Oct 07, 2008 - 0 Comments - Uncategorized -

An Artistry Surpassing Anything Else

The things once rearing and dwelling in this frightful masonry in the age of dinosaurs were not indeed dinosaurs, but far worse. Mere dinosaurs were new and almost brainless objects – but the builders of the city were wise and old, and had left certain traces in rocks even then laid down well nigh a thousand million years – rocks laid down before the true life of earth had advanced beyond plastic groups of cells – rocks laid down before the true life of earth had existed at all. They were the makers and enslavers of that life, and above all doubt the originals of the fiendish elder myths which things like the Pnakotic Manuscripts and the Necronomicon affrightedly hint about.

They were the great “Old Ones” that had filtered down from the stars when earth was young – the beings whose substance an alien evolution had shaped, and whose powers were such as this planet had never bred. And to think that only the day before Danforth and I had actually looked upon fragments of their millennially fossilized substance – and that poor Lake and his party had seen their complete outlines – It is of course impossible for me to relate in proper order the stages by which we picked up what we know of that monstrous chapter of prehuman life.

After the first shock of the certain revelation, we had to pause a while to recuperate, and it was fully three o’clock before we got started on our actual tour of systematic research. The sculptures in the building we entered were of relatively late date – perhaps two million years ago-as checked up by geological, biological, and astronomical features – and embodied an art which would be called decadent in comparison with that of specimens we found in older buildings after crossing bridges under the glacial sheet.

One edifice hewn from the solid rock seemed to go back forty or possibly even fifty million years – to the lower Eocene or upper Cretaceous – and contained bas-reliefs of an artistry surpassing anything else, with one tremendous exception, that we encountered. That was, we have since agreed, the oldest domestic structure we traversed.

(Text from At the Mountains of Madness by H.P. Lovecraft, 1931.  Images made from an expeditionary team of photoshop filters lead by Extractor 1.8bf.)