They found the first body tucked away in one of the many coves that dot the shoreline. It had long decomposed, and it first appeared as if all they had to go on was a set of bones whose neat arrangement had been systematically disrupted with the rolling tide. After closer examination, however, they happened across what initially looked like an ornately decorated animal hide. But as the pieces came together, it became undeniable that what they had thought was a hide was in fact the carefully preserved skin of the man they had stumbled upon at the mouth of the cavern. And rather than decoration, the skin buried next to him was covered in patterns of scars, each grouped around where a vital organ would be located
The discovery fascinated everybody. Some were incredulous, unwilling to believe the authenticity of their find. Others called on tables or charts, long memorized from daily use comparing this or that thing. But the most helpful theory for these momentary detectives came from an unpredictable source, a book on mythology written by the Frenchman George Dumézil entitled Mitra-Varuna. Part philology, part comparative folklore, this book unifies Indo-European myths of authority into a single general theory of sovereignty. Sovereignty, argues Dumézil is constituted by two heads – one taking on the figure of a great conquerer, the other a mighty priest – and while they had found the former, the later was still to come.