaged beyond easy or eventual reconstruction, and some sufficiently alien to modern understandings of the nature of the universe as to make them of limited interest except to the most dedicated scholars. Furthermore, there is the inescapable necessity of priorities being established in scientific investigations as to which bronze sheets would be analyzed and in which order.
This prioritizing was eventually to become somewhat self-fulfilling in that extensive analysis of the outer metallic shells of the spheres showed the spheres had been connected to one another in a very specific manner. Even more exciting was the fact that the spheres were connected such that the mid-level consisted of six spheres surrounding a seventh. These seven spheres were in fact placed in the only geometrical way in which such equal sized circles can connect with each outer circle touching the innermost circle. On top and bottom of this mid level were three additional spheres, and on top and bottom of these levels, a single sphere. The overall effect conformed to the double pyramidal nature of the enclosed metallic structure. The very fact of the close juxtaposition of the spheres itself is of interest in that it constitutes a rudimentary knowledge of three-dimensional geometry on the part of the builders.
This also suggests that the documentary evidence may have been intentionally buried and preserved – and very likely intended for future generations. This would constitute in and of itself an indicator of the unexpectedly high level of civilization in those barbaric times.
This led researchers to speculate that the innermost interior spherical chamber, the one surrounded by the remaining spherical chambers on all sides, might be the most important container in terms of contents. As a result, most of the results to date have been devoted to collecting, collating, cleaning, restoring, and ultimately analyzing this sphere's contents of bronze sheets and the symbols/language deeply etched upon them.
As these first groupings of bronze sheets yielded their secrets, researchers at the site began recognizing the ingredients of many of the more well known legends and myths – those groupings of stories which have influenced so heavily the evolution of modern thought. Even more astounding, several of the scholars had begun to infer that because of the amazing detail contained in many of the stories as told by the bronze sheets that perhaps the assumption that such stories were purely mythological might need to be readdressed and due consideration given to the idea that the stories were more history than myth.
The staggering possibility that the myths and legends with which many of us have been raised and with which we may have raised our own children and grandchildren... the very idea that these stories have an historical basis must be considered to be the height of scientific speculation, at least at the current time. More independent, corroborative evidence will be needed before definitive conclusions can be made. And yet, in the interim, the reader may wish to study the contents of those legendary stories which have been translated and interpreted to date. It is these tales of wonder which most scholars can agree as to the accuracy of their translations from the bronze sheets. Whether or not the translations can be construed as an essential addition to ancient history is yet another matter entirely.
These possibilities are precisely the reason for disseminating the information, even as an interim report, of which this report is the first of several.
Dookie could only smile. 'Good stuff', he thought. Probably not good enough for Dimwitted Dimutri, but being in the anger phase, Dookie could only shrug off such considerations. Gil would like the material – in large part because it would likely cause grief with Dimutri – and that, for Gil, would be enough. Such assertiveness would of course be limited somewhat by the appearance of Dookie diplomatically yielding to Dimutri in part. Such an ulterior, covert move by Dookie, Dimutri could likely appreciate.
The key, of course, was the persistent and – from Dookie's new appreciation – threatening visit from the PRO Committee. Gil was still resisting with various forms of misdirection, pleading for more time, and at the same time, avoiding hopefully the suspicion that he wanted to keep it all to himself. The latter would, naturally, accelerate the timing of the visit. In many respects, the above report was intended to assist in manning the battlements against the impending barbarian attack.
Meanwhile, Dimutri, the saboteur within their midst, had become sufficiently exorcised so as to insist upon an extension to the above draft – in the fashion of “not enough notes”. Still... the extra did segue well into the segment following, which could represent an ancient description of events.
As an example of the quality of the documentary evidence from these bronze sheets, there is the continuing narrative from a scribe to the professional Warriors of what appeared to be the foremost conquering tribe in those far distant times. We have already seen one such example (in the previous segment), but additional documents provide a continuing dialogue that can only be considered to be astounding in the richness of its detail. In addition, the degree to which these extraordinary finds correlate with and corroborate The Legend of D'PTah should become readily obvious.
Anyone claiming authority and power over others needs influential friends. Disciplined, armed and well trained warriors tend to have their own brand of highly effective influential techniques for use in the control of masses and/or societies. Small wonder that a first item on the agenda for D'PTah would be to rally the warriors around him. They may have been eager to do so, due to what was likely a demonstrated power by NinGish's “blessing” and their own perceived subordination to the angelic or extraterrestrial forces. But they may also have seen the advantage of acting as intermediaries between the vastly superior forces and those without the ability to challenge the concerted might of warriors. It was as if the Warriors understood the power of being their own form of liaison.
It is almost blatantly obvious to any ruling entity with rudimentary intelligence that when one conquers another tribe and thereafter expects to rule over that tribe for a time, that the new ruler does not dismiss the defeated warriors of the conquered tribe and thereby force those warriors to return to their villages in disgrace. For inevitably, these defrocked warriors with their weapons now concealed but within their easy grasp, and simultaneously retaining their training and discipline skills, will form a convert force and become a thorn in the side of any new regime. The wise conqueror, as exemplified by the legendary Alexander the Great, allows both conquered rulers and warriors to maintain their dignity and power, with only the requirement that such power is subservient to the conquering force. Only a total madman would dismiss a trained and armed force to make their own way in a new regime.
D'PTah was obviously not such a madman, and instead ensured a sense of security for those who were most likely to become an immediate threat to the new order to things. With the apparent withdrawal of the forces of NinGish, the warrior class was clearly the ideal choice for encouraging the untrained and essentially unarmed merchant and peasant classes to do as they were told.
May the Truth in All of its Glory Continue to be Pursued
M. A. DUENKI
 In the Kübler-Ross Grief Cycle, the seventh and final stage is one of positive acceptance. In order, the stages are: Shock, Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression, Testing, Acceptance. The "Good Grief Cycle" on the other hands recognizes the Fool before the onset of the cycle, as well as two additional stages at the end of the cycle: i.e., detachment, and finally humor, the latter where the enlightened Fool now reigns. In other words, why stop at (even a positive) acceptance of s**t happens?
 The wild card is traditionally the Joker... aka the Fool. And in those cases where the Fool is not dependent upon any royal court, he becomes nobody's fool.
 W. F. Libby, Speculations on the Intentional Use of Radioactive Dating Methods by Ancient Societies, The Journal of Far Out Theories by Ancestral Great Scientists, Vol. 978, 1679 APC.
2003© Copyright Dan Sewell Ward, All Rights Reserved [Feedback]