The ArcBuilder Universe


TimeLine of the ArcBuilder Universe


The Mesoaster Period Civilization

1.33 million to 12,000 years ago


1.33 million years ago:  The ArcBuilder species arises as a technological civilization.

1.2 million years ago:  Homo antecessor evolves from Homo heidelbergensis, and is one of the earliest known forms of Human to have lived in Europe.  The species averaged between 5 1/2 to 6 feet tall and were relatively robust.  It is almost certain that they were a common ancestor to both Humans and Neanderthal men.  Genetic evidence suggests that they were capable of speech, and as such it is likely that they had begun to develop a rich culture, possibly based upon oral traditions.

One trademark of Homo antecessor, and subsequent species of Homo, is the presence of dark skin and the loss of body hair, save for vestigial patches.  It is believed that the loss of hair is an adaptation to upright walking, and one that has been going on for millions of years.  The lack of this hair is compensated for by the dark skin, which aids in protection against solar radiation.
1.1 million years ago:  The automated systems of the ArcBuilders arrive at Sol and following an intense survey of the system, begins the terraforming of Mars.  It is believed that both Earth and Venus were not chosen as a future colony because they possessed native ecologies, something that the Builders seemed to have taken great pains in leaving untouched.  Mars will be given a self sustaining biosphere, and the planet itself will become a self sustaining and geologically active planet, seeded with life taken from the Earth.  Among the forms of life that will be transferred here, either by design or error, are large populations of Homo erectus.
950,000 years ago:  The ArcBuilders arrive in the Sol System and begin their long, methodical colonization process of Mars.  Surface installations are constructed from local materials and are essentially great ranges of interconnected domes of varying sizes.  In time they will become covered by local plant growth, becoming virtually invisible as artificial structures.  Eventually all of Mars would become dotted with Builder communities, while only a handful of blatantly technological centers would be present.
800,000 years ago:  Members of Homo heidelbergensis living in both Africa and Eurasia begin to give rise to two different forms of descendents.  Those in Africa will evolve towards modern Humans, while in Eurasia they will give rise to Neanderthals.
640,000 years ago:  The line of Human that will lead to the Neanderthal species diverges from a population in Asia, which will give rise to the Denisovan people.  In form the Denisovans are robust, dusky skinned, and possess a higher intelligence than their ancestors.
500,000 years ago:  It is by this rough point that nearly all life on Mars, initially planted by the automated ArcBuilder terraforming process, has fully adapted to the lighter gravity of the planet.  While a few forms remain relatively unchanged, many larger forms have become quite gracile when compared to their Earthly ancestors.  Some large forms have decreased in size as an adaption, while originally smaller forms have evolved into larger, leaner versions of their predecessors.
400,000 years ago:  A general cooling trend begins to take place on mars as the ArcBuilders migrate slowly from there to isolated regions on Earth.  Life on Mars suffers several local extinction events as glaciers begin to cover the far southern latitudes, while the northern ocean becomes ice packed.  In the long term, however, life will adapt to these changing conditions and continue to flourish.
300,000 years ago:  The earliest true Neanderthal people live in Eurasia.  They will come to inhabit most of Europe, as well as the Middle East.  Their numbers, however, will never rise very high, with a global population reaching perhaps 70,000 at their peak.  Neanderthals were quite robust and were substantially stronger than modern Humans.  This, coupled with more acute eyesight and a stocky and compact build, were adaptations to the ice ages of the time, as well as their rather boisterous hunting lifestyle.  Genetic also suggests that their skin tone was quite light, and that red hair was very common indeed.  Although they were accomplished hunters, a substantial portion of their diet was also taken by vegetables.
216,000 years ago:  The Aagula begin their interstellar expansion, founding the very earliest beginnings of their so-called "Red Dwarf Empire".
195,000 years ago:  The oldest known members of Homo sapiens sapiens appears, living in what will become south-western Ethiopia.
160,000 years ago:  The species Homo sapiens idaltu lives in what will become Ethiopia.  While these beings are technically members of the modern Human family, they share many archaic characteristics with our ancestors.  Nevertheless, they are a very ritualistic species with a rich culture, and are among the oldest known members of our family to have practiced mortuary customs.
130,000 years ago:  The beginning of the Eemian interglacial period.
128,000 years ago:  The Denisovan people begin to build an agriculture-based civilization along the rivers of northern Siberia.  These ritualistic cultures will expand throughout the entire Siberian region, moving even further south towards what will become Mongolia.

