A través d'un finestral amb un guardapols molt ornat es veu mitja tona de ferralla espacial
Through a very ornate window you see half a ton of space junk


ABSTRACT The discovery of archaeological ruins in a procedural video game is announced in an internet forum. A group of archaeologists decide to carry out an archaeological expedition inside the video game to study such ruins. As a result, forum users end up discussing the purpose of archaeology and architecture in a futuristic virtual world.

Posted 1 year ago by HuttonOrbital

Sorted by: date

Found it while flying through one of the canyons at Pleiades Sector AB-W B2-4 (Credit to Cmdr Ihazevich for finding the right planet!)
Coordinates: -26.3435, 97.7322
edit: apologies, was so excited I missed a minus sign in my coordinates D:

> Crustay

can it be targeted? if so what does it appear as?

>> HuttonOrbital
Can't be targeted or interacted with so far. People tried ADS to no effect. They're gonna fetch UPs and UAs soon, stay tuned :D

> kreeger
Well found, HuttonOrbital! This will make Elite Dangerous a lot more interesting!

> walaykin
Nice one, great catch.

>> Ihazevich
Happiest moment in my life :P

>>> another_age
Well done Cmdr o7

> bliss000
Which planet is it on?

>> bliss000
9a it is then :)

>>> whininghippoPC
seriously, thank you

> Glifted
Which planet? I’m there now.

>> whininghippoPC
9a, but I’m assuming you’ve found it by now

>>> Glifted
I did. I just followed all the commanders to it. I appreciate the reply though.

> nirmak-reddit
i don’t what it is, but it seems dead for a while

> Zindae
That’s how you do it! Grats!

> JynessaLoraeyn
anyone there, can we make some attempt to estimate the thing’s size?

>> HuttonOrbital
It’s bigger than my Dropship D: And that’s just the centre part.

>>> JynessaLoraeyn
Oh my GOD.
Then it’s very big.

>> Haan_Solo
someone do a mock up of what it would look like a whole!

>>> Mixed_Signal
I’m an illustrator but I’d need a few better shots to make a few mockups

>>> b0mon
I’m going there this evening to investigate and then do some sketches.

> AndrewReinhard
I would like to inform you all that a group of archaeologists from the University of York will start an archaeological research in the site where these ruins are located. I will be accompanied by a team of academicians who will lead a real scale archaeological investigation inside this videogame. The main purpose of this investigation is to use and process virtual space to be able to search for created culture. This is why this find is so interesting for us.

>> DojoCasino

>> Seagall82
And this? Hhaha

>> JynessaLoraeyn
Wow, this is growing

>>> AndrewReinhard
All virtual worlds that came before this one had a limited size that had been thought and created by developers. Videogames with open worlds like World of Warcraft and Skyrim can be used as test fields for archaeologists, but they don’t offer any kind of procedurally generated content, especially when it comes to built environments (structures, villages, monuments, etc.). Therefore, if we are not able to find any organically created element inside of the game, an element that has been created under the laws of its own universe and not under the decision of a programmer in front of his desktop computer, we cannot obtain any result that could be useful for our goal.
However, in this game there are billions of planets to be explored, all of them unique. These planets have been generated following a system of rules and algorithms, without the intervention of anybody, and it is intriguing to us to observe how this rules are interpreted by the game, what do they generated, how is material culture created in these sort of worlds.

>> b0mon
a team of academicians you say? im pretty sure you are doing it on your own

>> DojoCasino

>>> AndrewReinhard
At the moment, our team is formed by 15 archaeologists with interests as diverse as spatial archaeology or zooarchaeology. We even have an ethicist to help the team face problems while meeting other species, possible conflicts, like the possibility of acquiring or repatriating artifacts, etc. Each of us has different research goals.

>> HuttonOrbital
 I think it's a good idea to make the history of the game more complex
It is not about filling in the narrative of the game. Here, we are not being characters in a role-playing game. We come to do a very specific task: Our initial plans include mapping and labeling any potential archaeological site, seeing if we can think some preliminary conclusion about the material culture of the non-human races that we could meet, and creating an archive with everything we find. We will do all this while we ask ourselves the questions that any archaeologist would ask in a site in Reality.
Therefore, in this project there are two types of archaeologies in process:
1. How the videogame creates material culture through procedural algorithms (something we have never seen on this scale and with this detail)
2. How the videogame itself is affected by its code in a strange way.

>> whininghippoPC
Can we find you somewhere? I would like to know more about your work.

>>> AndrewReinhard
Well, right now I have nothing uploaded anywhere. But, if you're interested, at the Leiden achaeogaming conference, I briefly explored the archeology of the Windows XP Solitaire game, focusing on the history of its use, a programming error in its system, the oral history of its development and the context that it shared with users and companies.

