The Dead Sea Scrolls are undoubtedly the most important archaeological discovery ever made in the Holy Land. The first scrolls were discovered in 1947, by two Bedouins, near a site called Qumran. Eventually 11 caves around Qumran proved to contain scrolls or fragments of them. In total, 20 complete scrolls, and another 16,000 fragments of scrolls were recorded.
The Copper Scroll was found in 1952 by a French archaeological expedition, in the furthest cave from Qumran. The scroll was all intact, but unfolding it took several years, and only then was it read. It proved to contain a rather technical list, of 60 locations, each containing a hoard of gold, silver and temple utensils. The scroll has generated a lot of speculations and research in hope of tracking these treasures.
This specially designed private tour will first take you to the cave where the Copper Scroll was found. After a full reading of the text, it will lead you to some of the locations where excavations were carried out in hope of finding one of the treasures. So prepare your whip and Indiana Jones hat – We’re going for some serious treasure hunting!
Search Around Qumran
Our tour begins at Cave 3, where the Copper Scroll was discovered. We will read the text carefully, with modern commentary, and make some initial assessments. Next, we will drive into Qumran. Some scholars suggested identifying here Sechacha, which is mentioned a few times in the Copper Scroll.
We will especially follow paragraphs 21, 26, and 54 of the Copper Scroll. They seem to suggest that some treasures were hidden in Qumran’s cemetery, its dam, and a nearby cave with two entries facing east.
Crawl in a Tunnel in the Desert
Next, we will drive up the steep dirt road climbing up into the Judean Desert. We will navigate our way into a specific spot in Hyrcania Valley, where a mysterious tunnel was excavated some years ago.
Paragraph 1 in the Copper Scroll describes treasure hidden “under the steps facing east at Haruba, in Achor valley.” This mysterious stepped tunnel was excavated and proved to be over 100 meters (about 300 feet) deep. What was it dug for? And by whom? With headlamps we will crawl into it and try to figure it out.
Explore Tombs in the Kidron Valley
Finally, we will drive up to Jerusalem, and make our final stop at the Kidron Valley. Here, between Mount of Olives and the Temple Mount, monumental tombs were formed about 2,000 years ago. One of them is called “Absalom’s Monument.” Paragraph 48 in the Copper scroll describes 80 talents of precious metal buried beneath “the western side of Absalom’s Monument.” We will review the monument and the research done around it. Will we finally find the hidden treasure?