125,000 years ago

  • The warmest peak of the Eemian Interglacial.
  • Some of the earliest modern humans begin to migrate out of Africa, as evidenced by tools found in Arabia.
  • On Mars, cold-adapted descendents of Homo erectus begin to develop deep cultural and religious beliefs, many of which revolve around the ArcBuilders themselves.  Collectively known as the Nasheen People, they inhabited many areas near ancient ArcBuilder colonial remains.  There is no single culture, of course, but instead there are hundreds of distinct hunter-gather cultures scattered across the planet.


123,800 years ago:  On the Earth the ArcBuilders begin to proactively interact with Humans, specifically the Denisovans.  Impressed with their swiftly growing ritualistic agricultural societies, they decide to slowly and methodically aid in their technological development.

122,450 years ago

  • The ArcBuilders disappear almost literally overnight, committing a form of racial suicide in order to stop the Tesseract Angels, which have begun to come forth from the ArcWays.  On Mars, the brief armed struggle precipitates an environmental disaster that will see the planet severely cool over the next tens of thousands of years.
  • On Mars, the Nasheen begin a much wider, more fervent religious movement surrounding the now quiescent ArcWay, and ArcBuilder ruins in general.  This will become globally prevalent and will dominant the People for millennia.
121,000 years ago:  The Denisovans, the inheritors of all that the ArcBuilders left behind in the Sol System, establish a relatively high order civilization centered in northern Siberia.  The culture will advance in technical abilities over time as they unlock the secrets of the advance technology in their possession.
120,000 years ago:  The beginning of the Abbassia Pluvial, an extended wet and rainy period in the climate of northern Africa.  During this time the Sahara was a lush land, fed by lakes and rivers, with a thriving ecology.  The stone-aged Mousterian and Aterian Homo sapiens cultures thrived in this land.
118,500 years ago:  The height of the Denisovan civilization.  Their polity extends from their bounded cities in northern Eurasia to well established colonies on both Mars and Venus.  While their technology is high, their industrialization remains confined within their cities and outlying colonial settlements.  Much of the Earth knows only their passing touch, as they tend to follow in the footsteps of the ArcBuilders.
118,000 years ago:  The climate of the Earth is undergoing severe fluctuations, while that of Mars remains in a deep glacial period, one that was brought on by the brief but intense armed conflict between the ArcBuilders and the Tesseract Angels.  The Denisovans, finding these climates are too much to contend with, begin a mass exodus via the ArcWay to the Xi Scorpii system.  However, this period is fraught with mass panic, disorder, and general chaos as people are forced away from everything that they know.  In the end, the civilization in the Sol System collapses, leaving behind planet bound survivors that begin to fall back into a simple agrarian society.  Those at Xi Scorpii likewise find themselves in less than modern surroundings, but in this case they are bolstered by supporting technologies. For them, knowledge of the Earth will fade to tall tales, legends, and finally distant mythologies.  Some will even give the Earth a religious connotation, one that will survive for many tens of generations.
115,000 years ago:  The rapid ending of the Eemian Interglacial period leads directly to the beginning of the Last Glacial Period.  While the global cooling has wide ecological consequences, it truly and profoundly affects the remaining Denisovan People.  Having already fallen into  loosely scattered population of clan-based agrarian societies, even these will begin to collapse under the weight of the drastic climatic shift.  In only a few generations, the remaining population centers will begin to scatter and fragment, with only isolated groups of survivors remaining.
110,000 years ago:  The Last Glacial Period begins in earnest with the fast expansion of glaciers and continental ice sheets.  The last traces of the Eemian are long gone, and the world has become a wild place once again.

