Wednesday, October 27, 2021

The bizzarre Ark hunters of 1909

IRRESPONSIBLE ARK ARCHAEOLOGY: The Secret Excavation of Jerusalem. A British aristocrat looking for the Ark of the Covenant launched history’s most peculiar archaeological dig—and set off a crisis in the Middle East (Andrew Lawler, Smithsonian Magazine).
In the annals of archaeology, it ranks as the most bizarre excavation team. Led by a handsome British aristocrat, its members included a Swiss psychic, a Finnish poet, an English cricket champion and a mustachioed Swede who once piloted a steamboat on the Congo River. None had any training in the field.

Nor was the object of their search ordinary. This motley assemblage arrived in Jerusalem in 1909, when the Holy City was still under the authority of the Ottoman Empire, ruled from Istanbul. They sought nothing less than the famed Ark of the Covenant, along with treasures gathered by King Solomon 3,000 years ago that, according to legend, were later hidden.


And it all went downhill from there.

For countless PaleoJudaica posts on the Ark of the Covenant, the legends surrounding it, and the numerous fruitless (at least so far) attempts to find it, start here (cf. here) and follow the links.

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