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Where is this room and what is it used for?

Technically it is not confirmed where this room is, whether it is on the ship or on the planet but in either case, I could not determine what the purpose of the room could have been?

  • What is the giant head for?
  • Did every ship carry one?
  • Do they worship themselves?
  • Why the mutable patterns on the ceiling?

The black mutagen is scattered around the room in containers that are OPEN. I am having a hard time understanding what purpose they could have sitting around the room. The spaces between the cannisters seems very small so I can't even seen the Engineers moving around this room very easily.

What would they use this room for? Speculation allowed but movie facts are desirable if possible.

Alien head from Prometheus

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    I'm pretty sure this room was not actually on the ship. The tunnels outside are Rough-hewn, and the floor is dirt. The ship is at the end of the LONG tunnel, far from the area first explored.
    – aslum
    Jun 15 '12 at 21:26
  • If its not on the ship, then that makes it even stranger to me. How did it get there, why put it there and why surround it with Weapons of Genetic Mass Destruction? Arrrrggg! Too many questions! Jun 15 '12 at 23:24
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    Um, it's a base/complex and the ship is docked. Remember there was more than one ship. If you pay close attention to the holographic map on Prometheus (not the star map David activates) you'll notice it is a huge dome shape (mimicing the huge structure we see from outside). There is a long tunnel, and later we see a hologram of the C shaped ship, which is docked at the end of the tunnel, halfway or so to where Prometheus landed.
    – aslum
    Jun 15 '12 at 23:49
  • I think a better question is why they stored those things so poorly in that room. Just sitting there evenly spaced on the ground, or in some big pile. I'd think having them organized and secure would have been a better idea. Jun 16 '12 at 3:01
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    They show a stockroom of the canisters exactly like you describe a bit later in the film. Chilling. Jun 16 '12 at 3:40
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I believe that there is a good chance the idol was merely meant to distract from the fact that the room is a death trap.

The room maybe similar to the ending room/construct of Revelation Space, where the aliens have lured the humans to a particular place with an origin mystery simply to assist the aliens in eradicating humanity.

Once the atmosphere hits the room the bio-agents are set in motion, the only thing that needs to happen is for the explorers to stick around long enough to get infected. But it does seem like an awful lot of canisters just to form a simple trap, though apparently they have quite a stockpile overall.

Perhaps the Engineers that built the bio-weapons facility also had rivals or enemies that they sought to guard against. Rigging a central room with a booby trap, might be useful as a security measure.

On the other-hand in the intro, the aliens appear to have had at one time a reverence for life and creating life. By that same token, maybe they attach a religious significance to causing death. Apparently, Scott considered having the Engineers be Jesus at some point but felt it was a little too blunt for mainstream audiences.

From Alien vs Predator wiki - Engineers:

This explains the cave drawings 'inviting' humanity to track them down. Some fans have suggested that Jesus Christ was an Engineer and his death at the hands of man was the point they turned against humanity. In an interview with Movies.com Ridley Scott acknowledges that this back story was considered but neither confirms nor denies that this was indeed used in the final script:

Movies.com: "We have heard that it was scripted that the Engineers were targeting our planet for destruction because we had crucified one of their representatives, and that Jesus Christ might have been an alien. Was this ever considered?"

Ridley Scott: "We definitely did, and then we thought it was a little too on the nose. But if you look at it as an 'our children misbehaving down there' scenario, there are moments where it looks like we've gone out of control, running around in armor and skirts, which of course would be the Roman Empire. And they were given a long run. A thousand years before their disintegration actually started to happen. And you can say, 'Let's send one more of our emissaries to see if he can stop it'. Guess what? They crucified him."

Either way the idol was probably built to inspire awe, but it's not clear whether the idol is intended for humans or Engineers, or whether it was built with a trap in mind.

What is the giant head for?

A trap and/or to inspire awe, religious or otherwise.

Did every ship carry one?

I don't think they were on the ship yet when they found the room.

Do they worship themselves?

As Orac would say this question is illogical since all religions possess some elements of self worship. But kidding aside, I would say yes in a sense, though as a god-form or a mortal I cannot say.

Why the mutable patterns on the ceiling?

Probably decorative art, whether murderous or religious I'm sure the Engineers felt they had to have a sense of style.

Another theory: The idol and room were for racial reunion, but that idea was abandoned in favor of a death trap:
What if the room was originally intended to be for a species reunion for the two species Engineer and man. But after some negative interaction with humanity the idea was abandoned and then the room was booby trapped when some of the Engineers started to have second thoughts about creating other intelligent species.

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    Great answer, and (including "Another theory") it would confirm that the cave drawings on Earth were indeed inviting humans to come to the solar system (though the motive behind the invite is unclear).
    – Shane F.
    Jun 23 '12 at 18:40
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I believe the room originally had some religious significance to the Engineers but as more and more of the weapons were made they simply needed more storage space. They had the good common sense not to store the weapons on board the ships.

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    But later in the film we see the weapons inside the C-shaped ship!
    – CamelBlues
    Jun 18 '12 at 18:52
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I am not mistaken, the only thing we know about Chamber-Engineers interaction is how they ran there.

From the movie it seemed that they ran from something. They ran so badly that they dared to kill one of their own rather than let the doors open longer. So they thought that the sealed door will provide them with security (the chamber was not inspected completely but I doubt that other bodies were there so it actually saved them).

From this point of view room rather looks like laboratory or some kind of testing facility. This kind of room would provide them with security since it has to be properly isolated.

The purpose of the head is a mystery indeed; it is too big to be a device, which could be manipulated from the ground. What is strange for me is that the head has several stripes. The stripes look uncharacteristic for sculptures or any kind of art (why such imperfection). Also in this case I think it is some kind of a bigger device which can either move (open) or transmit. These stripes can be either power source or they can have mechanical origin. enter image description here

And to fit my theory into the "mutable patterns on the ceiling": ). They could be some kind of shield. Or maybe evaporated black liquid (every liquid evaporates regardless the temperature) condensated on the ceiling.

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Just speculating, but it's possible their quest to wipe out Earth had some sort of religious significance to them, in which case this room could function as some sort of shrine (it could also explain the artwork on the ceiling).

Or perhaps it was meant to symbolically show their superiority in a way that any earth-people entering the room of WMDs would know who it was that caused their destruction. I'm not sure / don't remember how they planned on distributing the mutagens, so again, this is just speculation.

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Since all of the answers here are speculation, I'll add my own.

Perhaps the Engineers are some type of death-cult. We see this at the start of the film,

when the Engineer, on Earth, ingests the black oil. The oil kills him, but he falls into the water to populate the planet with the remnants of his DNA.

Possibly the room had religious significance in their death cult rituals, which would explain why the canisters are arranged around the head.

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I think the big head is in the image of their creator. It appears to be bound. I think it is Fifield asked if they worshipped it. This might indicate that they have slain their creators. Now they're going after their creators' other creation, humans.

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    Welcome to Science Fiction and Fantasy SE, take a look at our tour to get an idea of the site. Is there any evidence you could provide to aid your points of view? To make your answer a bit stronger?
    – Edlothiad
    Feb 12 '17 at 16:57

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