During the excavation of an ancient Babylonian ziggurat in 1970, a Harvard University archeological expedition encounters an anomalous artifact: an engraved urn on which it is written that it contains the ashes of the ancient Hindu god Purusha, from whose body the Universe was created. In spite of the artifact's beauty, the archeologists are wary of their find, because everything about it is wrong for its location: the language engraved upon it, the landscape of the world it depicts, and the odd collection of gods that are referenced. Most curious of all is that the urn is sealed with a technology far beyond the capabilities of ancient peoples and is in pristine condition. Fearing a hoax, the head of the archeological team manages to smuggles the urn out of Iraq, with the intention of concealing it the basement of his home near the Harvard campus until he can determine its origins. But, on one fateful day, curiosity gets the better of him and he opens the urn. Fifty years later, the archaeologist's son, a Nobel Prize-winning astronomer, is confronted by the terrible consequences of his father's curiosity.|
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