Weevil usually went down the road at full speed when on his way to the cabin. Today he ambled
along towards his favourite bridge and the river. He heard the sound of heavy equipment ahead
and saw in the distance a great red back hoe, digging with its huge bucket and emptying the
contents into a waiting truck
There were four enormous cylindrical tanks nearby waiting to be put in the ground. Weevil stood
as close as he could and was fascinated by what he saw. The construction crew were building the
gas station very quickly and, as Weevil watched, before long the back hoe had completed its
work, was loaded on to a flatbed trailer and taken away. Ready-mix trucks came and went
and the form work on the footings for the gas station office was being filled with concrete quite
rapidly. Another truck was delivering windows and doors.
After a while the noise of the equipment stopped, the men walked off the site, got in their cars
and drove away. It was quitting time, and Weevil was left there alone to walk around the site.
He examined the doors and windows, the half-finished building, the large Esso sign, huge tanks
and holes in the ground. Then he began to imagine how it would look when it was all done.
Suddenly he noticed, not far away, a strange looking building that he'd never seen before. It
seemed to shine in the sunlight, but it wasn't metal, or plastic, or painted wood or brick
As he came closer, part of the facing in front of him seemed to dissolve and he walked through it.
Inside there were men and women strangely dressed, with letters and figures on their clothing.
They were sitting stretched out on comfortable looking couches more like balloons than
furniture, but it seemed as though these seating arrangements could move about because they had
slides to pull, and buttons to push. One man was resting on top of a higher sort of pedestal,
talking to the others in a language Weevil didn't understand at first, but then it became clear to
him, as though he was reading the man's mind. Now he could understand that the man who was
talking had what we would call A19A on his front and back and which showed he was the leader
of a group with 19 people in it and the last A meant Archaeologist.
"5000 years ago", the man was saying, "they must have had a primitive form of religion. We
have found numerous examples of their cult which we think was connected with travel. Small
cult buildings appear at irregular intervals along what were apparently their means of travel
between inhabited areas. From various remains we have been able to piece together what we
think were the names of some of the gods they worshipped in these small wayside temples.
One god was Esso,
another was Shell,
which may have originally been an ocean god as there is the faint outline of a seashell connected
with this god."
"Don't be silly," Weevil said out loud, "they weren't gods and we weren't worshipping them, they
were gas stations, and Esso and Shell were oil companies."
But no one seemed to see Weevil, let alone hear him speak.
"We've found other traces of their culture", the man continued. "A kind of level field not used
for growing things but with four primitive markers in a crude rectangle. We think their priests
must have stood at these markers for some public ceremony. There are traces of galleries with
seats for many thousands of people around the perimeter. But we still don't understand why this
rectangle with the priests is in a corner of the field which spreads out from the corner like the
slice of a pie. Those seated at the outside of the pie shape could have seen little or nothing of
what was going on about 400 feet away."
"We found two shallow underground areas near the rectangle. It seems most likely these were
used for storing the priests' paraphernalia for their rituals, or possibly a sarcophagus (now empty
of skeletons though).
"In some way we have yet to figure out, we feel the design of the field was important for their
agriculturalists in planning the time for planting of crops. Probably there was a particular star
which would rise in line with two of the markers. Unfortunately we haven't yet established
which star that would be, or it could have been a planet, or the sun for events such as the summer
and winter solstice, but so far our results are inconclusive.
"In one lucky find we discovered the remains of a group of wooden clubs which had become
completely enclosed in concrete. This was a surprising find as it indicates they clubbed their
victims to death as part of the ceremony. We had previously thought they were more advanced
"There were probably sacrifices of some kind, but we have yet to find any skeletons buried under
or near the rectangle."
It suddenly dawned on Weevil what the man was talking about. "Hey," said Weevil, "it's a
baseball field. It's a game, not a religion, and the only sacrifice I ever heard of is a sacrifice
fly-ball when there's a runner on 2nd or 3rd base and they want to bring him home. What you're
saying is utter nonsense. You obviously don't know the first thing about baseball."
