History in Motion – Current World Archaeology #61


I know it’s been a while, but I’d been extremely busy with getting Mercenary Breed fully released. However, now I have time to do more Shadowed Earth Inspiration posts and hope to do at least a couple each week.

Shadowed Earth is an alternate history. Not only is it an alternate history, but it covers all of history from the beginning to the near future and possibly beyond. Like many other alternate history settings, it takes actual events from history and messes with them a bit, providing that chaotic flair that comes from fantasy horror.

This means that Shadowed Earth presents you with a lot of eras to play around in and a lot of historical locations to set your adventures and campaigns in. To feed the urge to make those adventures and campaigns as exciting as possible, there are numerous sources of inspiration that help us better understand or even “relive” history from the eyes of what we know in modern times due to research and archaeological investigation. A wonderful source of inspiration for me is historical magazines.

One of the magazines I purchase on a regular basis is Current World Archaeology, a bi-monthly magazine by Current Publishing out of the UK. Although I have multiple magazines that will be featured in this Shadowed Earth Inspiration series, I’m going to start with Current World Archaeology Issue #61.

The article of interest, to me at least, in Issue #61 is Butrint – Finding a Timeless Oasis. This article takes you to southern Albania, off the shores of the Ionian Sea, adjacent to Lake Butrint. Butrint was the ancient Greek, and later ancient Rome, city of Buthrotum, estimated to have signs of settlement from the late Bronze Age. However, the city has a history that spans almost 3,000 years as it traded hands during times of war.

Although Butrint is apparent evidence from Medieval times, it appears to be the archaeological findings from the Greek and Roman years of Buthrotum that seem the most interesting; not only to the article’s writer, but to those looking to unlock Butrint’s past. Obviously unknown about how much importance Buthrotum had to the ancient Greek and Romans, but the term ‘paradise’ is thrown around loosely when discussing Butrint in modern times. When looking at the pictures, it’s not wonder why the locals refer to it as paradise as the city certainly seemed like a beautiful place to live in its most wonderful days, before an earthquake and tsunami caused much devastation.

Translating this into a location for Shadowed Earth could go many directions. Placing it in the Iron Age, it could be a powerful, magical city hidden from the many enemies of Rome. It could house a great and powerful oracle with visions that spell disaster for the Romans unless they respond quickly. Maybe it was a divine place of worship where the gods had great influence. Maybe the paradise produced by Buthrotum is only possible because it connects to a cosmic bridge. If the characters are of the divine type, this could make an excellent location to serve as their homeland.

On the opposite end of the spectrum is what Butrint looked like after the collapse of Western Rome and it’s much later years when it served as a mere fortress to protect the nearby fishing. What spirits and undead haunt the city’s remains? What was buried beneath the earth after the city was struck by an earthquake and later a tsunami? Could the destruction of the city cause a rift between the realms, allowing chaos to break free? Or maybe the Spiritual Realm has such a strong presence here that shaman become so empowered that they gain the ability to devastate entire populations with what they can harness from residual energy remaining in Butrint.

For more information about Butrint, you can visit the Albanian Archaeological city of Butrint website at:

Or read more about ancient Buthrotum on Wikipedia at:

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