The Ark of the Covenant is one of the most enduring mysteries that originated in the Old Testament. It was recorded there, in great detail (Exod.25:10-22; 37:1-9), how the Ark was constructed in order to house the tablets of stone inscribed with the Ten Commandments given to Moses. King Solomon built the First Jerusalem Temple with the primary purpose of providing a suitable home for the Ark. Some time before the 6th century BC the Ark disappeared and so for at least two and a half millennia the search for it has been ongoing.
In 1982, Yehuda Getz, the rabbi in charge of Jerusalem’s Wailing Wall claimed to have knowledge of the Ark’s location to within 2 or 3 metres, under the Dome of the Rock and the al-Aqsa Mosque. Political considerations have prevented any excavation at the site(d). The late Ron Wyatt also claimed to have discovered the Ark in 1982, under the old city of Jerusalem(f). A 2017 claim is that the Ark is situated near Jerusalem at Kiryat Ye’arim, where excavations will begin soon(g).
One of the best known books recounting a personal search for the Ark in modern times was by Graham Hancock in the shape of The Sign and the Seal , which ended with a frustrated author outside a church in Axum, Ethiopia. Oddly, Hancock touches on the subject of Atlantis in this book (p.319) where he dismisses the idea of an Atlantic home for Atlantis.
Hancock’s experiences in Ethopia were repeated by Paul Raffaele and recounted in a 2007 article in the Smithsonian magazine(b). However, there is a short report(c) that in 1869, Isaac de Karpet, Armenian Patriarch of the library of the monastery of St. James in Jerusalem, along with his brother Dimoteo Sapritchian, gained access to the church in Axum thanks to the intervention of the Abyssinian crown prince Kasa. They concluded that the ‘Ark’ in the church were wooden tablets (tabots) inscribed with the Ten Commandments dating from the 13th or 14th centuries AD.
The de Karpet report was recently echoed by an account(m) of the inside of the Aksum church having been seen by one Edward Ullendorff during WW2 and who much later gave an interview to the Los Angeles Times in 1992 in which he revealed that there was only a replica of the ‘Ark’ which are to be found in churches throughout Ethiopia.
A recent website article(a) offers newly discovered evidence for considering Yemen as the hiding place of the Ark. However, closer to home we have a book by Graham Phillips suggesting that the Ark had been brought back to England, to Temple Herdewyke, near Stratford-upon-Avon. He partly bases this idea on the work of Jacob Cove-Jones, a British historian(e), who died before he could complete his own quest for the Ark.
Other suggested locations include Mount Pisgah in Jordan(h), East Prussia(i) and Ireland’s Hill of Tara(j). The fruitless excavations at Tara around 1900 by British-Israelites in now recounted in a recent book by Mairéad Carew .
Expanding the possible locations further west is the suggestion by J. Chamberlain, following the theories of J.P. Noel(l) who proposed in a convoluted tale, that St. Croix in the Caribbean U.S. Virgin Islands as the final resting place of the Ark .
Equally entertaining is the hint from the late Philip Coppens that the Bugarach mountain, near the Rennes-le-Chateau, was also, through rumour, the location of the ‘Ark’. In a colourful article Coppens, links, President Mitterrand, Nazis, Mossad and Steven Spielberg(k).
A number of other books and TV documentaries charting the search for the Ark continue to be produced. However, there is also another trend becoming more obvious, which is that there is an increasing number of instances, particularly on the Internet, of the Ark being linked to Atlantis. There is, of course, no evidence ever offered to support such speculation. One of the most recent of these is Opening the Ark of the Covenant, co-authored by Frank Joseph, where he traces the Ark back to Atlantis.
There are probably few people that don’t accept that the Ark had been a real artefact, while many doubt the reality of Atlantis. It is possible that by linking the two, authors hope to achieve credibility transference from one to the other!
*Spencer Alexander McDaniel, an American researcher, has published a lengthy article about the Ark and concluded that while it is possible that it did exist, it is unlikely, for a number of reasons, that it survived(n).*
(c) http://ilsettimopapiro.altervista.org/antichi___misteri.htm (offline May 2017: see Archive 2479)
(d) Brisbane Courier Mail, 29th January 1992
(k) Atlantis Rising, No. 88, July/August 2011