"Treasures of the Aquarians"
by Richard Davis and Jeff Stone
A startling and important archaeological discovery was recently made in the
area of our planet once known as California, when a cache of artifacts dating
from the 1960s was unearthed, relatively intact, during the building of the
transglobal tunnel. The best scholars from a score of disciplines --
including archaeology, history, languages and anthropology -- have studied
and interpreted these artifacts and have mounted an exhibition that will open
at the Metroplex Museum of Art next year. Never has so great a body of
information been available about a time and culture of which we have
previously known so little.
The artifacts were uncovered by a construction crew in the ruins of a
postindustrial town known as Berkeley ("zip code" coordinate 94704). The
primary dig site comprised an area approximately 105 yards long by 44 yards
wide. Additional objects were discovered as much as one quarter of a mile
away, in an area believed to have been the location of the University of
California at Berkeley. Unfortunately, practically nothing of the great
institution remains, but its grandeur is legendary. The campus alone was the
size of a small city, with its classrooms, laboratories, stadia and great
public squares, all of which played an essential role on the dramatic events
of the time.
Berkeley was the crossroads of cataclysmic but only dimly understood social,
political and cultural changes that rocked the civilization of the Western
Hemisphere to its very foundations. Home to thousands of "street people,"
Berkeley was the magnet city of its time. Consequently, the artifacts of the
late 1960s and early 1970s discovered there are unmatched in richness and
variety and as a source for our understanding of that distant time.
Little is known of the societies that neighbored the Berkeley civilization.
Evidently, a people called the Amerikans, whose values were in may ways
antithetical to those of the Berkeleyites, shared the midsection of the North
Amerikan continent with them. The boundaries between the two groups
apparently were not clearly defined, resulting in numerous border skirmishes
and several major battles.
The Berkeley artifacts were not without hazards, particularly the ones later
determined to be primitive drugs and explosive weapons. Yet many of the
researchers developed a genuine fondness and respect for the Berkeleyites,
whom they refer to as "Aquarians." The name is derived from a song recorded
on a grooved plastic disk discovered at the dig site. (Several such objects
were found and were eventually identified by specialists as "phonograph
records.") A favorite of the dig personnel, this song heralded the beginning
of the "Age of Aquarius."
I invite you to journey with us now many thousands of years back into the
deep recesses of time. It is my hope that you too will come to think of the
Aquarians in more familiar terms, perhaps as rather peculiar but valued
friends. It is all too easy, in our age of wide-ranging space exploration and
colonization, to focus on their idiosyncrasies, and so lose sight of the
common humanity they so clearly share with ourselves.
- THOMAS HEAVING DIGGERHALTER
Curator, North Amerikan Antiquities
Metroplex Museum of Art
April, 7069 A.D.
Dimensions: Diameter 9"
Like the great plate makers of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, the
Aquarians excelled in the art of creating fine dinnerware. Working in
"plastic," the medium of the time, the Aquarians created a strong yet highly
The underside of the plate is grooved, bears a laurel leaf design and the
plate-maker's mark, "WHAM-O." The plate also contains information on place of
origin (San Gabriel, California), an identification number (3,359,678) and a
motto that must have appealed to the free-spirited Aquarians: "PLAY CATCH -
Scientists have marveled at the uncanny resemblance the plate bears to our
current X-25 space transport.
Items 143, 144
Hemp rope, wood
Dimensions: 1' x 3'; 2" x 3"
Macrame was apparently one of the most flourishing of the abundant Aquarian
handicraft industries. The most common of all the macrame objects discovered
were hanging holders. Specialists are not quite certain what they were
intended to hold -- perhaps Wham-O plates or other kitchen vessels. The knots
and beads that decorated holders may have enabled them to serve as primitive
counting devices as well, perhaps keeping track of food supply levels. In any
case, the Aquarians must have been adept at ducking, dodging movements, for
the holders undoubtedly created something of a hanging obstacle course.
