The nomads were right:
there is a city here, probably buried for millennia and revealed by the random motions of the sand. The architecture is impressive even in ruin, and must once have been amazing. One puzzling factor is the pottery -- there are fragments all over the ruins, surely too much for a city even of this size. We have set up camp and will do a proper survey tomorrow.
The meaning of the pottery was explained today and in a most surprising manner. We found a mostly-intact clay statue buried up to its waist in sand, and as soon as we dug it out, it started to walk around! It was a clay
golem, built by the city's inhabitants and dormant all this time. Its head is badly damaged and it is
uncommunicative, but its existence tells us that the city's inhabitants were expert magical craftsmen. The
huge kilns in some of the buildings indicate that at some point before its destruction the whole city was
converted to the manufacture of these golems.
We have also examined the carvings on the large building in the centre. There are symbols depicting several of the ancient gods, including Saradomin, Zamorak, and Armadyl, but there is another prominent symbol that I cannot identify. As it seems we will need to be here for longer than I had thought, I have sent to Elissa for books on golems and religious symbols.
As we examine the ruins one thing becomes increasingly clear: most of the damage was not due to weathering. The buildings were destroyed by force, as if torn down by giant hands.
A breakthrough! We have found the staircase into the lower levels of the temple. This part has been untouched by the elements, and the carvings here are more intact, especially four beautiful statuettes in the alcoves framing the large door. I have removed one of them. The door will not open. I am glad I sent for a book on symbols, as the unidentified symbol is even more prominent here, especially on the door.
Our messenger returned with the books I asked for and a letter from Elissa. It is unfortunate that the museum will not be able to finance a full-scale excavation here as well as the one closer to Varrock, although I am of course pleased that the other city has been uncovered. But with the books I am able to piece together more of the story of this city.
The unidentified symbol in the ruins is that of the demon Thammaron, who was Zamorak's chief lieutenant during the godwars of the Third Age. With that information I can say with confidence that these are the ruins of Uzer, an advanced human civilization said to have been destroyed towards the end of the Third Age (roughly 2,500 years ago). It was allied with Saradomin and enjoyed his protection, as well as that of its own mages and warriors. Thammaron was able to open a portal from his own domain straight into the heart of the city, bypassing its defences. With Saradomin's help the army of Uzer was able to drive Thammaron back, but the record ends at that point and it has always been assumed that a later attack, either by Thammaron or by Zamorak's other forces, finished the city off.
Examining the door again, I now see that it is exactly the sort of door that could be used to seal Thammaron's portal, I am suddenly glad I was not able to open it! I surmise that the army of golems was created in order to fight the demon, since Uzer's army had been wiped out and Saradomin's forces were increasingly stretched. However, this approach evidently failed, since the city was eventually destroyed.
The art of the construction of golems has been lost since the Third Age, and, although they are sometimes discovered lying dormant in the ground, no concerted effort has been made to regain it, thanks largely to the modern Saradomist Church's view of them as unnatural. This view is without foundation, as golems are neither good nor evil but follow instructions they are given to the letter and without imagination, indeed experiencing extreme discomfort for as long as a task assigned to them remains incomplete. Some golems were constructed to obey verbal instructions, but the main method of instruction was to place magical words into the golem's skull cavity. These were written on papyrus using a naturally occurring source of ink, and their magical power derived from the use of a phoenix tail feather as a pen. These would be used for long-term or important tasks, and would override any verbal instructions.