>> Glifted
I thought that archeology focused on the search for human culture. What is the point of wasting time looking for a supposed alien culture generated procedurally? I mean, there are thousands of obsolete video game servers where nobody plays anymore but in which all those things that old players built have ended up becoming human virtual ruins. It is already enough work to study this.

>>> kreeger
User FitMC entered the first Minecraft server (2b2t.org), where no one plays anymore, and he found this.

>>> kreeger

>>> kreeger

>>>> walaykin
What a waste!

>> Crustaay
if the goal of archeology is to study past history, it is curious to do archeology in a world that is based 1000 years in the future

>>> nirmak-reddit
Found in a .pdf of a linguistics master's degree from a random university of Buenos Aires:
“Sir Andrew Parrot, veteran cavalry officer of His Majesty, published between 1778 and 1790 four volumes in which he accurately recounted the future events that were to take place in his summer residence in Sussex. Parrot's work is one of the most recognized examples of post-archeology, a historical discipline that explores the field of events that have not happened yet. In a way, his research worked as a stimulus for the new generations of post-archaeologists, who since then have changed the archeology of the future.”

>>>> Crustaay
Sounds similar

>>>> Cmd_Minyi

>>>> WalterTrianna

>>>> WalterTrianna
Some people say that the most relevant events in history are represented in this type of marbles. As if stones, and therefore inert matter in general, could also have memory. Or at least imagination. It is even said that Napoleon ordered to seek images of his great triumphs in these marbles.

>>>>> nirmak-reddit
then it wouldnt be so crazy to think that stones could represent images of future events

>>>>> Glifted
A year ago I was in the Museo del Prado, in Madrid, and in the exhibition 'Metapintura' I saw a sculpture made of stone of the Virgin carrying Jesus that caught my attention. I can’t find the image now, they do not have it in the online catalog of the exhibition. I do not remember the exact details either, but the thing was that the sculpture had not been sculpted by a person, but they found it that way. As if she herself had represented the Virgin and Jesus alone. But the truly mysterious thing was that, according to what I do not know what experiments and geological examinations, they established that the stone had adopted this exact form more than 20,000 years ago. Many years before the birth of Jesus.

>>>>>> nirmak-reddit
It’s really funny to think of a Marian apparition in 18,000 BC xD

>>> AndrewReinhard
Update: The found ruins, which have an organic appearance, are scattered near a depression in the ground. There are fourteen visible artifacts of five different types. It is likely that other pieces might be buried under the ruins. Thirteen pieces have a structure similar to a wing but we do not know their purpose. The fourteen is the largest and is reminiscent of an architectural arch of unknown style. It is probable that these artifacts are the remains of a built structure. We are studying the hypothesis that they may be the decorative motifs of a larger architecture that has disappeared. Maybe these artifacts were crafted using more resistant and durable materials than the rest of the architectural structure, which could not withstand the harsh weather conditions of the planet's surface and eventually disappeared.

An 'art noveau'-like architectural decorative motif of unknown origin
is illuminated by sunlight at the exhibition space

>>>> JynessaLoraeyn
what were they supposed to decorate?

>>>>> AndrewReinhard
We are not able to know exactly. The fourteen piece, as I said, has an arch shape. Supposing that the disappeared architectural structure followed conventions similar to our architecture, and this is to suppose a lot, we can think that it was the decoration of some of the entrances to the building.

>>>> Propolous
It really has an organic aspect. As if based on forms of nature.

>>>>> JynessaLoraeyn
but the natural laws of the world of Elite Dangerous have nothing to do with the natural laws of our world. There is no real gravity for example, everything is based on physics programmed in a code

>>>>>> Propolous
Then it must be based on natural forms following the physical laws of its world.

>>>>> Glifted
Maybe it's an unimportant piece. Perhaps it only decorated a door or a window in a domestic space.

>>>>>> JynessaLoraeyn
haven’t you seen how big it is? i imagine it more easily leading the main hall of a gigantic space station

>>>>>>> Glifted
We don’t know the size of a domestic space of this supposed civilization. Maybe in its culture their dining rooms were 100 times bigger than our dining rooms.

>>>>>>>> Haan_Solo
And how about the possibility that it decorated both places at once? It is a little what is happening now: we arrived at a huge space, lost in the middle of the universe, while sitting on a chair with wheels in a tiny bedroom.

>>>>> PollyBartle
Haha, in the end you will have to hire real architects to design the largest and most important buildings of a video game.

>>>>>> Rick_Mage
The work of the architects has an important theoretical base, but it is firmly grounded on physical reality. If physical laws were different, which they are in a video game, architects would have to question their rational knowledge about architecture.

>>>>>>> Propolous
Os, it is as if these pieces were of a art noveau style, influenced by the organic forms of nature, only that it is another nature.

