By our foreign staff 13/05/2008 -German archaeologists have claimed to have found one of the fabled resting places of the Ark of the Covenant, the chest holding the Ten Commandments which gave the ancient Israelites their power.
The University of Hamburg say its researchers have found the remains of the 10th century BC palace of the Queen of Sheba in Axum, Ethiopia, and an altar which at one time reputedly held the precious treasure.
Archaeologist Helmut Ziegert, who is leading the dig said: “From the dating, its position and the details that we have found, I am sure that this is the palace.”
Ethiopian legends holds that the Ark was taken to the palace of the Queen of Sheba by King Solomon, the king of the Jews, after they fell in love.
After the Queen’s death her son, Menelek, rebuilt the palace and dedicated it to the cult of Sirius, but kept the Ark in its resting place there.
The team said evidence at the site included Sirius symbols, the debris of sacrifices and the alignment of sacred buildings to the rising-point of Sirius, the brightest star in the sky.
“The results we have suggest that a Cult of Sothis developed in Ethiopia with the arrival of Judaism and the Ark of the Covenant and continued until 600 AD,” the university said. Sothis is the ancient Greek name for Sirius.
The German research, which began in 1999, is aimed at documenting the origins of the Ethiopian state and the Ethiopian Orthodox Church.
The hunt for the Ark, which featured in the Indiana Jones film Raiders of the Lost Ark, has become almost as legendary as the artefact itself.
The 1981 film has the artefact recovered by the Nazis from a resting place in the “Well of Souls” in Tanis, Egypt – not to be confused with the Well of Souls on Temple Mount, Jerusalem.
The Nazi treasure hunters are later killed when the Ark is opened.
The Old Testament recounts that Moses, on leading the Israelites from Egypt, received the Ten Commandments from God on Mount Sinai.
These Commandments, written on stone tablets, were later placed in a chest made from acacia wood, plated with gold and topped with two golden angels. This was the Ark of the Covenant.
The Ark was then kept in the Temple of Solomon Jerusalem for centuries, according to the Old Testament.
After Jerusalem was conquered by the Babylonians in the 6th century BC, the Bible and it entered the realm of legend.
Ethiopian tradition claims that the Ark was moved to Axum from Jerusalem in 10th century BC.
A sect in Ethiopia maintains that the Ark is kept at the church of St Mary of Zion, but the site is defended by monks and only one guardian is allowed to see it, making the claim impossible to verify.
Story from Telegraph News.