The Ark of the Covenant has fueled the imaginations of scientists and Hollywood directors alike for years. The ancient box, rumored to contain the stone tablets on which God inscribed the Ten Commandments, was the main plot point in the 1981 Indiana Jones film Raiders of the Lost Ark.
Now, scientists have started a new search for the Ark. Although this hunt likely won’t involve swinging from ropes, cracking whips, and enemies who meet their end when their faces melt off, the research team involved in the search believes that they will finally discover what Indiana Jones and his foes risked their lives to uncover.
Between August 7 and September 1, the team of researchers from Israel and France plans to excavate Kiriath-Jearim, an ancient biblical site in the hills of west Jerusalem. The site is rumored to have inspired the hit Indiana Jones film.
“It’s a large, central site in the Jerusalem hills that hasn’t been studied until now,” explained Israel Finkelstein, a professor at Tel Aviv University.
“It may be the only key site in Judah that hasn’t undergone a systematic archaeological excavation,” he said to The Times of Israel.
In addition to the site remaining largely unexplored, researchers have another reason to be hopeful about discovering the Ark at Kiriath-Jearim. A reading of the Book of Samuel reveals that the Ark was stored there for 20 years.
Finkelstein said, “It’s reasonable to assume there was a temple there. To follow the story, the place where they took the Ark of the Covenant wasn’t, of course, just some field or under a tree. They refer to an important cult place.”
Kiriath-Jearim definitely fits the bill. In multiple instances throughout the Bible, the site is referenced as a sacred place where people would gather to worship. Just don’t touch the Ark or look into it, team!
By Dawn Henderson, Earth.com Staff Writer
Source: Israel Finkelstein, Tel Aviv University