Macrame products were made largely from vegetable fibers indigenous to the
Berkeley area, especially the highly venerated hemp plant. Anthropologists
believe the Aquarians may have combined ritual-drug ceremonies with spring
festivals of renewal by burning old macrame objects and inhaling the smoke.
Paper, fluorescent paint
Dimensions: 2' x 3'
CAUTION: Viewing for long periods can cause disorientation
Many wall decorations (a.k.a. "POSTERS") were found in Aquarian dwellings.
Produced by unknown artists, they were generally cheap reproductions of
now-lost masterpieces. The unique shapes and designs were intended to totally
engage the eye and the consciousness of the viewer.
65% Cotton; 35% Polyester
Inscription: "Machine Washable"
Due to its abbreviated nature, this article of clothing is thought to have been
worn by female children in the Aquarian community. Various examples were
found throughout the dig site, leading some researchers to believe that the
MINIMAL SKIRT was a fundamental element of the Aquarian female child's
These garments were made from many materials, including the ubiquitous
Aquarian "Blue Gene" fabric, and a petroleum-based polymer known as
"plastic." It is interesting that a noted celluloid entertainment of the
Aquarians makes many references to a "plastics industry" as a source of
financial opportunity. Many young Aquarians, it is assumed, worked in this
GARMENT WITH FLARED LEGS
Cloth, dye, metal
Dimensions: 32, 33L
These unusual trousers are an excellent example of the Aquarian desire for
form to follow function. The pant legs were sewn so that the lower portion of
the garment flared, allowing a great deal of freedom for the calf and foot.
Examples have been found where the original flare was extended by ripping
open the seams and sewing in an additional piece of cloth (usually brightly
colored) to produce even greater flare, and a startling visual effect as
well. The flare at the bottom of the pants resembles a bell shape and
researchers have jokingly referred to them as "BELL-BOTTOM" trousers.
The name affixed to most examples of these pants -- usually on an
orange-colored tab -- was "Levi." This tab -- in red as well as orange -- was
also attached to many other pieces of clothing found at the dig site. It is
assumed Levi was the tradesman from nearby San Francisco who provided the
Aquarians with much of their clothing.
ARMED FORCES UNIFORM
Heavyweight cotton, insignia
Dimensions: One size fits all
Inscriptions: "Gilbert, US Army"
The large number of uniforms found at the dig site led historians to conclude
that the Aquarian standing army was a sizable one. Evidently, the Aquarian
armed forces were extremely poorly equipped, since very few examples of
military hardware were uncovered near the dig site.
The basic uniform jacket was either green or blue, depending on the branch of
service. Patches that at one time must have signaled rank had been removed.
(Did a mass demotion take place?) The uniform pants were worn loosely fitting
and tucked into rugged black boots.
Not much is known about any engagements that the armed forces might have
fought, but fragments from songs and literature led researchers to believe
that a small battle took place in what was known as "OHIO," leaving four
Apparently, the Aquarians were perplexed as to the reason for some of these
actions, their battle song being "1-2-3 what are we fighting for?" The leader
of the Aquarian armed forces is thought to have been one COMMANDER CODY.
Leather, rubber, metal buckles
Dimensions: 4" x 12"
These were the everyday footwear of the Aquarians, a testament to the health
of a thriving leather industry. There were many different styles. One of the
most common was secured to the foot by means of an ankle strap and was known
as the "Roman" sandal. According to the lyric of a strangely atypical
Aquarian song, these were not worn in Muskogee.
Muskogee is a settlement about which little else is known, except that it was
a place where even "squares" could have a good time. Perhaps Muskogee was
merely a mystical land where strange transformations of time, space and
geometry took place; a place where reality was viewed entirely differently
from the way the Aquarians saw it.
