In October of 3005 heavy equipment clearing land for a new subterranean housing complex uncovered two large pieces of concrete reading "sylva" and "sity". Being that these pieces were of the same material and font, this newly discovered site was named Sylva Sity. These blocks of concrete were located 15 meters below the surface at the bottom of the early Anthropocene ash deposit; a layer of volcanic ash from the great eruption of 2010; when a mega-volcanic explosion wiped out most civilizations between 45 degrees latitude north and 50 degrees latitude south. This location places Sylva Sity at roughly 1000 BP. This comes as no surprise as many southern Canadians have discovered artifacts at this level when expanding their subterranean housing. Artifacts found in this region of Ontario Sud, many of which have been surprisingly well preserved in the ash, include one wooden broom, one green rubber boot, five pedal powered bicycles, 16 books, 38 metal thermoses, and 247 plastic handwriting utensils, and 905 plastic bottles.
Total coverage survey using ground penetrating radar was employed to locate large features and determine locations to excavate. Remote sensing revealed 48 acres and 20 places of interest. After reporting these findings to the Canadian Science Foundation I received a grant to excavate four places of interest. Public interest generated by the earlier discovery of a stylized wooden broom resembling early quidditch equipment garnered additional funds from the Global Quidditch Association (GQA) for the complete excavation of the site surrounding the subhome of a Mr. Lowell Katz, who discovered the artifact while digging out a guest room in 3003. Mr. Lowell Katz has since moved having made enough money to purchase a biodome after selling his find to a Quebecois antiquarian in 3009.
The four excavations at Sylva Sity are labeled Site 1, Site 2, Site 3, and Site 4. These sites were chosen using nonprobabilistic sampling. Site 1, at the southwestern potion of Sylva Sity is a small feature chosen for its proximity to the two concrete blocks found. Site 2 is located north of Site 1 and was chosen based on its location in the center of Sylva Sity. Site 3 is located east of Site 1 and was chosen based on its proximity to Site 4 (chosen due to regional interest generating extensive funds), which is east of Site 3 at the far southeast end of Sylva Sity. Excavation, which took place over a four year period led to the discovery of a log cabin at Site 1, an athletic center at Site 2, an science center at Site 3, and an athletic field at Site 4.
Based on Sylva Sity's apparent location beneath the 2010 ash deposit, all sites included stripping excavation to the bottom of this natural level in respect to features and other items of interest revealed using remote sensing. This allowed the excavation team more time to focus on the features instead of sifting through tons of dirt in a region that has been uninhabited from 2010 to 2956. Site by site excavations are as follows:
SITE 1: Patterson Cabin
Following stripping excavation of this site, we performed a clearing excavation of the area west of and immediately surrounding the main feature, a magnificently well preserved log cabin. Clearing excavation near the location of the concrete blocks revealed more concrete blocks. These blocks were fit together by on-site workers and once a large portion of these pieces were found, it formed a sign that read "Transylvania University" and below this "Founded 1780". This was a very significant find as it indicates Sylva Sity (a name we shall continue to use) was an academic setting dating roughly 230 years prior to the 2010 eruption. A very helpful fact to learn from the first excavation. Clearing closer to the cabin revealed a sign detailing the history of the building---which predates the university, and had been moved from its original location, and then again moved several times until reaching its current location, a place once called Lexington. Why had the cabin been moved so much? And who is D.A.R.? A sigil above the cabin's historical information further identifies this site as part of the Commonwealth of Kentucky. Having discovered a significant amount of information from this very small site, I decided further excavation was unnecessary and moved on to the much larger Site 2.