90,000 years ago

  • The end of the Abbassia Pluvial in northern Africa, and the return of the Sahara to a desert state.  These climatic conditions serve to aid in the movement of modern Humans out of Africa and in to Europe and Asia, as they search for more clement surroundings.
  • On Mars, the Nasheen culture had managed to reach a long lasting, roughly Bronze-aged cultural level.  However, as the global climate becomes colder, stresses on their far-flung culture become too great and it eventually collapses.  Left behind are the ruins of their great stone cities, lost to seasonal sand storms and expanding glaciers.  The Nasheen themselves are once again pre-agricultural wanderers.
73,000 years ago:  The Toba Super Volcanic Eruption, measured at a magnitude M8 (or "apocalyptic"), releases 2800 square kilometers of material.  An ecological crisis descends all across the planet, and modern Human populations crash to almost extinction levels.  For nearly 1,000 years, the planet is held in an even deeper winter than what the current glacial period alone can generate.
63,000 years ago:  The climate of Mars has reached an equilibrium, one that will remain to the modern day.  The general climate is much cooler than what it had once been, with glacial conditions in the south and the highlands, and an oceanic ice cap in the north which spawns copious amounts of icebergs.  But the environment and life begins to adapt and settle into a climatically calm period.
60,000 years ago:  The first long term "successful" migration out of Africa by modern Humans.  Representatives of this migration will enter into Europe and the Middle East, where interbreeding with extant populations of Neanderthals will occur in varying degrees.
50,000 years ago:  The beginning of the Mousterian Pluvial in northern Africa.  Once again the Sahara is turned into a thriving, lush, biologically rich Eden.  Modern Humans enter into the region as well, establishing hunter-gatherer cultures, and even simple agriculture.  The same benign climate allows for the movement of modern humans into Asia at the same time.
41,000 years ago:  Some of the last true Denisovan people live, as have their ancestors, in caves and secluded settings in Siberia, south of the great continental ice sheets.  Their clans are small, their genetic diversity slowly fading.  In only a few more generations these ancient peoples will be extinct.  Beyond the Sol System, however, a thriving series of Denisovan descended cultures still exists on the worlds of Xi Scorpii.
40,000 years ago:  The first modern Humans enter into Australia, while at the same rough time, a planet away, the Cro-Magnon peoples enter into ice age Europe.
39,280 years ago:  The super volcano that will become known as Campi Flegrei (or the Phlegraean Fields) erupts and wreaks havoc throughout Europe and the Middle East, while causing global climatic chaos on a global scale.  Perhaps the most notable long term effect, however, is the decline and eventual extinction of the Neanderthal people, spurred on by the extreme regional environmental issues.  Their populations will continue in isolated regions for some time, but eventually even these will be replaced by the much more adaptable anatomically modern Humans moving into the entire region.
30,000 years ago:  As the Last Glacial Maximum sets in the weather patterns of the entire northern hemisphere are greatly altered by the expansive North American continental ice sheets.  This alteration moves to the point where north Africa is once more returned to a desiccated state, and the Mousterian Pluvial comes to a swift end.  The nascent agricultural cultures here either die out, or are forced to migrate to other lands, where they inevitably fall back to hunter-gatherer lifestyles.
26,500 years ago:  The Last Glacial Maximum is reached, that time during the Last Glacial Period when world wide glacial conditions reached their greatest extent.