The soles of most sandals were made of leather, but the soles of "buffalo"
sandals, one of the chief imports of trade with India, were often made with a
rubber tire tread. This evidently was a feature preferred by members of the
Cult of the Dead Heads, enamored as they were of their concept of "truckin'."
Items OP948, OP99
LIGHT SHOW SPECIMEN SLIDES, LAVA LAMP
Glass, dyes, goop
Dimensions: 7" x 12"; 1 1/2" x 3"
These specimen slides have become one of the great mysteries unearthed at the
dig site. A thorough analysis has been unable to detect any medical or
scientific reason for the preparation of the slides.
During one test, light was projected through them. Then slides were moved,
whereupon bizarre, ever-changing shapes in bright hues were cast upon the
walls. Many researchers have commented that watching the shapes causes
disorientation and that continued exposure induces a hypnotic state, not
One theory is that the slides were used in the development of a device known
as a "LAVA LAMP," since there is some similarity between the lighting effects
of the slides and the lamp. Investigation continues on solving the riddle of
RITUAL DRUG ROULETTE CASE
Plastic, trace elements
Dimensions: 3" x 4"
This ingenious molded plastic "one-per-day" container held a supply of ritual
drugs. Interestingly, the number of chambers corresponds to the days of the
month in the primeval Aquarian Lunar Calendar.
One chamber contained a peyote seed whose hallucinogenic properties were
first discovered accidently by agricultural specialists. Another bore traces
of a crude derivative of the common grain mold ergot. When ingested the
substance induced a fantastic mental "journey" during which our volunteers
claimed to be able to "taste" colors and "see" music.
Still another compartment held a powdered extract of the cocoa plant. The
white dust produces a numbness of the gums when taken orally. Yet when a
researcher inhaled it through the nose, he became very active, talkative and
Pharmacologists were perplexed, however, to discover several substances
within the case whose effect was unclear. These included baked
powdered-banana peel; salicylic acid ("aspirin"); and a tablet composed
mainly of human female hormones, which induced heart attacks, strokes and
other vascular disorders in laboratory animals.
Glass, rubber, water
This was apparently a scale model for a giant engine that would have captured
heat from deep inside the Earth and used it to generate electricity. A long
tube would be inserted into one of the many faults in the Berkeley area. The
heat rising through the tube would convert the water in the engine's central
chamber into steam. The steam would be released through another tube and used
to drive a turbine that would generate electricity.
Evidently, large-scale testing of the device was conducted using heat
produced by burning hemp. This made excellent sense, considering the plant's
Items T1, T2, T3
100% cotton, dyes
Dimensions: Small, Medium, Large, X-Large
Inscription: "Colors may run when washed"
It is believed that the many colors, designs and slogans that decorated those
unisex garments were indicative of social status and work roles within the
For example, the plain, pocketed "T-SHIRT" (especially the darker colors) was
most likely the customary garb of low-level Aquarian workers, such as cooks,
pottery kiln operators or field hands.
Some garments bore commercial or political slogans and were probably worn by
individuals employed specifically to let others know "what was going down."
Slogans affixed to the garments included "MAKE LOVE, NOT WAR"; "WAR IS
NOT HEALTHY FOR CHILDREN AND OTHER LIVING THINGS"; "TODAY IS
THE FIRST DAY OF THE REST OF YOUR LIFE"; "GIVE A DAMN"; "FREAK
FREELY"; "QUESTION AUTHORITY"; "LSD DID THIS TO ME"; and "DICK
NIXON BEFORE HE DICKS YOU."
The most elaborate of the garments, often featuring dye coloring, were
undoubtedly favored by Aquarian dignitaries, such as cult leaders, festival
promoters and leading ritual-drug merchants. Combined with Aquarian jewelry
-- crude colorful beads or glowing turquoise stones set in hand-worked silver
rings, bracelets and earrings -- these garments must have produced an effect
of great splendor.
