Babylon Rising, Chapters 16 & 17

So, Laura has fallen into a hole.  Boy, sure is a good thing that not one other human being in 3000+ years traversed that section of ground.

Murph is understandably distressed to see his wife fall down the hole, and follows her, much as Mr. Salt followed Veruca down the garbage chute in the Chocolate Golden Egg Sorting Room. 

(Fun fact! Murph once pulled a George Bailey and saved a kid who had fallen through the ice.  Color me shocked.)

Turns out Laura has fallen into the exact buried building in which the Bronze Serpent must be located.  Wow.  What are the odds, right?

They’re looking for an amphora.  These are amphoras:

 

Because Murph magically knows (somehow) that the tail of the Bronze Serpent will be stored in an amphora. 

They find one and “something horrible and snakelike crawled out of it and slithered away.”  Murph is nonplussed.  Laura jumps away and falls through another hole.

‘Cause she’s a girl.

For the second time in ten minutes, Laura has accidentally fallen into the exact right place.  A room filled with amphoras. 

We are told that the floor of this room is “flat and free of water.”  In a shocking coincidence, the floor of my room is also flat and free of water.

Obviously, the tail of the Bronze Serpent must be in one of these amphoras.  Because hey, why would it not be?

So, the Murphy’s start devaluing and destroying priceless artifacts cracking open amphoras.  I had no idea that ancient pottery was worthless unless it contained a mythical treasure.

Murph decides that the tail of the serpent wouldn’t be put in a “fat” amphora (like those pictured above), but that it would be wrapped in cloth and then put into a “tall, narrow” amphora so it wouldn’t rattle around.

Um, don’t those amphoras have thin necks anyway?  And wouldn’t wrapping the thing in cloth prevent it from rattling no matter which container you used to store it?

Gah.

But, as we know by now, Murph is never wrong.  He unseals an amphora, takes out something wrapped in cloth, and…

*Spoiler Alert!!!*

…it’s the tail of the Bronze Serpent!

It is just that simple, folks!

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Posted on April 4, 2010, in Babylon Rising, Books. Bookmark the permalink. 8 Comments.

  1. This sounds almost like a reference to the finding of the Dead Sea Scrolls, what with the accidentally finding amphoras in a hole in the ground that contained priceless artifacts and all.

    But “Horrible and snakelike“? So…it wasn’t a snake, it just looked like one? I mean, if a snake crawled out of some pottery I was looking at I’d jump and probably shriek in an undignified octave, so no mocking there, but why “snakelike”? Was it actually some sort of land eel?

  2. They’re not very *snake*like-looking, though.

  3. You forgot to mention that Laura refers to the “correct” room as where “amphoras go to die”. Humor rating: insubstantive.

    Not to mention that it is ACTUALLY MENTIONED that ordinarily, those amphoras would be regarded as very much worth investigating and preserving…Except that the Bronze Serpent, just because it’s BIBLICAL ™ (r) (c), is of infinitely greater priority.

    {sigh}

    They’re sure they’re not re-idolizing the serpent?

    • It’s annoying how they can’t really see how unscientific and ideologically stupid they’re being. The protagonist disregards anything and everything of worth that isn’t tied to to proving the Bible is right–not even just tied to Biblical history (an interesting area of study), it has to definitely prove the Bible’s rightness or it’s worthless.

      Completely disgusting.

  4. Okay, ampohrae are admittedly way outside of anything I’ve dealt with, unfortunately. I’m just a Medieval Studies student with a bit of archaeology on the side. But bloody hell yes, pottery of any kind can be important, and whole pots can be pretty damn rare. Usually any kind of pottery was used until it broke, although if I remember correctly, the oil that amphorae usually held made it pretty much a one-use thing, and often either got simply tipped into a rubbish heap or, as in some cases in the UK, were smashed and used as a road surface.

    Either way, pottery can be incredibly valuable for actually finding out things about what time period a context might be from, what kind of trade was going on in the area, what kind of diet people had, how affluent people were, you name it, pottery is usually one of the main ways of figuring it out. Now some of this can be easier to tell if you’ve got sherds, because a cross-section of a pot can give you a look at how it was fired, but hey. These people aren’t trying to find out anything. Gods forbid they take a look at the pots and find out they’ve got an entirely wrong time period for their bible nonsense to make any sense.

  1. Pingback: Babylon Rising, Chapter 67 « Heathen Critique

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