Lost Civilizations of the Greater Continent
The Greater Continent on Aren, and the surrounding land masses, are home to many strange and enigmatic ruins. Among them, many distinct lost civilizations have been identified, about which virtually nothing is none. This section will document a few of them. Al of these civilizations are known or thought to pre-date the Dynastic Period, and many are known to have been wiped out by the Marcon Alliance.
Canton H Culture, Iami
In Iami spread across the Maze grasslands and the Highlands there exist traces of an ancient civilization dubbed "Canton H" for the large earthwork-structures that define the ruins. The name derrives from the first undisturbed site excavated, the 8th such berm documented during initial surveys. Canton H is especially strange because, while thought to have existed during the First Chaotic Period, the earthworks they left behind show no signs of being defensive purpose.
Rather, they would build long, wide berms, usually straight but sometimes in the shape of a capitol T. There are signs that the berms were at the center of villages, and some indication that waddle and dab round houses were built around and on top of them. It is thought the berms formed some ceremonial purpose, but no concrete evidence of the culture survives. Very few artifacts have been found, displaying unusually primitive workmanship when compared to the sale of the earthworks(which are sometimes miles long, thousands of feet wide, and perfectly flat and straight). No traces of metal tools have been found at all, nor any signs of agriculture. The densizens of Canton H. used flint and stone tools.
However, they were highly organized and in possession of a widespread, unified culture. The most curious aspect of the Canton H sites is the lack of any evidence for warfare. At all of the sites examined, no sign has been found of spearheads, sling shot, or defensive fortifications. Small arrowheads, as would be suitable for hunting small game, as well as flint knives, have been discovered, but no evidence for weapons.
The exact age of Canton H. is difficult to determine, but thought to be during the Age of Darkness. The more telling aspect is the way in which it relates to the other ancient civilization in Iami. The funerary practices of Canton H were the use of urn burials and stone cairns, some of which can still be seen today. Curiously, they did not appear to build cemeteries, making it uncommon to find any more than a few burials in a large area.
Fluted Colonnade Culture, Iami
Beside, and sometimes on top of Canton H is the Fluted Colonnade Culture, so named for the distinctive fluted stone columns found at many of the sites. This culture is perhaps even more enigmatic that Canton H. While the nature and purpose of the ruins left behind is far easier to discern, it is the lack of accompanying evidence which makes the remains so puzzling. Several concourses of colonnades have been found all over the continent in a distinct and well-developed style, but no record of their builders. No villages or structures of the same style; indeed no sign habitation for miles around any of the sites, at least none that can be conclusively dated to the same timeframe as the colonnades. Radiocarbon dating(at best unreliable) seems to show that all of the colonnade sites were constructed within a relatively short time frame somewhere between 3300 and 3600 B.G.A..
In stark contrast, all of the sites attributed to Canton H were clearly abandoned by 3700 B.G.A., and no sign of a transition has ever been found. The Colonnade sites are religious or ritualistic in nature, with some theorizing they may have magic properties. Unfortunately auramancers studying the sites have not been able to find anything.
Standing Column Culture, Geth
In Geth there exist hundreds of sites defined by free-standing stone columns. Many outline buildings that have since collapsed, or are partially buried. The layout and size of the columns indicate a cohesive culture builting in the same style, and based on maps of some of the sites they likely held a ritual signficance. Unfortunately, no systematic investigation has ever been published, and may of the better-preserves sites were destroyed during Geth's tumultuous history. Several statues of a strange fishlike idol have surfaced in the hands of private collectors over the years, all claimed to have been bought on the black market and looted from illegal excavations on Geth. Thousands of years of habitation by the Marcon Alliance also left it's mark on the island nation, so without serious examination it is impossible to piece together anything about this mysterious culture.
The Works of the Old Masons, Greater Continent
In the region north of High Mountain, a great many curious stone works have been discovered in most unusual places. Of course given the highly complex history of the region, it is impossible to attribute all of these to some lost progenitor race, but there are a few particularly enigmatic points.
Finds described as being "Works of the Old Masons" are defined as having unusually high quality, displaying a degree of precision that is very difficult to replicate without advanced tools, and being found in places where either no culture with these capabilities is known to have existed, or most particularly in areas that were never inhabited at all.
Greater Continent Megaliths
Possibly created by the same hand are numerous megalithic sites dotted all over the continent but most frequently found north of High Mountain. Often mistaken for standing stones, these are carefully hewn statues forty to eighty feet in height, always carved from a single stone. On occasion, signs of the block having been quarried nearby can be identified, but as often as not the origins remain a mystery.
Of particular difficulty is the weathering of the stones. Many primary and secondary sources from the First Chaotic Period tell of the statues appearing old, but still bearing clearly recognizable features. They were all of armored knights, most carrying weapons; and some accounts tell of astonishing levels of detail. However, by the Golden Age many of the best examples had been destroyed or were otherwise located in now remote and inaccessible regions.
Further still was the mythology surrounding them. While clearly ancient in origin, many had become the subject of local folklore which, when mixed with actual events, provided credible stories about their origins. This led to the few megaliths located in easy-to-reach places to be dismissed or wrongly attributed to Dynastic civilizations until long after the most important details had faded away.
It was not until the publication of the Accepted Histories and the wide scale tabulation of ancient written records that the pattern emerged, and over 100 megaliths predating the dynastic era were identified. Of them, only 40 still existed, and of these few features were still evident. Dozens more would eventually be discovered, but the information was simply lost. The largest unanswered question was whether or not the megaliths showed a preponderance of form, or were copied from each other and adapted to the local style. The direction the statues are facing could also have been useful, but aside from rough guesses about front and back no information is known.
While the megalithic soldiers have been positively identified as artificial in origin, many theorists speculate a connection to the more controversial Doldrome Heads found in the same region.