SITE 2: Athletic Center
As stripping excavations for Site 2 reached the bottom of the ash deposit, equipment was impeded by a large staircase, at this point I asked workers to perform a clearing excavation of the staircase toward the building. This resulted in the recovery of two human bodies (one male, one female) and their belongings. Excavation of the staircase produced no other artifacts beyond shards of glass, likely blown out from the eruption. Once the entrance was cleared and several workers were able to enter the building we began clearing out ash from inside the building. This required much effort as the first room was a foyer fronted by a two-story paneled glass window and framed by a staircase leading up three stories, and ash reached to the second story. Clearing the indoor staircase we found two more bodies (female) and were finally able to reach the floor of the foyer. The north end of the foyer appears to have once contained a glass widow overlooking some type of ball court. The ball court area was only partially filled with ash and visible were hoops suspended from the ceiling and the top of audience seating on either side. Between the entrance and the ball court we found a desk. This contained two electronic devices, and more importantly another body (male). The desk contained small paper handouts of some sort, but the writing was indecipherable. Immediately northwest of the desk was an artificial evergreen decorated with paper depicting winged-humans, beneath it a collection of toys. Why did this athletic facility contain a tree surrounded by presents? Were these toys offerings to an avian-like patron deity of athletes that lives in evergreens?
SITE 3: Science Center
Site 3 proved very interesting. Having stripped away the overburden we discovered several entrances to Site 3. We chose to enter at a corner entrance, near which we found a sign reading "L.A. Brown Science Center" under this "Strickland Auditorium". The Science Center had a much less impressive entrance than the Athletic Center, but after careful excavation we discovered this entrance served as a small museum and lounge. It was very welcoming and like the Athletic Center contained an artificial evergreen. However, this evergreen contained stylistic differences when compared to the tree in the Athletic Center: it had no offerings underneath and was decorated with colorful bulbs. In the center of the room were two chairs and one couch. Lining the walls of this room were display cases filled with very crude measuring and medical instruments, extinct avian species, and other biological specimens. Though several items had fallen from the shelves of these display cases that once contained glass, many remained in their original position. A pile of newspapers setting on a table, while faded on top, were preserved enough on bottom to decipher. One, called "The Rambler" was dated December 2, 2010 and featured photos of three young men and a white splotchy blob. A second paper titled "City Region", dated December 6th, 2010 required us to contact our sponsor, the GQA, as it featured two photos of young people with broomsticks (one other photo showed an elderly woman and a child). These newspapers were very carefully placed in portfolios and sent to a lab to be translated into modern Franglish. Our literary sources were further enriched by a table stacked with magazines beneath a bulletin board full of advertising pieces of paper. Much of the bulletin board images had faded, but several advertisements were legible. These samples were removed and added to the portfolio for translation. Finally, near the entrance we found three disposal bins, two blue (one large, one small) and one white. Despite the presence of a recycling symbol on both blue bins, the white bin contained recyclable materials and waste. Beverage containers made up the bulk of the waste, along with a few food wrappers, and papers. No bodies were found.
SITE 4: Athletic Field
Excavations at Site 4 first involved removal of the former subhome of Mr. Lowell Katz, who had left behind much trash and several decrepit pieces of furniture. After clearing out this home and reviewing the blueprints to avoid hitting electrical tubes and water pipes (all of which ran in from the east), tedious removal of the Katz subhome began. During the subhome removal process, we uncovered one female human with one deflated rubber ball and one stylized broomstick, which unlike Mr. Lowell Katz's find, was missing the bristles. Clearly this was the evidence our sponsor was hoping for. Beyond the Katz subhome, Site 4's boundaries were defined by what excavations revealed to be a brick wall and iron fencing. The northwest corner of Site 4 contained a parking lot with seven vehicles of varying sizes and a small building with attached audience seating on the east side of the building, this seating area contained 26 human bodies, 14 male and 12 female. Midway along the west side of Site 4 we found another small building roughly three times the size of the previous. Two doors to this building were unlocked and led to lavatories: one for males, one for females. No individuals were found inside these rooms, which had no windows and as such contained no ash and remained in pristine condition. On the field, we found equipment for two ancient sports: football and baseball. Further, comparing the size of the field to the size of a regulation quidditch pitch, we discovered this was in fact a football field. Complete excavation revealed an additional 15 bodies, 8 female, 7 male. 12 of these individuals included the same stylized wooden brooms recovered earlier in varying condition. 6 crude hoops were found as were 3 additional deflated balls.