16,000 years ago

  • Asiatic Human populations have been migrating across the steppes of the Bering Land Bridge for generations, and eventually move into the Americas.  These peoples will slowly spread down as far as the southern tip of South America, and will be the ancestors of modern day Native Americans.
  • At Xi Scorpii, the Denisovan peoples have risen and fallen through many different levels of society, but have never managed to move past an early industrial phase.  Now, however, they begin to build a truly technological society.  This is the earliest iteration of the Sivata culture.
15,000 years ago:  The Sivata civilization has expanded and encompassed all the worlds of their very expansive system.  However, various circumstances lead to the heavy strain of internal strife and, eventually, civil war.  Their culture begins to crumble under the onslaught of chaos and war.  A group of survivalists, however, organize a small fleet to flee the system.  They have learned, from ancient texts and records discovered at the quiescent ArcWay archaeological site of the world which gave rise to their people, and it is this world that they travel towards.  It is a planet in a system that will become known as Sol.
14,800 years ago:  The Sivata fleet of survivalists arrive at Sol and establish a colony on Earth in the region that will be known as Doggerland.  While the land is largely tundra and steppe, it is biologically rich and promises to be a land well suited for their colony, with wide rivers, lakes, and forested southern regions.  The main colonial site is along the shores of the Outer Silver Pit Lake, located in a lush river valley.  Several smaller satellite population centers are established throughout the world, however, though Doggerland remains the center of their new civilization.  Almost immediately native Human populations are drawn to the Sivata, and will over the course of several generations be integrated into Sivata society.
13,750 years ago:  The Sivata have, by this point, established a presence on Mars that includes three major cities and several smaller communities scattered across the planet.  Among their colonial holdings is the site of the ancient ArcWay.  The presence of the ArcWay, identical to the one back in the Xi Scorpii System, intrigues them, though its true function remains entirely unknown.  Earth natives have accompanied the Sivata to Mars as well, working and living in tandem with their distant cousins and benefactors.
13,000 years ago:  Lake Agassiz, a proglacial body of water created by the melting of the North American continental ice sheet, is at its greatest extent of some 440,000 square kilometers.  At this period, however, the natural dam holding the lake in bursts, much of it draining northwards through the Mackenzie River, and into the Arctic Ocean.  This is an event that will repeat a number of times during the lake's history.
12,753 years ago (10,753 BC):  The Sivata battle the Tesseract Angels, who have once again come boiling out of the ArcWays.  This war is swift and terrible, and will see the end of the Sivata civilization, the ArcWays closed and shut down, and scars left throughout the Solar System, including the three habitable worlds of Mars, Earth, and Venus.  Few members of the Sivata people survive, and their technology and civilization is largely adopted by the native Earth Humans.  Collectively known as the Lost Civilization, this society will be spread throughout the formerly inhabited Solar System, but without a supporting technological infrastructure, their ties from world to world will slowly erode away.  The Earth itself is particularly hard hit, the war having caused a climatic shift that was both abrupt and intense.  Known as the Younger Dryas Stadial, it sees a return to glacial conditions world wide in less than a decade, arresting the gradual end to the Last Glacial Period. (ref)
12,500 years ago (10,500 BC):  The approximate end of the Last Glacial Period.  Continental ice sheets continue retreating for some time after this, but this is the point where the year to year temperature trend for the planet as a whole reflects warmer temperatures.
12,360 years ago (10,360 BC):  The beginnings of the Yana'cree civilization on Mars.  With the fall of the Sivata, Humans on mars swiftly lost the ability to leave their planet or to even repair the technology that was left behind.  While some communications remained with the Lost Civilization on the Earth, the Yana'cree developed independently and managed to maintain a cohesive though more primitive culture.  The development of this civilization was marked by a resurgence in education and cultural sophistication, exemplified by the establishment of a road system that linked the various population centers.  They had become the "Romans" of Mars, further marked by the creation of vast libraries and architectural monuments.

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The ArcBuilder Universe is a science fiction project established, authored, and copyrighted ©
by John M. Dollan 2002-2016
This page first uploaded in February 15, 2016
Most recent update for this page February 24, 2016