Leather, ceramic beads
If an Aquarian could own just one piece of jewelry, it would almost certainly
be LOVE BEADS. Love Beads could be made from practically any durable
material, from plastic to paper-mache to macaroni, and were generally
A strand might hold anywhere from a single bead to dozens, leading
anthropologists to conclude that Love Beads were not purely decorative in
function. It is now believed that they also offer important clues to sexual
behavior, with the number of beads corresponding to the number of an
Aquarian's lovers. It is significant that the strands were simply strung and
easily expandable. The color and design of the beads are thought to have been
carefully coded to indicate how good a lover had been.
Two of the most popular materials for stringing beads were cotton string and
leather cord. It is not known whether there was any significance in the
choice of material, although perhaps it had something to do with the sexual
preferences of the wearer.
THE AQUARIAN NAVY
Artist: Peter Maximum
The existence of the Aquarian navy is documented in many famous songs --
"Yellow Submarine" and "Wooden Ships," to name just two. However, the navy's
sailing routes and strategic value, if any, are difficult to ascertain.
What is known is that the Aquarians established sea trade with several other
Earth cultures. Perhaps wooden ships and the sophisticated PETER
MAXIMUM-designed yellow submarine were the chief vessels of trade.
Like the famous ocean-going ships NINA, PINTA and SANTA MARIA -- whose
captain is thought to have discovered the continent eventually inhabited by
the Aquarians -- the SLOOP JOHN B. ventured to the exotic Carob Ocean on a
mission of exploration and trade. During this voyage, the crew was beset with
many trials and tribulations, which caused them to lament for their homeland.
Items 17, 18, 19
Various metals, beads
Dimensions: Easily concealed
An early interpretation of these small metallic devices supposed that during
the great cockroach epidemics of the twentieth century, in which billions of
the insects infected the cities of North Amerika, the clips were somehow used
to pin the creatures down in order to exterminate them. However, this
interpretation has since fallen into discredit.
A more plausible hypothesis is that the Aquarians used the clips to fasten a
live "roach" (or facsimile) to a piece of clothing to signify that the wearer
was in spiritual harmony with the cosmos. The Aquarians, like other ancient
human cultures, particularly the Egyptians, believed the cockroach to be a
sacred beast that had found favor with the gods and would be granted
THE WHOLE EARTH CATALOG
Recycled paper, vegetable-based ink, biodegradable glue
Dimensions: 11" x 14 1/2" x 1 1/2"
Inscription: "access to tools"
One Stewart Brand is credited with authoring a massive catalog that purported
to be a source book of objects, services and advice Aquarians could acquire.
Literary historians have determined that this catalog is in all likelihood a
hoax of the magnitude of two other notorious twentieth-century ruses:
Clifford Irving's fabrication of Howard Hughes's autobiography, and the
forged diaries of the infamous madman Adolf Hitler.
The speculation is that THE WHOLE EARTH CATALOG was created as a
parody of the Aquarians' love of catalogs of all kinds and descriptions. A
careful cross-checking of the various goods and services in the catalog with
what is known of the culture of the time leads researchers to conclude that
most entries are too farfetched to be believed. They did concede that it took a
great deal of creativity and imagination to produce the catalog.
Paper, ink, staples
Dimensions: 12" x 14"
Inscription: "All the News That Fits"
A young Aquarian newspaper reporter, known by the by-line wunderkind Jann
Wenner, was largely responsible for this most popular of Aquarian
publications. The "STONE," as it was sometimes called, was both a journal of
political thought and a bulletin of the latest advances in agriculture.
In addition, Wunderkind Wenner portrayed the leading troubadours of the time
on the cover of his magazine, with many households collecting these ornate
covers. Evidently, appearing on the cover of the ROLLING STONE was a symbol
of great prestige in Aquarian culture.
A cache of tattered ROLLING STONES was found about a mile from the dig site
in what was a transmission station for archaic "frequency modulation" radio
waves. After painstakingly restoring the brittle pages, our researchers have
plotted the editorial progress of the ROLLING STONE and revealed how it
reflected the quickly changing Aquarian world.
