Do you want to become part of history by helping in this quest? Learn about the facts behind the Copper Scroll.
You can join us by helping financially or you may actually come to the Judean desert to pitch in and help dig!
King Solomon was the son of King David and Queen Bethsheba and was the third King of Israel. He was known to be very wise and wrote many songs and proverbs. He was also known to be very wealthy and protector of the treasures that were housed in the first and possibly the second Temple. These included golden instruments, like trumpets, various ornaments, rich stones and priestly vestments.
We know that the first Temple was destroyed by Nebuchadnezzar, King of Babylon in 586 BC. The whereabouts and information of the Temple Treasures are unknown from that time. The second Temple was destroyed by the Romans in 66 AD. The historian, Josephus claimed that most of the priestly vestments and Temple artifacts were left in the Temple when it fell to the Romans. So, determining what Temple and where the treasures went are a mystery, but are spoken about in texts.
As late as 2014, newly discovered Hebrew texts claim that these treasures from the Temple were buried in the Middle East. This text includes mention of the Ark of the Covenant, Ornaments from the Temple and from the Garden of Eden and many gold and silver artifacts.
When the Copper Scroll was discovered, not too far from where the Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered, it lists 64 locations of treasures, 63 of which are filled with Gold and Silver, which has been estimated in the tons! One of the entries in the Copper Scroll says that there are "rich priestly vestments".
Another entry says,
"In the ruin that is in the valley of Acor, under
the steps, with the entrance at the East,
a distance of forty cubits: a strongbox of silver and its vessels
with a weight of seventeen talents."
We have discovered the tunnels with the steps, with the entrance at the East, that just could be what the historians and the ancient Hebrew texts and the Copper Scrolls wrote about.
Five years after the 1947 Bedouin discovery of the Judean Desert Dead Sea Scrolls, a singularly unique find was unearthed by French archaeologist, Henri de Contenson,
in the 3rd of the 11 Khirbet Qumran caves; a solitary scroll made of copper! It wasn't until 1956, however that English archaeologist John Allegro arranged for the scroll
to be cut into 23 strips thus exposing the scroll's ancient contents. Unlike the papyrus or parchment biblical writing of other Dead Sea script, the copper scroll revealed
non-biblical writings, in Mishnaic Hebrew, hammered into the 99% pure copper sheet. John Allegro's 1960 translation of the scroll contents made global headlines with its
revelation of a 64-site treasure registry where thousands of pounds of gold, silver and other items (valued in the billions of US dollars) were supposedly buried nearby!
Validating the authenticity of this incredible find, archaeologists generally agree that the writings are from the time of the Great Jewish Rebellion in 66 AD. These writings may indeed reference the massive amounts of original temple treasure that was partially restored to King Solomon's Jerusalem temple (as rebuilt by Nehemiah in 650 BC) with the return of the Jewish population from Babylonian exile. Scholars also point to possible Jewish efforts to later hide the temple treasures from advancing Roman armies during the Great Jewish Rebellion until what time they could return to recover them, but unfortunately, it all famously ended when this escaping Jewish remnant finally took their own lives at Masada during an encirclement and ensuing Roman siege that took place in 70 AD. Surprisingly, since that time, there has been no historical record of any desert treasure discoveries, nor revelation of the whereabouts of any of the famed temple treasures.
Today, the original Copper Scroll can be viewed in the Jordan Museum in Amman, Jordan.
Before the end of the twentieth century, Airline pilot and amateur Holy Land explorer, Bob Morgan, excitedly happened across two shallow tunnels in the Sekaka (shadow)
valley east of Jerusalem. Located on a remote military training area within the Judean Desert, and situated alongside a canyon at the base of mount Hyrcania, Bob secretly
began his lone efforts in excavating these curious discoveries. Hewn into solid limestone, the first of these ancient stepped passageways descended a mere 25 feet and then
abruptly ended yielding no clue as to its origins or purpose. From this experience, and from continuing site accessibility restrictions (due to extended periods of military
activity), Bob sought the professional assistance from the archaeological staff at Hebrew University for help with the second tunnel find. Archaeologist and then Master's
student, Oren Gutfeld accepted his new assignment as the site's director and fortified the efforts already begun by Bob and staff of adventurer volunteers.