>>>>>>>> Rick_Mage
Exactly. In this case I would say that the "nature" that influences this architectural style is the genetic algorithm that, within the code of the game, works procedurally.

>>>>>>>> Haan_Solo
they look alike lol

>>>>>>>>> Rick_Mage
And look at this at the Sagrada Familia in Barcelona. He’s carrying a sci-fi bomb

>>>>>>>>>> Haan_Solo

>>>>>> TrubshaRoy
Hello! It’s the first time that I participate in this thread. Nice to talk to you! As I understand, if Elite Dangerous is a world without physical restrictions, how is an architect supposed to work?

>>>>>>> Rick_Mage
self imposing these restrictions

>>>>>>> Propolous
Mmm, probably based on conventions. That is, remembering the restrictions that exist in the real world and applying them in the virtual space. As if it were a nostalgic thing: Although in Elite Dangerous the pillars and foundations of a building have lost all sense because they don’t hold anything (buildings stand anyway), we could keep on building them. By tradition.

>>>>>>>> Rick_Mage
Yes. For example, architects have theories about natural light, but in a world where one light is no more natural than another (because all light is artificial), is this important? Is it the fact that natural light means to look ‘outside’ what really matters? If so, architects could adopt this part of the theories of light, but leave behind the component of feeling more comfortable with natural light. They could do it thinking about the relationship between light and space, but since players can always deactivate shadows (which they always end up doing because their graphics cards are not powerful enough to render them), they would not even need to try.

>>>>>>>>> Propolous
Windows have lost all sense here.

>>>>>>>>> Haan_Solo

>>>>>>>>>> Haan_Solo

Two lamps illuminating the exhibition space with sunlight

>>>>>>>>>> TrubshaRoy
So I think there are (or at least should be) architectural theories applied to virtual spaces. A house would still have walls, not because it needs structures to support the weight of the roof, but because it delimits the private space of the public space. Some new theories will only apply to virtual worlds. For example, houses would not have to adopt characteristics of real houses that are redundant in a virtual world - no rain? Then there is no need to build a sloping roof. However, making them look like real houses would make the environment more persuasive, so it's usually good to do a bit of mimesis. To what degree should these structures match? I do not know this.

>>>>>>>>>> Rick_Mage
Given the lack of interaction in the past between architects and video game designers (you can still see medieval style castles in worlds where there are flying creatures) it is not surprising that designers are forced to learn the principles of architecture from zero.

>>>>>>>>> TrubshaRoy
It would be a good idea for Elite Dangerous programmers to deactivate the shadows permanently. It is unfair that the video game benefits players who do not have them activated. It is really dissapointing that, although you have spent € 1000 on a powerful graphics card, you can not enjoy the game in its maximum graphic quality if you want to have any chance of not being killed in combat. Let me explain: The shadows in this world are of an insurmountable opacity. They are 100% pure black. This makes you disappear for an enemy under the shadow of any rock. It's a strange light, but I guess that's how light should work in environments where there is no atmosphere. The problem is that if someone accesses the configuration menu and deactivates the shadows, it ends up with any possible hiding place.

>>>>>>>>>> DrSpaceJunk
This reminds me of the shadows on the Moon. I think they are very interesting more than the fact that they are part of the theoretical corpus of conspiracy that claims that the arrival to the Moon was a fake. A few years ago, I was in the library of the headquarters of the Science and Technology of Defense Organization in Adelaide (Australia), and I found a book that stuck in my memory. It was a study written by the American Congress, in the eighties, on war strategies in outer space. The chapter on the Moon focused on how lunar conditions would affect hand-to-hand combat. The author, a military expert, indicated that many of the properties of moonlight would turn a gunfight into a particularly interesting situation. For example, if you were hiding in a shadow on Earth, you would still be visible. The light diffuses through our atmosphere and the shadows can be of any type of color.

>>>>>>>>>>> Cmd_Minyi
the color itself is a degree of darkness

Lamp illuminating a small ceramic sculpture with moonlight at the exhibition space

>>>>>>>>>> DrSpaceJunk
On the Moon, however, the shadows are as black as Hades. Although the reflection of light on the lunar surface illuminates the objects in the shadow, if you get deep enough in a shadow, for example, under a rock that protrudes in a crater, you could become invisible. You could also freeze, since the temperature in the shade drops considerably. You can read more about this here: https://www.universetoday.com/93991/why-are-lunar-shadows-so-dark/

>>>>>>>>>>> DojoCasino
In a battle on the Moon with human protagonists, it is very likely that the terrestrial instincts make you believe that running away is the best strategy.