In the final issues, the magazine -- actually a "tabloid," from the
publication genus "scandal sheet" -- appears to have shifted its focus from
politics and agriculture to profiles of Aquarian and Amerikan celebrities.
The explanation for this shift is not to be found within its pages. Also,
there are intimations that the base of operations for ROLLING STONE would be
moved from San Francisco to the East Coast of North Amerika.
Researchers have noted the striking similarity between the later ROLLING
STONE and the early People magazine of the middle Amerikan culture of the
1980s -- the civilization of the "Mall" people -- and have hypothesized that
ROLLING STONE may actually have become People.
OUTLAWS OF THE AQUARIANS
Harley, leather, chains, dirt
Scale: Life size
Artist: C.C. Ryder
From the celluloid entertainment EASY RIDER and the writings of famed
sociologist Dr. Hunter Thompson, we have a fairly comprehensive portrait of
the "outlaws" of the Aquarians. These rugged individualists were outsiders in
the Aquarian culture, although they dressed like Aquarians and enjoyed many
of the same recreations.
The most famous of the outlaws were the "easy riders" who roamed the North
Amerikan continent in search of high-quality Acapulco Gold (which has led our
researchers to believe they were former investment bankers). The perilous
journeys they undertook are celebrated in a celluloid entertainment named in
their honor. Riding two-wheeled vehicles known as "hoppers," they cruised
into the forbidden two-lane blacktop world of the Amerikans.
The two celluloid adventurers of EASY RIDER met a grisly end when attacked by
Amerikan irregulars known as "red-necks" -- so named for the colorful
bandannas they wore -- somewhere in the southern part of Amerika.
Outlaws traveling in large bands and wearing decorated uniforms also made
forays into Amerika. As they approached a town, their Harley-Davidson
two-wheeled vehicles emitted a deafening roar, which frightened villagers
away long enough for the gang to sack the town and escape before Amerikan
security forces could arrive.
Among the early bandit gangs were THE WILD ONES, which the infamous
BRANDO as leader. Later, a confederation of outlaws was formed and came to
be known as the HELL'S ANGELS, with chapters all across both Aquarian and
Amerikan lands. During times of great turmoil within Aquarian culture, this
confederation was sometimes called upon to provide security for Aquarians
when their own armed forces were unable to do so.
THE SACRED SYMBOL
Silver, inlaid turquoise
Dimensions: 1" x 1 1/2"
Imprinted on many of the Berkeley artifacts is the sacred symbol of the
Aquarians, the hemp leaf. All good was thought to stem from the hemp plant,
and indeed economics, recreation and spirituality were all directly affected
by it. The leaf was so important to the Aquarians that it was
anthropomorphized in a tale and song as Mary Jane, in much the same way as
the British had centuries before personified John Barleycorn.
Buttons, poetry, patches on clothing and even one of the Aquarian
confederation flags were found bearing the three-pronged leaf. Apparently,
displaying the leaf symbol in virtually any context was considered "NORML."
CEREMONIAL LIBATION VESSEL
Glass, fermented grape juice, sugar, formaldehyde
Dimensions: 5" x 12"
Inscription: "Serve Very Cold"
The principal libation vessel of the Aquarians was molded of colorful green
glass and imprinted with the words "Boone's Farm" or "Ripple." Evidently,
Boone's Farm -- probably located north of Berkeley in the wine region just
south of the hemp region -- was the vineyard where the traditional drink of
the Aquarians was made. "Ripple" is though to have been their primary toast.
The large number of libation vessels strewn about the dig site indicates that
each man, woman and child was presented with one at birth to be used on
various ceremonial occasions, including the gatherings of the tribes.