Situated 1000 feet below King Herod’s ancient mount Hyrcania fortress ruins, the enigmatic chiseled rectangular opening of the second tunnel punctured the steep north face just above the dry wady narrows within the Sekaka Valley canyon, but this passageway burrowed deep into the mountainside at approximately a 32 degree descent. Undeterred by funding and site accessibility concerns, the team successfully mounted several efforts in extracting millennial fill dirt from this curiously North Star aligned passageway. The puzzling nature of this find was in fact heightened by the discovery of a Mezuzah (the physical representation of the Passover remembrance; in this case, insets carved into the tunnel ceiling and wall) at the 195 foot level. The coincidental finding of bones from an Capra Ibex (fully grown goat that Carbon-14 dated back to the Old Testament time of Jeremiah; around 650 BC) just above, at the 190 foot level, only added intrigue to the effort. It would be another two years of limited excavations before the 300 foot level and a tunnel widening was reached. It was here that the tunnel also branched to the left, but disappointingly, after another year of digging, down to a depth of approximately 360 feet, both tunnels abruptly ended; hitting the proverbial wall without any greater understanding, or physical evidence of its origins or purpose. Nevertheless, according to the now, Doctor of Archaeology, Oren Gutfeld, considers the sites as among the burial locations from the Copper Scroll, but void of any of the mentioned treasures.
Most recently, from information supplied by friendly Bedouin clansmen, two previously unrecorded tunnel sites - similar to the find at Hyrcania - have been reported to Dr. Gutfeld. Hidden nearby, in separate canyons accessible only by foot, expeditions to both sites have validated the findings to correspond with Copper Scroll writings. Starting with only one of the two discoveries, planned excavations for 2016 have once again renewed hope in gaining a deeper understanding of the tunnels' origins and in unearthing the truth of the mysterious lost treasures. We look forward to sharing our findings with our contributors, fellow enthusiasts, and for the benefit future generations in what could prove to be the greatest biblical archaeological discovery of all time.
There are so many key questions that have still gone unanswered, such as:
Dig sites must have the land owners permission. This can often be difficult when ownership is disputed.
Legal permits have to be purchased & signed. The dig requires a permit from the Israel Antiquities Authority far in advance of our arrival.
Dig directors must coordinate workers, schedules, meals, tools, transportation and much more. Technological limitations at the site also need to be addressed.
In active territories, security is essential to make sure the dig site is secure and all party members are safe, from both man, animal and environment.
Each dig member has a specific job they are assigned. A leader is key to make sure productivity is held and information flows to a common point.
Strict processes must be adhered to in order to make sure all aspects of the dig is lawful and well documented.
An effective group of worker has been instructed thoroughly prior to any digging. Top down oversight will result in an organized team.
Reliable excavation tools must be brought or rented. Since sites can be a distance away from inhabitants, having a backup plan for each item will help reduce wasted time if a problem should arise.
Digging in unstable ground can be dangerous. Safety procedures are to be laid out and followed to insure no harm comes to any member. Emergency supplies must always be stocked.
Each archaeological excavation specimen is to be evaluated by a professional to determine such things as age, composition and background.
Post-excavation reports contain technical information about the project. These will be useful to archaeologists and those interested in more in-depth information.
Special handling and documentation of each item found is key to the success of the project. Research and preservation is accomplished by a team of scholars.
Video documentation of both inside and outside of the dig can be a great resource for later review. High definition and drone footage are now becoming standard.
Post dig analysis and meetings will be held to discuss important aspects of the project, and any future excavations are to be reviewed.
If this type of adventure is exciting to you, there are many ways to get involved!
This dig will put Israelis, Palestinians and Americans working together, side by side. Each has a responsibility to represent their people during this potentially historic search. The success hinges on the ability of each group to accomplish the necessary tasks needed.
Media has portrayed most religious groups as intolerable of each other, specifically Jews and Muslims. This project demonstrates how people can put aside their differences to focus on a common goal. Due to the location of the dig, each religious group must be a part of this discovery.
We have begun preparation to document our experiences throughout the dig process. This includes filming expert interviews, collaboration within a diverse group of individuals, drone aerial footage, and detailed excavation. We will be marketing our film to a variety of major studios.