In 1894 in a small town in the North of France, a farmer uncovered an old Germanic burial site as he ploughed his field. The discovery itself was questionable, as the farmer had ploughed this field many times before, and never a hint of any burial site had previously been discovered. Nevertheless, its discovery drew a big crowd and people from all over France, especially nobility and scholars, rushed to its location. Its excavation would prove to be just as of a sensation as its discovery, as it seemed doomed from the beginning.
From the moment a date was set to start uncovering the mysterious burial site the region suffered from heavy rainstorms, and one poor fellow had come to death by a strike of lightning. Although tragic, the fellow’s family was fairly compensated, and the excavation continued. However, tragedy would prevail. Only a few days later after the fellow’s death, however, one of the lead archaeologists slipped on the muddy edge of the pit and fell down to his doom. He broke his neck on the edge of an inscribed stone found at the site. Consequently, the excavation had been stopped for the time being until improved weather conditions would allow a safer excavation. They waited two months.
During this hiatus another three men would find their death at the excavation site. All of them were hobby archaeologists, hoping to uncover the secrets of the site. The first had suffered the same fate as the lead archaeologist before him, breaking his neck on the inscribed stone. Another had been struck down by a massive branch of the tree nearby. As there were no witnesses at the time of his death, people assumed that the stormy weather caused one of the old elm tree’s branches to break. This explanation had been widely accepted. The third, however, died under the most bizarre circumstances. He had been found impaled on a rusty metal sword within the pit. The sword, it seemed, had been uncovered by the heavy rainfall and stuck out vertically from the ground. The police determined that the unfortunate man must have slipped and fallen unto its shaft. The people also accepted this theory gladly. Although, the coincidence of the circumstances were more than peculiar.
But peculiar incidents aside, on a sunny October afternoon 1894, the official excavation proceedings would resume. Lord Albon stirred within the scholarly community, claiming that the burial site’s secret would soon be uncovered. They would change the world, he announced. However, as the team arrive back at the site, he only cried in despair. During their absence an earth slide had occurred. The entire eastside wall had slid into the pit and covered half of the burial site under heavy mud and rocks. The burial site would not reveal its secrets yet.
It took about two weeks to return the site to the state they had left it in those many weeks ago. Just as they had finished reestablishing the eastern wall and fortifying it and the other three with wooden beams autumn’s blessing returned. However, they had learned from their previous blunder and halted excavation for as long as it rained. If they only knew that they would only return to the site once more for only a meager two-week work before the year was out.
It did not take long until the burial site turned into Lord Albon’s greatest shame. Long ago were the times of honor and respect he received from his peers. Instead, he found himself at the mockery of his former patrons and fellowmen. It is said that a snarky comment by one of his fellow faculty members about his inability to unearth such an insignificant burial site caused some sort of frenzy within him.
As soon as winter had passed and weather permitted, Lord Albon ordered the return to the burial site. Thus, excavation began again in April of 1895. Just as the year prior the weather would only be one of his enemies. However, this time he did not allow work to be halted. Determined to prove his fellowmen and patrons wrong, he urged to press on no matter the circumstances. And thus, it happened that on May 2nd, 1895, during a thunderstorm which rivalled any hurricane, Lord Albon and his team found themselves sitting in raincoats in the pitch-black pit, inching away at the dirt with their trowels. A task which would have rivalled that of Sisyphus.
A day in mid-June would mark their first success. The inscribed stone, which had caused the untimely demise of two men, was lifted out of the pit. The slab was about the size of a child and roughly as thick as an arm. Its surface was smooth which deep indentations of the letters carved into it. Lord Albon presumed it to be some sort of quartz. It required twenty men to hoist this abomination out of the pit. It was a strenuous and lengthy process with many failures, which ended up costing one fellow’s life. Once out of the pit, it was promptly moved to Paris for meticulous examination at the university.
Excavation continued on, and on the last Sunday of October 1895, Lord Albon declared the burial site excavation concluded. With his spoils in tow, he returned to the university in Paris, where a week later a conference to discuss his findings had been set. However, Lord Albon would never make to his conference. On Monday night he died of a heart attack in his sleep. Due to his unexpected death the conference had been cancelled.
However, the Albon Excavation, as it was be remembered, became infamous, not only for its absurd excavation time of one year and seven months for a simple burial site, but also for its number of fatalities. It had been twelve people, who had found their deaths, including Lord Albon himself. The majority of which died of pneumonia, a consequence of the hurricane-like night. The spoils, which consisted of the inscribed stone slab and various pots containing human, and animal remains, had been stored away in the archives of the university, doomed to be forgotten. The artifacts would never been seen or thought of ever again. The stone slab is still without any translation, to this day.