Researchers were startled by the analysis of the residue in the vessels. The
"nectar" of the Aquarians was apparently a repugnant, sickly sweet and
diluted cousin of table wine. Owing to the drink's meager alcohol content, it
is highly unlikely that the Aquarians consumed it to become inebriated. They
would have had to imbibe enormous amounts from the Boone's Farm vessels to do
SYMBOL OF CONFEDERATION
Ring, buttons, arm patch
Plastic, metal, cloth, ink, dye
Politically, the Aquarians seem to have been a loose confederation of tribes,
although references to a "Woodstock Nation" have been discovered in
literature and song originating after 1969. A spectacular three-day festival
staged that year in eastern North Amerika served to unite the tribes on a
platform of "peace, love and music."
The symbol of confederation (a.k.a. "PEACE SIGN") was ubiquitous throughout
Aquarian culture. Since it had to standard color or size, it could
accommodate various tribal or individual preferences, and its uses were
It was emblazoned on flags and banners, for example, which served to lead the
Aquarian armed forces into battle, or to identify various tribal groups at
festivals. It decorated "T-shirts," buttons, posters, rings, headbands, belts
and countless other objects. Reproduced in every medium and material known to
the Aquarians, it also identified tribal members traveling in foreign and
sometimes hostile territories.
It was even superimposed on what was apparently the flag of another nation,
whose primary colors were red, white and blue. Historians speculate that the
country may have been Amerika, against which the Aquarians fought many of
their greatest battles.
Vinyl, hydrogen dioxide, brass
Dimensions of actual bed: 8' x 8'
Inscription: "Do not puncture"
One of the great technological advances of the ages took place in Aquarian
times. After centuries of sleeping on hard floors, torn mattresses or even on
the concrete sidewalks, the Aquarians developed a plastic bed filled with an
This breakthrough totally changed the way of life of the Aquarians. Instead
of getting up each day ill-rested, they enjoyed the newfound sensation of a
soft, rolling ocean under their bodies. They began spending more and more
time in bed. Business was conducted from the bed, as was ritual drug-taking.
Whether the mother of invention was necessity in this case is hard to assess.
It is interesting to note, however, that this dramatic change in the prone
behavior of the Aquarians coincided almost exactly with the "summer of love."
SELECTIVE SERVICE CARD
Paper, ink, lighter fluid
Dimensions: Wallet Size
Inscription: "Required by Law to Have in Your Possession"
To aid the many thousands of their young men who wished to explore the world,
the Aquarians instituted a lottery system that would send selected
individuals on all-expenses-paid trips. Each young man was assigned a
SELECTIVE SERVICE NUMBER and was required to keep his SELECTIVE
SERVICE CARD on his person at all times, for he never knew when he might be
"called up." To be "called up" was apparently such a high honor that the Aquarians
became incensed when a young man refused the opportunity, and would fine and
Two locations were favored above all others by the SELECTIVE SERVICE
COMMISSION -- Vietnam and Germany. Unfortunately, traveling fellowships to
Vietnam were more widely available than to Germany, yet Germany was a much
more popular destination among the Aquarian young men. They campaigned
vigorously for Canada and Sweden to be added to the list of possible
destinations, but to no avail.
Each year a holiday was set aside on which Selective Service lottery numbers
would be chosen the following year. Young Aquarians would gather
suspensefully about "The Tube" to witness lottery selections. Those who were
granted their desired destination would celebrate wildly with friends and
family. Others not so fortunate might become so upset that they would
actually burn their Selective Service Cards.
- Condensed from Treasures of the Aquarians by Richard Davis and Jeff Stone
(New York: Penguin Books, 1985).
Actually, I've heard that if you remember the sixties, you never lived through them. Well, my daughter, born 1970, used to tell me that.
Whenever I read about archeological digs from 3 and 4 millennia ago, I always remember this little gem of a book!
Very funny! Having lived through the era, I can identify just about everything described here. And the misunderstandings and strange interpretations are quite entertaining.
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