>>>>>>>>>>> Glifted
One thing the astronauts from the Apollo missions brought to the Moon was new shadows, shadows that were cast by machines and bodies and flags and rovers, in an interplay of movement and stillness. The speed of the shadows differed depending on the activity being carried out. Some were solid black and some were textured. They crossed and uncrossed with the angle of the sun and the movement of the astronauts around the tiny landscapes that constituted their lunar experience.
The shadows were captured and frozen in many, many photographs of all Apollo missions; in these photographs, they became a different type of artefact.
And then some shadows left, never to return, and other shadows stayed to be swallowed by the lunar night and to emerge into day again. The shadows of the flags, descent modules, rovers, cameras, and other equipment are now cast over the lunar regolith until something causes the object to decay in tens, hundreds or thousands of years. The objects left behind don't move, but their shadows circle them in diurnal devotion, sundials without a mission. Now, the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter uses the shadows to detect the presence of these orphaned items of material culture.

>>>>>>>>>>> Haan_Solo
Did it take long to find me? I asked the faithful light.
Did it take long to find me? And are you gonna stay the night?

>>>>>>>>>>> Crustaay
nobody remembers this bug?

>>>>>>>>>>>> kreeger

Detail of a broken piece of ceramic on a carpet
with a printed texture on it at the exhibition space

>> Oman-Reagan

Beyond whether a videogame can be understood as an archaeological site, is it possible to do an archeology of space exploration? Because here it's as if we're trying to do both at the same time, right? And, as far as I know, nobody is doing an archeology of those artifacts that are in orbit around the Earth and that, without any doubt, have certain historical and cultural value.

>>> DrSpaceJunk
I'm sorry, but you're wrong. There are scholars and scholars who have begun to investigate the spatial history of our civilization from the field of archeology. In fact, it's a subject I've been with for a while. If we look at the Low Earth Orbit, the area between 200 and 2000 kilometers above sea level, we can see that it is overflowing with space junk, which, as many of you will know, is a significant environmental problem.

>>>> Oman-Reagan
The solution is to destroy all the obsolete satellites that we no longer use.

>>>>> DrSpaceJunk
But, before starting to get rid of all the space debris in orbit, the question we could ask ourselves is whether these artifacts that no one uses anymore have any kind of cultural meaning for us. Can they have patrimonial value? We should, instead of destroying everything without thinking, act with a certain sensitivity.

>>>>> DrSpaceJunk

>>>>> DrSpaceJunk
"Australis Oscar V Satellite" is my favorite archeological device in orbit. In the 1960s, a group of Physics students from the University of Melbourne, together with their classmates and friends, decided they wanted to send their own satellite to space. So they met, and they designed it from scratch. They had no money, so they had to try new technologies, they had to borrow and steal electronic components, they even had to buy material directly from the hardware store. They finally managed to take it off and put it into orbit the year 1970 from the base of Vandenberg's armed forces. They also had volunteers: there were people from 27 different countries around the world who helped to track this little black and white box, sending all the information back to Melbourne, so that their scientific experiments could be carried out. And, in fact, it is still in orbit. This happy striped box is floating in orbit through space. And the interesting thing is that it is part of the spatial history of Australia. So, once again, although technically it can be considered junk, I think it is something more than this.

>>>>>> Glifted
I know the history of this satellite and, I'm sorry to tell you, but the last time it was located was part of a mass of half a ton of metal trash. Over the years the satellite must have collided with other objects in orbit until it ended up forming a shapeless ball the size of a car. The original artifact, which weighed around one and a half kilos, ended up multiplying its weight by three hundred.

>>>>>>> DrSpaceJunk
Then it would be interesting to recover this metal mass and study it. Think of the idea that if we wanted to bring this artifact back to the place where it was created (a student's room), it would mean having to remove the bed at least to fit it. The entire space would be occupied by a 500kg metal mass.

>>> HuttonOrbital
This thread could be compiled in a volume about archaeoastronomy: How the populations of the past understood the phenomena of the sky, how they used these phenomena and what was the role of the sky in their cultures.

>>>> JynessaLoraeyn
:P Yes, it makes sense. How the notion of sky was constructed, the celestial vault, as if it were an architecture. As one who raises his head to understand what materials were used in the construction of the roof of an old factory.

>>>>> HuttonOrbital
If you think about it, we are looking at a different sky. This sky, instead of being up, is inward. It’s contingent.

Someone looking up at the exhibition space

> IceMenthols
This thing looks really old

> veltriben
For someone who wants to buy the videogame expansion tonight to see this. How do coordinates work? How do I land where I want?

> zugy
we are gonna dieee

> Pagefile
I wonder how long this has been here waiting to be discovered

> BearBryant
Nyoh my god.

> RollingMoss42
I stopped playing Elite a few months ago...

> omejia
I don’t understand, what is this game about? Is there a PC version? If yes, what are the differences? regards

See more


Solo show curated by Caterina Almirall
Espai Dos, Sala Muncunill, Terrassa. 2017

Ceramics: Cesc Oliveras
Video: Edgar Díaz
Photography: Clàudia Borràs