Skip to main content

The Tomb of the Pontifex Dvorn by Robert Silverberg

* Note: Some of the links on this page are affiliate and sponsored links. Learn more on my Disclosure page.

"The Tomb of the Pontifex Dvorn" is a 2011 science fiction novelette by Robert Silverberg. It is about an historian and an archaeologist on an alien world who make a tremendously important discovery.

Archaeology and Science Fiction – Like Peanut Butter and Chocolate!

I think I’ve mentioned this before, but I am intensely fascinated by anthropology and archaeology. And when they are combined with a great science fiction story by an excellent author… well, let’s just say that its better than Reece’s Peanut Butter cups!

Non-Spoiler Summary

Practical Archaeology Course 2008-12 by Wessex Archaeology.

Ever since Simmilgord was a little boy growing up among the brightly colored savannas of Majipoor he has longed to study the planet’s history and tell its story. After many years of school and hard study he and his friend are given the chance of a lifetime – to excavate the tomb of the first Pontifex of Majipoor! He starts off as a skeptical scholar, but as they make several exciting discoveries his skepticism melts away and the two friends revel in their work – that is until the Superintendent of Antiquities becomes aware of their dig and stops by to (ahem…) help them out. Can their friendship survive the snobbish intrusion? Or will everything literally fall to pieces?

Some Interesting Tidbits

  • Word count: 13,708 (34 pages)
  • Did you know that Robert Silverberg has written more than 580 short stories? Yep. You can learn more about this prolific writer at
  • "The Tomb of the Pontifex Dvorn" is part of Silverberg’s Majipoor series. If you like it be sure to check out some of the other novels and stories set on this amazing planet – beginning with the award winning Lord Valentine’s Castle.
  • Special thanks to the excellent Variety SF for pointing me towards this awesome story!

Where To Find The Tomb of the Pontifex Dvorn

  • This story first appeared in the Winter 2011 edition of Subterranean Online – where you can still read it for free.

Craving More SF Stories Like This One?

If you liked "The Tomb of the Pontifex Dvorn" then you may also enjoy “Seven Views of Olduvai Gorge” by Mike Resnick – a story set in the far future when a group of anthropological aliens are studying the long and brutal empire of mankind.