WARNING - THIS DOCUMENT REQUIRES SEQUIOA GOLD CLEARANCE.
Subject: Species SEQUIOA GOLD
This document contains a thorough examination of our current historical knowledge regarding the species commonly known as the Ancients, also called the Elder Things and designated SEQUIOA GOLD under the NATO unified classification scheme. Most of Ancient history remains unknown. There are only a few periods that we have even the most minimal data on, primarily in the recent past. This is unsurprising given that our sources are primarily Ancient ruins and some information from the Asgard, who themselves admit they know only a fraction of the Ancient's full history.
The Ancients first came to Earth sometime around sixty-five million years ago, a date based upon the age of the planet's original stargate in Antarctica. This timeframe is, admittedly, somewhat shaky. The gate and its DHD could have been moved from somewhere else. However, given that this date lines up with the Cretaceous-Paleogene Extinction Event, it seems likely that it is accurate. How long the Ancients existed before this point remains unclear, but it could well be many more millions of years. Certainly they were around long enough to seed the vast majority of this galaxy and possibly others with their favored biosphere.
The next several million years are shrouded in mystery. It is likely that the Ancients built several settlements around Earth, but they were relatively small and the main population center was Antarctica, even after continental drift carried it down to the southern pole. This is not very surprising. While it would be a mistake to assume that Ancient society, and more importantly Ancient psychology, was identical to human norms, they were quite similar to us. At their level of technology, population levels would tend to be static and increase at a very slow rate. This supposition is backed up by the known population growth rates of the Tollan, Asgard, Nox, and to a lesser extent other advanced races and species. They likely settled many planets, but each one was lightly populated compared to 20th century Earth. This kept them spread out and less vulnerable to any single disaster. This was a wise precaution, as studies of some Ancient ruins seem to indicate that have been numerous planet-wide disasters throughout history, both of a mundane and arcane nature. Some even appear to have encompassed entire sectors of the galaxy.
Roughly five million years ago, the Ancients largely abandoned their settlements in the Milky Way, including those on Earth. The exact reason is unclear. Based on the encounter with Aiyanna (see Case TALIGENT GOSHAWK), it appears that a plague was a major driving force, but given that Aiyanna was able to cure most of those afflicted using advanced mental powers and that a Tok'ra was able to eliminate the disease from Colonel O'Neill, it seems certain that there must have been other factors. In any case, the Ancient population in the Milky Way plummeted. Earth was one of the few relatively untouched worlds, and much of the population here gathered at their largest city, Terra Atlantis. This was located at what is now the Antarctica Outpost (Base GOLD WHISKEY FIVE). The entire city, which was apparently capable of spaceflight, was then relocated to the Pegasus galaxy. Only a small number of Ancients were left behind and most of them later died of the plague or possibly ascended. In the intervening time, all of the remaining structures besides the outpost were stripped bare of useful technology. The outpost was left buried under a mile of ice and protected by some sort of anti-detection system. However, some ruins are still extant near the surface. These have been studied by various organizations ever since their discovery by the first Miskatonic expedition in 1930, under the aegis of various Antarctic treaties, the Dresden Agreement, and the Helsinki Accords.
Again, there is a gap in the historical record. It is clear that there was a considerable decline in Ancient population in the galaxy following the great disaster and it is possible that the majority of the race relocated to Pegasus. The Ancients clearly continued to have some contact and influence within the Milky Way, as evidenced by their leadership of the Alliance of the Great Races and their shepherding of several space fairing races as they developed. It seems certain that they had some influence on the evolution of humanity; our resemblance and ability to interbreed would otherwise be impossible.
Ancient society never fully recovered from the plague event, and went into a slow decline. However, it appears that something major happened roughly ten thousand years ago that caused them to essentially cut off all contact with the Milky Way. This roughly coincides with the rise of the Goa'uld as a galactic power, but given how much of their technology consists of bad copies of a few Ancient devices it seems that, as usual, they were merely scavengers picking through the ruins and not the cause of the Ancients' fall. Whether or not the Ancients remain extant in Pegasus is unknown, but statements from the Asgard seem to indicate this is unlikely. It appears that all surviving Ancients exist only on the ascended planes, a series of sub-universes loosely connected to our own. However, it is entirely that some remain in hiding.
While it may seem that Ancient history is largely irrelevant to our current affairs, it is none the less critical that we learn as much about it as we can. They are largely responsible for the current geopolitical makeup of the Milky Way and the surrounding galaxies. More important is their connection to us. By understanding the Ancients, we can understand our own origins, even if we may not like what we find. This understanding is essential for our own survival. Despite their essentially human nature, they somehow survived largely unchanged for sixty-five million years, if not longer. Even the Asgard, one of the oldest species we know, have a recorded history of only one hundred thousand years, and they are currently teetering on the brink of extinction. Most species do not last even that long, either being wiped out by themselves or external influences, evolving into something utterly alien, or simply dying away. The Ancients, on the other hand, survived. Their mundane technology far surpassed that of the Asgard, who are themselves unrivaled by all but the Replicators and Nox; Ancient arcanotechnology was so advanced that they could combat extradimesional entities such as the Great Old Ones and fight them to a standstill. It is one reason that the Asgard have shown such interest in us. They see us as a possible link to the Ancients that may hold the key to their own survival. If nothing else, we must explore that link to insure the safety of Earth, given both the constant threat of the Goa'uld and the predicted return of NIGHTMARE GREEN sometime within this century.