Monday, December 27, 2010

Vendyl Jones has passed away

VENDYL JONES has died today:
Noahide Archaeologist Vendyl Jones Passes Away

by Hillel Fendel (Arutz Sheva)

Vendyl Jones – Noahide archaeologist who discovered an immense stock of incense used in the Second Temple as well as the aromatic anointing oil – has passed away at the age of 80. He was most famous for his search for the Ark of the Covenant.

Diagnosed with cancer of the throat seven months ago, in pain and unable to swallow, Jones was tended by his wife Anita during this period. Money for medical bills was scarce, as most of the money he made during his career went towards furthering his archaeological and religious pursuits in Israel.


His life goals began to take root when he learned, in 1964, that the Copper Scroll had been found in a cave at Qumran, Israel, and that it listed – in coded form – the hiding places of sacred articles such as the Ark of the Covenant. In April 1967, he moved his family to Israel, continuing his studies in the Department of Judaica at Hebrew University and becoming involved in archaeology. He aided the Israeli army during the Six Day War, when his color-blindness helped him detect camouflaged enemy tanks.

He worked on many digs at Qumran and other Judean Desert sites, though he did not receive government support or funding. His most famous find was that of the Ketoret – 900 pounds of reddish powder with a uniquely strong fragrance that he said was the Ketoret, the 11-ingredient incense used in the Holy Temple. Though critics disputed his findings, they were supported by tests conducted at Weizmann Institute and Bar-Ilan University.

Dr. Jones was often said to be the inspiration behind the "Indiana Jones" films starring Harrison Ford, though he himself has denied it, as have the film-makers. Among his children are converts to Judaism living in Samaria and elsewhere in Israel. His funeral will take place in Grandview, Texas.
You can also read the Wikipedia entry on him here. According to it, another view is that the "incense" was actually dirt.

Mr. Jones was mentioned in PaleoJudaica here, here, and here, all three posts referring to his dotty plans to find the Ark of the Covenant. (Incidentally, the Copper Scroll does not give a location for the Ark of the Covenant, more's the pity.)

It may be that Mr. Jones was involved in some legitimate archaeology along the way, but most of what he did seems to have revolved around finding the Ark and other goofy ideas. Well, if nothing else, he provided some amusement. May he rest in peace.

(HT Gerald Rosenberg.)