It seems that the excess of the ancients goes beyond anything I had guessed, for I have found a new barrow and it contains a wealth of artifacts.
Documents I have recovered inside indicate that the barrow was not a grave site but a home, which is not so uncommon. The owner was apparently a wealthy collector and investor with a taste for anthropology and travel, claiming items of cultural and natural relevance in his journeys across the globe. I found his skeleton in a bedchamber on the upper level of the barrow, where I first accessed the site. Unlike the single-person grave sites we have excavated, the man had no ornamentation about his apparel or placement. I believe he died in his bed without a witness.
It will be some time before I know the full extent of the collection, but I have had some success already: More than twenty of the technical devices, ranging in size from that of a palm to spans more than 10 feet. With this many, I am sure we can find the right electrical output to power one when we return to the university.
* * *
… He had two of them — grizzlies, I think, if I remember the old field guides Frederickson and I found in that hidden library last year — flanking the path through a room just beyond his den. They were taxidermied, of course; bailiffs guarding the exit of a courtroom where dozens of creatures great and small had been judged beautiful enough to skin and mount. As I excavate more of this buried household I think these displays serve only the former owner’s ego, rather than any passion for the creatures or the craft on display. I would rather know the name of the taxidermist than the man who paid him.
I suspect the man’s travels may have been a put-on.
* * *
… Someone broke a shadowbox above the entryway that contains butterfly specimens, but none are missing. The local who pointed me to the barrow may have caused more havoc than he admitted.
In truth, Charles, that any of this should still exist in a presentable shape is an unexpected miracle. Nature has already begun to reclaim the space. Many of the plants are quite hardy and, of course, toxic; I see venora and cuttlecrop, but thankfully nothing that releases spores, and hardly anything contemporary to the era of the barrow’s construction. We should be safe with minimal equipment.
The site is about 1.5 miles northeast of Hobbes and I would like very much if you join me to catalogue its contents. Send word ahead and I will meet you on your arrival.
Your brother in exploration,
4800 x 4800