The location of this site at the bottom of the early Anthropocene ash deposit in combination with the bodies found outdoors as if killed suddenly, enabled us to date Sylva Sity as a site inhabited from 1780 (the date on the concrete sign and on the informational sign) to 2010, the time of the mega-volcanic on the east coast of what was once the continent of South America. Being far enough inland, Lexington was not flooded by the mega waves that followed this eruption and much of the artifacts recovered were in ideal condition relative to age.
The oldest of these discoveries, found at Site 1, is the Patterson Cabin. The frequent relocation per request of this building indicates its importance to the culture of Sylva Sity. This, in combination with the crude instruments found on display at Site 3, the Science Center, we can assume that this culture valued the material culture of the past, much as society does today given generous funding toward archaeological research. As the university was founded in 1780, the same time the cabin is said to have been constructed, it seems the university also took great pride in this date, having relocated the cabin to its campus, likely to inspire awe of it's age, which according to current British documents, is only four years older than the country in which it existed (the United States, salvaged by Canada after much of the population was wiped out).
Another value of this society was health. This is inferred from the large Athletic Center at the center of Sylva Sity (Site 2), the outdoor Athletic Field at Site 4, and the antique medical instruments and recycling bins at Site 3. The central location of the Athletic Center would have made it easily accessible to all members of this community. The desk facing the south entrance may have served as a welcome point for visitors who paid their dues to the evergreen of winged-humans. This shall be contrasted to the artificial evergreen in the lounge of the Science Center which contained no offerings to the glass bulbs on its boughs. Clearly this society valued the more impressive building over the less impressive museum in the Science Center. This may infer that the institution valued the past, but the inhabitants valued the present. Further, no humans were found at either Site 1 or Site 3. Both Site 2 and Site 4, athletic sites, contained bodies.
Off-site analysis of the 5 bodies found at the Athletic Center revealed young healthy adultolescents (age 18-25) killed by glass shrapnel matching that from the large paneled window. Analysis of the bodies from Site 4 produced varying results. Bodies recovered from audience seating included 6 children, 11 adultolescents, and 9 adults. It is believed some of the vehicles in the parking lot may belong to these adults, as with the children. None of the female adultolescents show signs of having given birth so the children could not be theirs. Of the 16 bodies found on or near the quidditch pitch, many were healthy individuals similar to those found at the Athletic Center, some were less physically fit. This distinction implies that quidditch must not have been an official sport at this time (the global spread of this sport dating to exactly this time period)---not requiring much athletic skill to participate, unlike the modern sport which uses rocket-brooms that require much skill to not fall off of while in flight. The location of the Athletic Field at the outer portion of Sylva Sity and its multi-sport use imply that it may not be one of the more important athletic fields.
The crude assembly of quidditch equipment reveals that this team, which after observation of uniforms appears to have been playing against itself, was not very well established. This may be due to lack of other teams in the surrounding region, interest in playing against this team, or budget. Interestingly, the only safety equipment included goggles, and in the mouths of a few players were found mouth guards---a far cry from the safety equipment worn today, largely inspired by the invention of the rocket broom by a CERN employee in 2501. Analysis of the newspaper article, "City Region", a regional paper unlike "The Rambler" which appears to be a campus newspaper, shows local interest in this sport and team. The article describes a charity match for "The Carnegie Center for Literacy and Learning" occurring after the team attended a global tournament, revealing that they, like modern quidditch players, value the cause of literacy. Sylva Sity, actually Transylvania University, was an athletically enriching academic environment for adultolescents, that valued health, literacy, and history, active 1780-2010.
Blackford, Linda B. "A Sweeper Cell." Lexington Herald-Leader [Lexington, KY] 6 Dec. 2010, A3 sec.: A3-A4. Print.Google. (2010)
Google Earth (Version 6) [Computer program]. Available at
http://www.google.com/earth/download/ge/agree.html (Accessed 13 December 2010)
Transylvania University. The Rambler [Lexington, KY] 2 Dec. 2010, Page 1 sec.: 1. Print.