I'm looking for a specific Science Fiction short story or novella. I've searched high and low on the Internet to no avail - maybe you guys can help me out.

The story is set on present-day earth and is about mind-shattering archaeological finding: somewhere, a gravesite full of fossilized alien remains is found.

This of course changes the way humanity views itself and its history, but there is no evidence the Aliens ever influenced the development of humanity in any way. It's just their remains lying in the ground. Eventually the entire gravesite is excavated, and no further evidence of alien activity on earth is found. It's just those ages-old fossils that tell us we are not alone in the Universe.

If I remember correctly, the entire story consists of narration, there are no dialogs. It is set only on Earth, other planets don't play into it IIRC.

I could have sworn the story must be in one of the volumes from Gardner Dozois' "Year's Best SF stories" series that I own, but I went through them all and I can't find it.

Does anybody know the story I'm talking about?

  • It sounds a little like 5,000,000 years to Earth except they were found near a subway instead of a volcano, and there was character dialogue. Nov 29, 2012 at 0:44
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    That's a very Arthur C Clarke concept; it's a long time since I've read the Sentinel and I'm 99.99999% certain it's not it, but maybe searching for similar stories could nudge you in the right direction?
    – user8719
    Nov 29, 2012 at 1:08
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    There was a similar story from Soviet SciFi, with an alien fossil found near a fossil of a dinosaur with lazer-drilled holes in its skeleton. Nov 29, 2012 at 3:06
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    This is reminiscent of Larry Niven's Sea Statue, a billion-year-old preserved alien found under the ocean; I don't think that's it though, since in that story the alien is alive and in statis (and eventually comes back to life for a bit). Nov 29, 2012 at 17:09
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    @MarkBeadles - That was my first thought, too, but it doesn't quite match up.
    – SaintWacko
    Dec 5, 2012 at 18:01

3 Answers 3


That sounds like "Before My Last Breath" by Robert Reed. A geologist discovers alien fossils in a coal mine.

It was published in "The Year's Top Ten Tales of Science Fiction 2" (Amazon link). So that would fit also with your recollection of the "Year's Best SF stories".

  • Thank you! This sounds like it could be it, even though I could swear I've never seen that collection. I bought the Kindle edition and will check it out soon!
    – Pekka
    Dec 5, 2012 at 13:43
  • This was it. Thanks very much.
    – Pekka
    Dec 7, 2012 at 9:51

It's not a short story, but Eric Flint and Ryk E. Spoor's "Boundary". It is about a paleontologist finding "funny fossil" in Arizona. When no further evidence is found here on Earth, the theory of its alien origin is squashed. But when another "fossil" is found on Mars....

  • I thought of this too, but that book has quite a bit of dialog. Nov 29, 2012 at 22:14
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    Thanks Jim, but I'm pretty sure this is not it! I checked it out on Google Books where you can read a couple of pages and Mars didn't play into the equation in the story I'm looking for. This seems a really tough nut to crack...
    – Pekka
    Nov 29, 2012 at 23:44

It sounds like "The Hole" by Burt K. Filer

  • 2
    What about this work matches the question's description?
    – user1027
    Mar 21, 2013 at 20:18
  • What about this work is relevant to the question or addresses the asker's points? Use the edit button.
    – user64742
    Mar 13, 2019 at 1:03

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