The Doldrome Heads are a series of statues carved into stone mountains in the region north of High Mountain on the Greater Continent on Aren. There is significant debate among those who have studied the heads as to whether they are natural, artificial, or natural shapes modified by human hands. Their age, if artificial, would be extremely old, representing the oldest-known archaeological finds on Aren.
The heads are megaliths, carved into stone mountains, and are supposedly of human faces. Many fringe-theorists and speculators believe they date clear back to the Grey War, and are relics of the Mythical Age. The heads are always between one and three hundred feet high, though some are sculpted (or believed to be sculpted) down to the torso. They always face High Mountain. Reconstructions of the faces report to show racial traits not found on Aren (or indeed anywhere in the known worlds).
Debate rages among supports of the heads as to whether they are stylized or realistic. Indeed, many of the formations are so badly damaged, reconstruction is more guesswork than hard science.
While mainstream archaeology accepts that heads are definitely unusual, geologists argue that many of the formations can be explained by natural processes. That they are not statues, just "odd-shaped rocks" to dreaming idealists ascribe human traits. The confirmed existence of megalithic statues of unknown origin has raised serious questions about the Doldrome Heads. A few of the better-explored sites do demonstrate features too regular to be coincidental. Symmetry, most notably, as well as the commonality of direction. Supporters of the heads argue that these features are two precise to be accidental, while detractors counter that, if you look at every single rock on the Greater Continent, you are bound to find ten or twelve that look a lot like heads and are facing the same direction.
The archaeological site at Mounth Theka, however, does provide some very interesting clues.
About a dozen heads have been identified in the region north of the mountain. Proponents of the heads artificial origins speculate that there should be a dozen in each of the four cardinal directions, and point to monuments in the Arcol Steppe which are better-preserved but of similar unknown origins. Unfortunately, directly north of High Mountain lies the Roof of the World, and further east past Arcol is the vast wasteland of The Interior. Heads should exist on the Agras Plain and while many promising sites have been identified, none has proven any more less controversial than the sites in the Lowland Plains
Mount Theka Head
The best preserved and most well-known of the heads lies in the shadow of Mount Theka on the border of Sindall. While a natural origin for the head can be conceived, it possess a very clear symmetry, too perfect to ignore. Unlike the other heads, the entirety of a granite needle was carved away to create the Theka Head, leaving it standing out as an imposing monument three hundred feet tall. The Theka Head is positioned to face directly eastward, on a perfect line with High Mountain. Many reconstructions of the face even show it appears to be leaning back, as if craining its neck skyward to view the distant peak above the Aether.
What makes Theka so important, however, are the nearby ruins (not found at any other proposed site). Directly in front of the head there rests a large tel, or mound. When excavated, this proved to be the ruins of Noramtel, a city-state which existed late in the Age of Darkness, among the first major powers in the region by the start of the Mage Wars. Noramtel was the site of many clay tablets which, when deciphered, allowed archaeologists to piece together much of the city's history. Noramtel was established in around 4000 B.G.A., at a time when the features of the face were still highly distinct. The inhabitants of the city worshipped the head, and built their settlement there in order to construct important temples and make offerings to it.
While the mysticism and beliefs of the Noram are most likely an invention, the fact remains that vivid descriptions of the head as it looked in that era provide a clear certainty for its artificial construction. The Noram describe the head as weathered, but still clearly distinct, and even offer some hints as to the facial structure. According to the Noram accounts, the monument had a kind face, long nose, high cheekbones, and eyes which "peered straight into the past".
By the modern era, the nose was gone and the eye sockets had become great hollows. Much of the forehead was worn away, but the regularity of it was evident. The most striking surviving feature are the cheekbones, which are still perfectly symmetrical. The orbital ridge above the eyes is still plainly evident, and impossible to deny the hand of an intelligent workman.
Also of great importance in the Noram accounts is that the head was already present, they decided to settle before it, and what began as a winter camp eventually blossomed into a mighty city. The archaeological record supports this version of events, which would prove the head was not of Noram construction. Though the Noram did eventually become a sophisticated and well-developed culture, they never had the resources to construct such a monument themselves even at the height of their wealth and power; and it is clear from the records that the head existed long before their zenith.
Another, even more important find lines in the clay and silt upon which the Noram built their city. All Noram construction was carried out with locally quarried stone or mudbrick, they imported very little material(only logs for wooden pillars and roof supports, as far as can be determined; Theka was not forested in this time). However, beneath the lowest layer of the Noram city, archaeologists discovered signs of even older habitation, in the form of blocks of white marble. White Marble is not found anywhere in the region, and some of the stones unearthed weigh as much as 110 tons. The Noram, for all their achievements, never reached the capacity to move stones of such size; and the nearest known deposits of white marble are thousands of miles away.
What is more, the dimensions of the stones are consistent with sites known to have been constructed by the Ancients themselves, a progenitor civilization that existed in Antiquity. Their presence on Aren appears to have been limited, but no other explanation for the find exists.