Eldritch Archaeology

After the excavation by the @tinyarchae team wound down, Clarence returned home to his parent’s basement, and began working on the site report. Each time he saved, the screen would reload. In frustration, he shut the computer down… but in the night, he woke up: the ghastly glow of the screen lit the room in blue-grey shadows. He stared at the screen. A single webpage, constantly refreshing…


Draft Report on the Archaeological Research at the Whu Site, South St. Vincent & The Grenadines. NOT FOR CIRCULATION

by Maurizio Martinez


Archaeology Awesome Inc was commissioned to survey at Whu, working under the auspices of Watrall University. The Archaeology Awesome Inc team was lead by Dr. Stephen Lee. Funding was generously provided by the Taylor Foundation. The work became necessary because a new highway scheme will shortly be built in the region. (Actually, since no one will ever read this, Anton thinks it is because Stephen Lee had a compulsion to have sex, so this excuse concerning a new highway scheme was cooked up to cover it..) Thus, Whu was in immediate danger of being lost.

The team was composed of 3 student volunteers. (But the truth is a horrible thing. How many lives were ruined? What ever happened to Maurizio? Please, if you read this, talk to Davis! The police only ever ignored Miller.) A lot of archaeology was conducted by Taylor in 1914, but it was godawful, eh?. The site archive is held in Gius-Na, Bhutan.

Three trenches were opened. Only the location of the last trench is shown on the plan, because somehow the phrase ‘ ionic column the canopic jar o great Cthulhu of chert ‘ (said in jest by Evan, the bastard), called Cthugha into this temporal sphere, who opened a rip in the fabric of space time and the normal 3 dimensions no longer obtained. Try finding that with a total station. Maurizio was driven into gibbering madness by Great Old One, we think.


Moore, Kelly. (1911). Nomads Collate. La-Stox, Denmark. pp419.

Hernandez, Kelly. (1917). Back dirt Moisture. Bia-Kix, Croatia. pp3210.

Johnson, Susan. (1901). Stinky Colonial archaeology. Journal of Flacklamian aerial photography 1(2), 978.


Clarence watched in mounting horror, as every secret and lie and whisper and drop of blood played out across the screen…


So I’m not a horror writer. But what I think I am, what I think I’m achieving with both the bot and the website, is a kind of musical composition. I write the music – the framework for the bot’s cryptic updates, the framework for the never-ending, never finishing site report – and the story is played by the machine, and made intelligible by the reader’s prior expectations of archaeology. The story emerges at the intersection between the framework I erect, the machine’s ability to fill that framework, and the reader’s active understanding. It’s rather like video games in that regard.

Why all my bots descend into gibbering Lovecraftian horror, or cite articles from the 20s and 30s, is a question best left unanswered.