Bible Archaeology, Search & Exploration Institute (BASE) claim there is strong evidence that the Old Testament’s ark’s resting place is in Ethiopia.
The Ark of the Covenant is one of the most sought after relics from the Bible, being the trunk said to contain the Ten Commandments handed down to Moses on Mount Sinai.
It is said the chest is made of wood and covered in gold, containing the two stone tablets along with other paraphernalia from the Bible.
Ethiopia has long had a connection to the Ark, with Christians in the country outright claiming to be the current holders of the relic with it under guard at the Church of Our Lady Mary of Zion.
BASE archaeologists have claimed there is “compelling evidence” that the Ark was in fact taken to Africa by ancient Jews as it was sailed down the Nile.
“[We] have uncovered compelling evidence that the Ark may well have been spirited up the Nile River”
Biblical scholars mounted an expedition to Ethiopia as they believe the Ark was taken there after being shipped out of Israel to Egypt.
BASE do not 100% claim to have uncovered the Ark, but said the research has “strong potential”.
It said: “Although the subject is controversial and clouded with confusion, one emerging theory indicates that the Ark of the Covenant was transported out of ancient Israel and may be in Ethiopia today.
“As unusual as this may sound, the BASE team has uncovered compelling evidence that the Ark may well have been spirited up the Nile River to an eventual resting place in the remote highlands of ancient Kush–modern-day Ethiopia.”
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BASE allege the Biblical king Manasseh drove a sect of Jews out of Israel and they took the Ark of the Covenant with them from its original resting place beneath the Temple Mount.
Biblical scholars from there suggest the Ark was taken to Egypt, where the organisation claims to have found evidence of a Jewish colony on Elephantine Island.
Investigators were dispatched who found the ruins of a replica Jewish temple, claims they say are backed by ancient scrolls such as bundle of documents the Elephantine Papyri.
Questioning where the Ark went next, BASE theorise the Ark was then sailed down the river Nile to Ethiopia.
BASE believe the temple found in Egypt was destroyed around 410BC, so around then is when the Ark would have been shipped to Ethiopia.
It has been described as “ideal refuge” for the Ark as it could not return to Israel due to persecution.
Visiting the alleged site in Ethiopia they were met with Christian monks who showed BASE investigators remains of what were said to alters for ancient ritual sacrifice and remains of a makeshift tent that would have housed and protected the Ark.
The monks also produced the two forks allegedly taken from Solomon’s Temple – the first temple in Jerusalem – that was destroyed in 587 BC.
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BASE scholars visited the Church of Our Lady Mary of Zion – but were denied access to the alleged Ark, but were given compelling testimony by the priest onsite.
No one can view the Ark except for the guardian monk, who is confined to the chapel looking after the golden crate until his death.
“At this juncture, we cannot say with certainty that it is, but neither can he say for certain that it isn’t,” they said.
“What we have concluded is that St. Mary’s of Zion church in Axum, Ethiopia, is the resting place either of an incredible replica of the biblical Ark of the Covenant, or, of the actual Ark of the Covenant itself.”
Legends about the end of days are linked to the recovery of the Ark, claiming the construction of the prophesied Third Temple – which would trigger the end times and the arrival of the Messiah – needs the crate to be returned to Jerusalem.
Prophecies state that Ark will be found just before Judgement Day when God should “gather his people again and receive them unto mercy”.
Other theories on the Ark’s location claim it remains hidden in its resting place beneath the Temple Mount, to being sunk in the Sea of Galilee, or even being captured by the US.
And some even claim it was discovered by the Knights Templar and brought to Temple Herdewyke, near Leamington Spa, or remains hidden beneath the Basilica of St. John Lateran in Rome.
To this day, there is no leading historical theory on what happened to the Ark and some question whether such an object ever existed at all.