The Spitzkoppe Excavation story starts 385,000 kilometers from the Namib desert, on a completely different sort of desert. In the late 2030s, the stalled and drawn out Orion and subsequent Orion II programs returned humanity to the Lunar surface. The goal was the construction of a lunar base for the United States, something to challenge the recent successes of the Russians and the American private sector. History records that the first base established by the Americans failed, Clavius Base. The truth is much more complex, Clavius was successful, but they found something.
They found something horrible.
On the surface of the moon, the scientists of Clavius Base, found a graveyard.
The bodies were buried under a dozen feet of lunar rubble and dust, and were in exceedingly poor condition. The remnants of structures were found, and showed signs of extreme scoring and heat exposure. The bodies likewise showed signs of physical trauma and exposure to heat high enough to kill, but not quite high enough to vaporize bone. The similarities to sites like Pompeii were unmistakable. The bodies and the ruins were carbon dated to be be approximately 12,000 BCE.
The age of the bodies was concerning, as was the fact that they were human. This was all concealed by the American government, though the presence of European and Japanese crew members on the team kept the discovery from being an single nation's secret. Secret meetings were held back on Earth, with privileged diplomats and scientists from the various nations convening to determine the path they would take forward with their discovery. Such things couldn't be allowed to come to public light. There was already turmoil from contentious elections, concerns over fuel supplies, and erratic weather affecting storms and crops across large portions of the planet.
The Glassenheim Foundation was established by this ground, and given covert international funding. The host nations would share what they discovered, but would keep it amongst themselves.
One of the bodies recovered from the Clavius Base boneyard was found wearing a simple stone ring, made of an iridescent form of cuprite. This was notable because the material was easily traced back to it's source, the gemstone mines in Namibia. It was dated to be older than the ruins by several thousand years, but provided a link between the site and Earth.
The next few years saw clandestine operations financed by the Foundation spread across Namibia looking for the potential source of the stone that this ring was made from. It was discovered to match the characteristics of the cuprite reserves found around a region known as the Spitzkoppe, specifically, an inselberg, or granite dome, known as Monadnock.
The replacement for the 'failure' of Clavius base was Tycho Base. The site was chosen after lunar surveyors had noticed a number of electromagnetic anomalies in the vicinity of the crater. The base was built with plausible deniability in mind, and it's purpose was put out as to continue as the American stake to the Moon, but also as a Glassenheim Foundation research facility. Diggers and scientists burrowed under Tycho, building the lunar geofront and unearthing a number of staggering relics. More bodies were found amidst ruins, more evidence of extreme heat and compression damage, including more jewelry but not much else.
The difficulty in understanding primitive cultures is the transience of the majority of their working materials. The only things that stand the passage of time are stone and fired clay. Wood, bone, antler, and soft metals give way quickly. It would seem that the same would hold true of advanced civilizations, with electronic media, plastics, and synthetics being little more durable than the materials of primitive man.
The Pace Slows
The surveying and searching being done by the Glassenheim foundation was constantly being slowed by the pace of world events. The world was becoming more and more unstable, and progress was harder and harder to make. The population topped 10 billion a few years shy of 2035, placing enormous strain on food supplies, as well as fuel and other resources. The Foundation, even with it's internal clout, hadn't delivered anything of value outside of consensus shattering information. Offworld excavations were nearly halted, with only a handful of researchers left in place at Clavius and Tycho. Planetside work grew in importance, but only because it was cheaper and closer.
Spitzkoppe eventually yielded it;s payload. There were the ruins of a collapsed bunker under the Monadnock, and it was a data repository, not entirely unlike the Svalbard Seed Vault. The building style matched the lunar ruins, but was in equally bad condition. The Lunar sites showed heat and compression damage, but after that, were preserved by the airless environment. The Spitzkoppe facility had not been subjected to the same treatment, but had spent 12,000 years in the presence of an atmosphere.
The Emigre Codex and the Eschaton Treatise were both recovered from the vault, as were a number of other damaged records. These records, their formats, allowed the Foundation researchers to realize that several of the 'gem collections' from the Lunar excavations were not just artfully shaped rocks, but were in fact, the technology of the precursors. Armed with this knowledge, they took one of the larger codices, and succesfully hooked a computer network to it, and promptly melted down the network. The next attempt using military supercomputers allowed them to crack the encryption on the Neam Octillio giving the Foundation their Holy Trinity.
The Holy Trinity
The Emigre Codex, the Eschaton Treatise, and the Neam Octillio were gamechangers for the Foundation. The Octillio proved the most useful, and allowed for the Foundation to start paying back it's decades of investments. This return was capitalized in the Arcology, the first generation serving as the bastions of wealth and power in the United States, Europe, and Japan. This was important because the decryption of the Trinity occurred at the same time as the Resource Wars going into full swing. The Namibian dig sites were abandoned as Africa became a battleground for the Petroleum Era powers. Research was stymied as backers wanted weapons yielded from the recovered archives, they wanted the weapons that whatever this long vanished people had used to make sure that they could claim the oil reserves under Africa, South America, and across the oceanic floor to keep themselves voted into office and fuel prices low for the voting consumer.
The First of the Anunnaki were founded in the vault under Monadnock. There were six founders, four women and two men. After deciphering the method of the crystal storage medium, they were exposed to a now broken data record, which the Anunnaki have passed down in oral form, which they refer to as the Silver Record. The Silver Record is a momentary impression of Imbria, what their empire was, who they were, and what they stood for. With almost two centuries of progress since this time, it is known that the data record was a sort of SimSense device, and the six experienced a memory recording 12000 years old.
The data extracted from the Neam Octillio was quickly put into use, with the Foundation using it to raise their first headquarters. The Davenport Arcology was 1600 meters tall, and efficiently housed the computers, power generation systems, and the other installations needed for self sufficiency, allowing the Foundation to move off of the failing power grid. They built other arcologies, farming out the work through shell companies and subcontractors.
The IB-1 Davenport was the first arcology built, in Baltimore. It was followed by the IB-2 Cavendish in Washington D.C. This quickly established the International Building Code, and the process of registering the arcologies constructed under it. Quietly administrating this organization, as well as licensing out their deciphered Imbrian technology allowed the Glassenheim Foundation to continue funding themselves even as the economy started to seriously destabilize. This was not unnoticed, and more and more of the towers were built,with construction running right up to the middle of the Resource Wars. By the end of those wars, the fires were banked and the men and women ensconced in their towered battened down the hatches to wait out the ruin of the world.
The Second Dark Age
The Second Dark Age was a very important time for the Glassenheim Foundation. Barricaded inside their fortress towers, they worked on deciphering the secrets of their holy trinity of records. Pieces were doled out as they were translated, and entire research departments were devoted to turning reams of print outs and data files into something usable. This time period saw the birth of Arcanotech, a-pods, demi-sentient machines, organ cloning, synthetic blood, the 3rdNet, SimSense, massive advances in structural materials, construction technology, mecha, and more.
These three records, and the Spitzkoppe Excavation were the seminal forces of the Second Renaissance, and the Cosmic Era