The Beaton Ossuary (also referred to as Yacata Site 1221B) refers to a burial complex on the northeastern slope of Mount Yacata.
The complex was originally discovered during a field survey by priestess-scholar Annalise Beaton, who counted an unusual number of black-glazed pottery sherds showing the style and fabrication characteristics of the second century.
Beaton immediately recognized that this evidence pointed to the presence of a new and as yet unexcavated complex mostly concealed under the glacial ice, and within a few days was able to uncover the ice tunnels that gave access to the Ossuary.
Ossuary Excavations, First SessionEdit
Slow but technically sound excavations of the ossuary proceeded under the Beaton's guidance for six years. Her work required the use of many pioneering archaeological methods, including wards of stasis on the glacier face to ensure that ice melt did not proceed too rapidly and damage the delicate materials being removed.
In addition, Beaton employed at her own expense a team of dedicated sketch artists and oil painters who recorded with exquisite care the layers of the bones as they emerged from the ice.
It is to their dedication and care that we owe images of the remarkable discoveries within the first rooms of the ossuary. The bones there recovered were arranged in radiating layers and came from bodies that had been disjointed before being laid in their final resting place. Found among these were also beads of jet and ivory, as well as markers of high estate.
Under this first layer of bones was another, significantly larger in size. A femur, plated in gold, was extracted during this period, and it is estimated that it was taken from a man no less than seven feet tall.
Among those who were present at the excavation, there are rumors that a third or even a fourth layer of bones underlay the others and that the deeper set of bones were giant-sized, or that they showed characteristics that were other than human, such as the possession of wings, talons, or horns. No clear illustrations or accounts survive representing this supposed Third Layer, however, because at this time winter set in and Beaton was forced to leave Mount Yacata for the season.
Ossuary Excavations, Second SessionEdit
During the period of winter fundraising, Beaton's work came to the attention of a certain member of the Inmost Ward.
Within two days, Beaton's excavation was canceled by the order of a highly placed royal power, and a substitute excavation was appointed along very different lines, one indifferent to the demands of scholarship and courtesy alike. The substitute excavators used high-powered excavation techniques to remove the remaining bones from the ossuary as rapidly as possible in the hope of reaching the back wall, where it was believed (though on the basis of nothing other than a childish and ill-informed superstition) the Ankh of Eternity might be concealed.
Within a season the ossuary had been so thoroughly overturned and descrated that nothing remained of archaeological value.
The bones and other artifacts taken from the ossuary were piled in enormous refuse piles near the glacier face, where many of them washed downriver and were collected by treasure-hunters and curio-seekers.
The ossuary building itself was partially crushed under the weight of ice after the glacier-stasis was removed, and it is no longer possible to enter it.
Moaog's Hand HoaxEdit
In a disgraceful epilogue to this sad chain of events, for many years after the closure of the Ossuary a relic made the rounds of all the great cities and wards. This relic took the form of a large evacuated glass jar containing what was said to be a preserved giant hand. This was roughly eighteen inches across the palm and correspondingly large in all dimensions. It was referred to, without justification, as Moaog's Hand.
Eventually it was proven that Moaog's Hand was a wax fabrication, and furthermore that it was completely unconnected with the Beaton Ossuary, but by this time so much doubt had been cast on the original stories that many genuine artifacts (such as the gold-plated femur) fell into disrepute.
Beaton herself received a completely undeserved reputation as a charlatan, and died impoverished.