The excavation of the skeleton of Phalanx in the mountains of Jebal-Berez, Iran was the first of five hoaxes used in the viral marketing campaign for Shadow of the Colossus. First linked to by hub site Giantology on October 5, 2005 (nearly two weeks before the game was first released), this hoax focused on Dutch archaeologist Casper Shilling, and his "discoveries" in the mountains near the town of Bam.
October 05, 2005
The Skeleton of Jebel-Barez
Check this out:
The guy in the pic is a Dutch archeologist [sic] named Casper Shilling who claims to have found a huge skeleton in the mountains of Iran. He has some journal entries posted to his website, where he talks about the discovery and the size of the skeleton - suggesting it is "possibly hundreds of feet long."
Basically he says he was in Bam, Iran after the 2003 earthquake to help reconstruct some kind of ancient city that was partially destroyed. A local kid brought him out to the skeleton to look at it, and he's been trying to figure out what it could be.
These journal entries and images are dating back to early 2004... so why has no one else noticed this? Has this discovery just sat there for a year? I have to do some searches.
October 07, 2005
Another Iran Skeleton image
Part of the dig site Schilling [sic] is talking about. He says he thinks it might be reptilian, and also that it seems to have fins or wings like a giant whale or bird. Crazy stuff!
October 13, 2005
While digging a little further (pun intended) into the giant Iran skeleton, I found this article about giant footprints found in northeast Iran (Bam, where the Jebel-Barez skeleton is located is southeast, I believe). The article speculates that the footprints are from dinosaurs, but gives no definitive answer. Oh, also it's from 2000, not a recent story. Typically buried in the dark corners of the web, where I've been finding most of this stuff lately.
October 23, 2005
Iran Skeleton: Another Photo
Casper Shilling, who discovered the giant skeleton in Iran, has posted another photo of him standing among the creature's ribcage bones. I think it gives a better sense of scale about this thing than the previous photos.
November 11, 2005
Iran Skull & Artist's Sketch
Casper Shilling is at it again, this time with a double dose of Giantology goodness.
First, an impressive shot of the Skeleton of Jebel-Barez skull, stitched together from 2 images.
You can sort of make Shilling out to the left - the blue smudge is his pants. From this distance, you really get a sense of the scale of this thing.
And secondly, he's posted an artist's sketch of the skull. What an incredibly strange-looking beast this must have been.
The skull is 26 meters long, or about 85 feet. And 8 meters high, or about 26 feet.
Them's some big bones indeed.
December 14, 2005
Giantology Travel 3: MIDDLE EAST
...I've gotten a number of requests to check up on Casper Shilling and the Skeleton of Jebel-Barez, and if I can work out the logistics, I will definitely visit Bam, Iran.
- Shilling's site (archived)