Cultural Conventicle Kappa

The domed Conventicles of rural Areth once housed the masterpieces of Arethean visual culture. Ostensibly analogous to the fine-arts museums of Earth, Conventicles displayed Areth’s most highly-prized art works, although their manner of exhibition differed greatly from Terrestrial methods. The Arethean Conventicle system stressed an appreciation, bordering on worship, of individual works rather than collections.

The cupola and recessed interior of these structures housed only one masterwork at a time, usually placed on a plinth at the center of the structure. This unique institutional practice has been the subject of much speculation among various departments within the ARC. The Xeno-Anthropological Research Agency postulates that Cultural Conventicles formed a network of sites across the continent. Arethean aesthetes may have made pilgrimage from one site to another, after the fashion of well-heeled scholars on the European Grand Tour.

Unlike many cultural destinations on Earth, Areth’s Conventicles are found only in rural or sparsely developed areas. Whether this was intended to imbue the sites with an aura of serenity or to shape the trajectory of pilgrimage is unknown. Conventicle Kappa is among only a handful of such sites discovered still containing an Arethean artifact.

A set of three beautifully-wrought polyhedrons found inside the dome have come to be known as the Kappic Triad (see figure below). The objects appear to derive their forms from the emblem of the Three Prophets, Areth’s most widely-used pictogram. A metallurgical analysis of the Triad has revealed its was forged in the furnaces of Fabrication Facility Gamma, hundreds of kilometers to the north. Subsequent radiometric dating of the works indicates they were crafted between 500 and 150 BD (Before Discovery).