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Theoarcheology may be concisely explained as the science of excavating dead gods. It is a scholarly subject practiced by few and understood, we may say, by still fewer.

It was Rancticirchiretic of the Bureau of Forgotten Knowledge who discovered back in -40 EC that most features of the Ghyllian landscape are in fact the dismembered and rearranged parts of the various deities of pre-modern Ghyllian cultures who perished through deicide, overweening arrogance leading to suspension, or mere starvation from the lack of worshippers as their supporting cultures went extinct.

Exactly how the gods' bodies became the various mountains, valleys, rivers, and other geographical features of Ghyll is a matter of heated scholarly dispute. Oblibestircus, for example, holds that the gods simply lie where they fell, and that their incorporation into the landscape has been the result of natural processes of desiccation, evaporation, orogeny, and the action of wind and water. Blivingdel, on the other hand, in his paper of -12 EC, advanced the radical theory that it is we, the living, who have rearranged the divine corpses and buried them beneath the sod, moss, and swampland of Ghyll. The undoubted fact that we don't remember doing this he attributes to a hitherto undetected form of amnesia induced by the odors of the rotting flesh, or perhaps from perfumes given off by the sacred 'shrooms that overnight spring up to feed on the corpus.

These foundational questions trouble most workers in the field, who are in fact fieldworkers, but little. The Cranee Historical Society has taken the lead here, maintaining their general standards of careful and scientific exploration and discovery despite the attempts of pranksters, fanatics, farmers, and funicular projectors to interfere. Their own deep historical records allow them to readily identify the particular anatomical structures they dig up with the various half-forgotten gods listed in the Unquisition's archives.

A few particularly secure results certainly deserve to be mentioned here. It is clear, for example, that the Sarfelogian Mountains are the cranium or skullcap of the Nitenmangrey god arbitrarily assigned the number #47. The Plain of Brahang is similarly the back armor of an Alezanian divinity named Y't't't'g K'rk't't't. (The apparently otiose apostrophes represent the vowels, which were not represented in the Alezan Script.) The four peninsulas that between them create the Dagger Seas are pretty securely believed to be fingers, but the relevant god has not yet been identified. For the full details thus far published, consult the Odlucian Library.

There is a daring speculation afoot that Mount Yurch is in origin the wang-dang-doodle of the Creator. No concrete evidence has as yet been found.

Citations: Blivingdel, Creator, Rancticirchiretic.

--John Cowan 13:46, 6 Mar 2005 (EST)

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