ARCHAEOLOGISTS are continuing to race against grave robbers to find more ancient Dead Sea Scrolls and the treasure they could lead to.
The first lot of scrolls were found in 1947, with the mysterious Copper Scroll found in 1952, but recent developments have stirred excitement and hundreds of caves still need to be excavated.
Wikimedia Commons The is a replica of part of the ancient Copper Scroll that lists where treasure can be found
The Dead Sea Scrolls are ancient Jewish manuscripts that were found in the Qumran Caves in the dessert to the north of the Dead Sea.
The Copper Scroll is one of the most famous scrolls because it is the only metal scroll and it lists places were various items of gold and silver are hidden.
Archaeologists translating the scroll soon realised it was special because it contains directions to 64 locations where staggering quantities of treasure could be found.
Scholars believe that this scroll was placed in the cave at a different time to all the other parchment scrolls.
The Copper Scroll was found in a cave in the Qumran Settlement near the Dead Sea
Reuters People are still on the hunt for the treasure today
It is made of copper so thin that it could be rolled up but, due to corrosion, the scroll had to be cut into strips for preservation purposes and is now on display at the Jordan Museum.
Over 4,600 pieces of precious metal are listed on the scroll, which makes the total haul worth well over $1billion (£770million).
Getty – Contributor The Copper Scroll was found amongst a group of lots of other ancient parchments called the Dead Sea Scrolls
Can the Copper Scroll Treasure be found?
The Copper Scroll led to one of the biggest treasure hunts in history with numerous expeditions that have already attempted to find the treasure it describes.
However, the clues to were the treasure is are written in such obscure ways that any treasure hunter will have a hard time working it out.
For example, one column reads: “In the salt pit that is under the steps: forty-one talents of silver. In the cave of the old washer’s chamber, on the third terrace: sixty-five ingots of gold.”
As no real starting point is mentioned, it would also be impossible to follow all the directions accurately.
The copper scroll had to be cut up into pieces and put back together so it could be translated
Wikimedia Commons/Osama Shukir Muhammed Amin The real scroll is now displayed in pieces next to a new copper version
Scholars also think that some of the treasure could have been taken thousands of years ago by the Romans or other looters.
One extensive treasure hunt occurred in 1962 when archaeologist John Allegro excavated potential burial places that were listed on the scroll.
Unfortunately he came back empty handed but that didn’t stop other treasure seekers following his lead.
Due to the current political situation in the region were the scrolls were found, it’s very difficult to get permission to do any serious excavation work.
However, this could mean that the treasure is still out there somewhere, waiting to be found.
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Would you like to go on an ancient treasure hunt? Let us know in the comments…
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