But the archaeologist went on talking as though Weevil didn't
exist. "Their pottery remains are of very poor quality, much of it was mass-produced, showing
little originality. We've found no evidence they could read or write 5000 years ago, except for
curved or rectangular rocks probably placed at the head of the skeletons in their graves. These
must have belonged to their ruling class who could apparently identify one another by a written
name and were able to keep track of how long they lived. We also came upon one such burial
ground which contained a stone marker "Garden of Rest". Probably Rest was the god of their
underworld. Of the remainder of the vast population we have no trace, but they must have
existed because of the massive earth and concrete works, the stadiums, and fallen ruins of
buildings we find everywhere."
"Of course, lacking writing, there is no evidence for literature or art. We have found occasional
short word forms of 3 letters, eg. IBM, PBS, PCB, ABC, CBS, CBC, IRS, GMC, NBC, and so
on. We think these were probably tribes or clans. They appear in different locations, so there may
have been some form of colonization."
"We have found traces of radioactive material in the ground and under water. There is no regular
pattern to these locations. We were very surprised to find what we suppose was a uranium mine
filled with garbage. This is difficult to explain on any rational basis, although they seem to have
been unable to control radioactive material properly, so perhaps a heretical sect objected to the
mining of radioactive material and blocked up the mine."
"There is another curious fact", the man went on. "We have found evidence of royalty under one
of their major cult centres, where the largest ruins are. We think they were ruled by a king and
queen because underground we have found vast tunnels like a network of caves and in two cases
there were remains of platforms and lettering. One we think was King and the other Queen. It's
difficult to tell why these rulers chose to live underground. Perhaps it is connected with warfare
and fear of attack. There are faint traces of metal there -- iron -- but nothing substantial enough
for us to determine yet what they used the metal for. Or
perhaps there were two cultures, the royalists were defeated and forced to live underground,
while the conquerors lived above ground.
"Just a minute," Weevil expostulated. "You've got it all wrong again. King Street and Queen
Street are subway stations. We have underground electric trains in many of our major cities."
The archaeologist went on, as though Weevil hadn't spoken out loud, "There are numerous
remains of dogs and cats. We suppose these must have been one of their chief sources of food."
"We have evidence for many tall buildings, the ruins of which are now of course crushed and
lying along the ground in those cases where we can still trace them. Such structures could only
have had an exit at one end, ground level, and so were probably used by a slave population, or
criminal prisoners. These were the large numbers of unfortunate ones who must have been
forced to transport on foot goods and necessities between urban centres for the ruling class.
There is no evidence they used the wheel. We have a peculiar phenomenon outside some of their
urban centres: large slabs of concrete thousands of feet long radiating out from a centre.
Probably this was the track for some sort of foot race, or other sport, but it's not clear what the
competition was or how they kept participants and spectators apart.
"That does it," said Weevil, "the dogs and cats were pets and we
had trucks and trains with wheels to move goods around. You don't even know an airport when
you see one."
"In conclusion," the archaeologist said, "I would like to remind you that our work would have
been much easier had it not been for the great explosion about 4,500 years ago, when apparently
an asteroid, which we calculate must have been 20-30 miles long, hit the earth with devastating
results, causing the oceans to boil, stripping much of the surface of the planet, and destroying
most of its life forms."
While there was polite applause and another archaeologist began praising the work, "Thanks a
lot", said Weevil and walked out the way he had entered the building. "So there's going to be a
huge explosion about 500 years from now. I'm glad I won't be around to have to cope with that."
On his way home he thought to himself, "I can't wait to tell Felicity about this, and my parents
about the big explosion and the asteroid." But then Weevil changed his mind, "No," he said out
loud to himself, "I'd better keep quiet about this adventure."
As soon as Weevil had left the strange building the senior archaeologiest looked up and said,
"An interesting child, but badly mannered and very poorly educated. He obviously doesn't know
anything about the 20th century AD."
The archaeologists from 7000 AD had heard and understood every word Weevil had said.