Thursday, 7 July 2016

A scholar's approach to the Gopher people

The Gor-Dun Precursor Culture

Many believe that, because of their present lack of any high culture, the Gor-Dun have never been more than they are.  However, wandering across the steppes will make the open mind wonder anew.  There are strange monoliths and petroglyphs, humps resembling the burial mounds found elsewhere in Genertela, and in the most parched areas ranks of stakes on small hillocks.

It is the purpose of this paper to indicate that there was once a culture, or series of cultures, spread across Pent.  I hope that the department will look upon this with generosity of spirit, and will not dismiss it as has been my experience with my previous three monographs.

 In the names and power of Irippi Ontor, Bright Arrow Of Truth, and She Who Guards Us.


Site 1  (Named as Falber Hill By my Red Haired guards)

 But one day's travel east of the Place of Surrender, this mound was surmounted by three small monoliths, each about half the height of a human.  The monoliths were quite smooth, with engravings on the sides facing outwards from the centre of the mound.  These engravings were identical, being of the form     
                                                       - -
                                                       I I
                                                             which I suggest is a stylised Gopher face.


I first invoked protective wards against any remnant curses, wary of the terrible Fist Of Pain, removed the monoliths (which may now be viewed in Annex 3B)  and laid out a standard Buserian Grid Of Inquiry over the mound.  Our Divine Master guided the process of the dig, which resulted in laying bare a burial site. 

The ashes of the deceased were sealed within a pear-shaped ceramic vessel, and accompanied by the following grave goods:     A notched spear-thrower, engraved with a stylised gopher
                                                     A stone statuette of a pregnant female human
                                                     Multiple flint arrowheads

These may also be viewed in Annex 3B.


 Site 2 (Not named by my guides)

 A further lunation’s ride to the north east revealed a cliff whose lower portions were covered in petroglyphs.  The great majority of these were very rudimentary depictions of bison and mammoth.

There was, however, one very interesting inclusion of a reindeer with a solar disc impaled on its antlers, pursued by a human on skis!  Is it too much to conjecture that this might be the Gor-Dun myth of the loss and return of Yelm Invictus?


Site 3  (Named by the guides, but I was placed under a gaeas not to reveal it)

Avoiding a Korer raiding party, we took refuge in the lee of a hill, which revealed itself to be a shaft grave!  On my own, I was insufficient to lay out an effective Grid Of Inquiry over the whole hill, and had to undertake excavation in a less than adequate style.  However, Our Immortal Teacher led me to an inner chamber after but three nights of excavation.  This chamber was about eight paces across, and rooved throughout with mammoth bones, which proved sturdy after who knows how many years?  (My request for information failing to elicit The Great Lecturer’s grace)

Within were found six pots of the type encountered at Site 1, accompanied by a scattering of ivory shards and flint arrow heads.  Here, however, each pot bore upon it the symbols noted on the monoliths from Site 1, painted in red.  I conjecture these to be the spirit forms of the dead, but they were long past contacting, or so it seemed.

The night after opening the chamber our camp was attacked by six ghosts howling unknown words.

They were weak, and easily driven off.


Site 4  (Un-named)

A series of nine monoliths across a valley.  These were rough and uncarved, and in two cases shattered.  However, the fact that they were perfectly aligned indicates sentient origin.

Site 5  (Un-named)

After two lunations journey to the east, into a most arid region, we came across a complex site with three mounds, a hillock bisected by a line of stakes; and numerous petroglyphs of gophers, humans, hsunchenised human-gophers, bison and mammoths.  While the petroglyphs deserve no special description (although small examples may be found in Annex 3B) the other four deserve special mention.  In many ways, this was the most productive site, although seemingly of a quite different culture, or possibly two cultures.

5A          The first mound was highly resistant to the Buserian Grid, and there were numerous wards and curses still active.  Once penetrated it proved to be a funerary mound, but the five persons buried were all intact skeletons.  One appeared to be male, with the remains of a heavy wooden shield and long bone spear.  Next to him were eight flint spearheads, covered in a reddish powder.

The other four appeared to be female, with numerous armlets and anklets of pierced beads.


5B          The second mound was poorly built and had collapsed inwards long ago.  Using this weak point, I was able to safely unearth three skeletons, all arrayed as per the presumed females in 5A.


5C          The third mound had no active defences, which was a surprise given the contents.  It appeared to be a female shamanic individual, with a variety of unusual items which may be viewed in Annex 3C.  The remnants of a cloak appeared to have been covered in circles of ivory, each marked with unknown runes.  Some of these contain animal spirits.  She also had a copper hand mirror of Sairdite manufacture, bearing on the reverse a scene of three dogs chasing around the exterior and Jajagappa the accursed in the centre.  A well preserved leather cauldron was flattened and used as a pillow.


5D          The hillock was bisected north/south by the stakes, which averaged two hand spans beneath and four above the soil.  Many had fallen, and several showed signs of fire-hardening of the tips.

North of the line there were no finds, whereas south of the line there were fifteen pot burials.  The pots were long and tubular (Cf Annex 3C) and filled with the bones of the deceased.  No other grave goods were to be found.


There being no time remaining for further explorations we returned to the Red Hair Place swiftly, and thence to this temple.

I believe that there can be no cause for doubting that the exhumed dead were Gor-Dun, nor that the cultures indicated were higher than that which we at present see.  I would conjecture that either their culture collapsed under Gamatae pressure, or that we do not see all of their present culture.

I request funding for a further expedition in the coming season.


Delardios Caranhir, Field Researcher Minor.

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