Item is a technical schematic written on parchment-like surface, measuring 85 × 120 cm. I say parchment-like because although it appears to look like parchment, it is damp-insensitive and completely waterproof, as well as being completely nigh-indestructible to water, fire and almost all the corrosives we tested.
The technical schematics seem to be for a tower, the design of which is very reminiscent of etchings and carvings I’ve seen of the Lighthouse of Alexandria. There’s even a bit of scrawled text on the side, with an arrow pointing to the tower, that makes light of this, and confirms that whatever the design is, it is based on the same Wonder of the World. The primary difference seems to be that instead of a square base, it is hexagonal.
In any case, the technical design seems to be of a clock-tower of some sort, except for the inclusion of lenses and what appears to be electrical and crystal resonators studded in the inside of the building. I’ll let the engineers ponder on this, but without an idea of what the basic principle behind the operation of this tower is, I’m afraid it’ll remain a mystery for quite a while.
What’s most interesting is of course the number of marginalia that peppers the document itself — by my estimation, approximately three dozen marginalia notes were written, in at least six languages, by at least seven hands:
- A variant of Chinese (Traditional)
- Javanese (written in hanacaraka, although examples of it also appear in Jawi)
- Malay (in Jawi)
- An unknown dialect of what appears to be Kelantanese Malay with heavy Thai influence, written in a variant of Hangul (v. strange).
Apart from that, the only other notable matter seems to be a series of glyphs used by all the writers, which can be divided into two:
- A series of glyphs that seem to be anthropic and/or based on objects. Used the way we use emoticons.
- Another series of glyphs that are appended to the beginning of each marginalia, and used by the writers to identify themselves and others in the document.
The glyphs will be marked as « double angles » and will either be « emoticon descriptor » or « PERSON IDENTITY »
Here is a short summary of these marginalia; S&T can fill in the rest:
- « PERSON # 1 » – « laughing figure » Someone has high expectations! Can you say, “Iskandariah Lighthouse”? « laughing figure » « laughing figure » —> pointing to tower.
- « PERSON # 2 » – « rude gesture » There’s nothing wrong with wanting a bit of class in this discussion.
- « PERSON # 1 » – Classical antiquity? Your Hellenism will be the end of you, « PERSON # 1»! « laughing figure »
- « PERSON # 3 » – Has anyone checked the tolerances for the [UNTRANSLATABLE]? I worry about this new design.
- « PERSON # 2 » – Did a bit of field testing outside of Hyderabad. Atmospheric conditions made results unstable. Am looking at them again. Thank you, « PERSON # 3 ».
- « PERSON # 4 » – What did I miss?
- « PERSON # 1 » – « kowtowing figure » My Lady!!!! It is an unexpected pleasure to have you in this conversation. « Roses »
- « PERSON # 5 » – Bad form, bad form. Please remember the discussion, and NO MORE flowers and poetry, « PERSON # 1»! You remember last time.
- « PERSON # 1 » – A thousand apologies! « kowtowing figure ».
- « PERSON # 2 » – Ha ha, got scolded by teacher! « pointing and laughing figure »
- « PERSON # 1 » – « rude gesture »
- « PERSON # 4 » – Read the attached documentation. New design of tower? I like it. Sturdier than last, will probably last longer than tower in Lanka last week.
- « PERSON # 2 » – I am honored by your compliment, My Lady « roses »
- « PERSON # 1 » – MANNERS! Remember the protocol!!!!! « angry figure »
- « PERSON # 2 » – YOU remember the protocol!
- « PERSON # 1 » – So’s your FACE!!!!
- « PERSON # 3 » – « confused figure »
- « PERSON # 4 » – « confused figure »
- « PERSON # 2 » – « confused figure »
- « PERSON # 1 » – « exasperated figure » Everyone’s a critic!