Israel cover-up attempt fails. ARCHAEOLOGY NEWSFLASH NO. 624
THE DISCOVERY THAT
LED TO ATTEMPTED MURDER
They called it a hoax, till one man went to
prove it so… The unexpected truth shocked me…
It will shock you too.
For 800 years, the Ark of the Covenant was the
most sacred object in the world.
In 586 BC, with other precious items from
Solomon’s Temple, it vanished. At that time
Jerusalem was surrounded by the army of
Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon.
According to Jewish tradition, the temple vessels
were taken and hidden in a cave by Jeremiah and
the temple priests. Their location was kept
secret, then forgotten.
They remained lost for 2500 years.
ARTEFACT FOUND JAN 1982
When American archaeologist Ron Wyatt, after a
3 year dig, claimed to have discovered the Ark of
the Covenant under Jerusalem, he presented one
object from the same cave to the Israeli
This convinced them that he had indeed found some
items from the First Temple.
The object was an ivory pomegranate head of the
priestly sceptre from Solomon’s Temple – positive
confirmation that vessels from Solomon’s temple
had indeed been found.
He was promptly ordered by the host government
not to reveal certain information.
I personally set out with a briefcase full of
objections against Wyatt’s claims. However,
intense investigation, repeated visits to dig sites,
and privileged viewing of evidence and artefacts
left me totally convinced.
But one problem was to arise. It concerned the ivory
DISAPPEARS AND REAPPEARS 1995
The object disappeared. But later in the 1990s it
The museum bought the pomegranate from an anonymous
collector for $550,000, with the money deposited
into a secret Swiss bank account at the time.
Then the pomegranate was placed on display at the
Israel Museum in Jerusalem. Here we photographed it.
The museum authorities had placed a sign next to it
stating that it is “a sensational discovery of great
significance to the history and archaeology of
Ancient Israel…the only known object from the
First Temple, built by King Solomon in Jerusalem”.
In 1995, I showed this to the world so that no critic
should feel secure.
DECLARED A FORGERY 2004
On December 29, 2004, Associated Press reported that
the item had been declared a fake. The report said:
“Israeli authorities indicted four antique dealers
and collectors Wednesday on charges of running a
sophisticated forgery ring that created a trove of
fake biblical artifacts, including some hailed as
among the most important archaeological objects ever
uncovered in the region.
“The forged treasures include an ivory pomegranate
touted by scholars as the only relic from Solomon’s
Temple, an ossuary that reputedly held the bones of
James, Jesus’ brother, and a stone tablet with
inscriptions on how to maintain the Jewish Temple,
“According to the indictment, the members of the ring
took genuine artifacts and added inscriptions to them,
falsely increasing their importance and greatly
inflating their value.
“After forging the inscriptions, they would paint the
items with a coating designed to emulate the patina
that would accumulate on the object over thousands
of years, the indictment said.
“The work was so sophisticated that it fooled top
antiquities experts, and some of the fake artifacts
sold for huge sums, authorities said.
“The indictments came less than a week after the Israel
Museum announced that the ivory pomegranate, one of
its most prized possessions, was a forgery.”
MY COMMENT AT THE TIME
When this announcement was made, I wrote: “This does
not necessarily cancel the genuineness of Ron Wyatt’s
find. But the crime may well have been the forging
of the inscription that is on it.”
ATTEMPT TO BLOCK IMPARTIAL
EXPERTS FROM EXAMINING IT
In August, 2007, paleographer Robert Deutsch announced
from Tel Aviv:
“Are there no limits to hypocrisy?
“Why weren’t leading Israeli paleographers allowed to
participate in the conference to discuss the
authenticity or forgery of the first temple Ivory
Pomegranate and present their opinions based on their
“Leading paleographer such as Prof. Yosi Naveh (my
teacher at the Hebrew University), Prof. Gabi Barkay
(my teacher at the Tel Aviv University) and Dr. Ada
Yardeni, who probably has the best eye for ancient
letter forms (she even invented the fonts which have
been given her name). Is their exclusion because some
parties ‘Fear the Truth’”?
“Why is the evidence ignored?
“As a paleographer I have handled and published
more than 1000 West Semitic inscriptions, including
seals, seal impressions, ostraca, weights, arrow-heads,
decanters, jars, impressed handles, coins etc.
“The first rule for me was to authenticate the items
by investigating it under microscopic conditions and
only then publish them.
“Some fakes observed in private collection were
omitted, or published accordingly clearly titled:
‘Questionable or Forged’.
“In my capacity as a paleographer I contacted the
Israel Museum for permission to check the pomegranate.
“I was refused!
“It was only after my lawyer appealed to the museum’s
director was I allowed to visit the museum and
examine the pomegranate.
“The museum informed me that I would not be allowed to
use their microscope. Knowing this before my visit I
arrived with my personal microscope and its camera.
“Once at the museum the laboratory personnel told me
they do not have a table on which I can place my
microscope and only after 10 minutes of a dispute
they provided me a table, but no chair!
“Finally, the pomegranate was brought into the room
but I was immediately informed that I would not be
allowed to touch it!
“Therefore, they asked the chief restorer to be
present and to move and turn the pomegranate
according to my requests (as one can see from the
pictures provided by Mr. Shanks, the attendants of
the meeting had the pomegranate for free inspection,
they handled it with bare hands).
CONFIRMED TO BE AUTHENTIC
“In any event, I spent more than an hour and a half
checking the inscription on the pomegranate and
taking several excellent photographs of the letters.
“My conclusion is unequivocal: the letters were
engraved in antiquity, and many letters maintain a
fine genuine patina.
“There cannot be any doubt whatsoever, that the
fragmentary letters that were damaged, were engraved
before the ivory was broken.
“Moreover, the smooth edges of the broken letters,
proves that the artifact continued to be used in
antiquity even after the damage!
“My conclusions, together with the new pictures
photographed at the museum, were presented a few
weeks ago at the International Convention of the
Society of Biblical Research, July 2007 at the
University of Vienna.
WHY WAS GENUINE ARTEFACT
DECLARED TO BE A “FAKE”?
“One can only speculate what is the exact motivation
of ‘honest’ Prof. Yuval Goren and his ‘rubber stamp’
team, to declare a perfectly genuine inscription as
“I think I can offer a crystal clear answer to this
“Prof. Youval Goren, as also his two colleagues,
Prof. Shmuel Ahituv and Prof. Aaron Demski were
witnesses who testified in the maliciously called
‘The Ring of Five Forgery Trial’.
“Prof. Goren was supposed to be the prosecution’s key
witness, who declared several other un-provenanced
genuine artifacts, as fakes.
“Therefore, Hershel Shank’s attempt to discover the
truth is an exercise in futility; Yuval Goren simply
can not admit mistakes, or afford to change his view,
simply because his prestige is in question and his
testimony in court would collapse as unreliable!
“But what else is new under the sun?”
REASONS IT WAS
LABELLED A “FAKE”
The big problem here is religion and ideology (both
political and disciplinary). I have had these
discussions with native Israelis, archaeologists,
anthropologists and others. Here is what I have
1. A THREAT TO PEACE:
Some members of the Jewish government (including some
archaeologists) who are more ‘minimalist’ in their
view of the Bible and its historicity see solid
archaeological evidence that upholds the historicity
of the Hebrew Scriptures as a threat to Arab/Israeli
They feel that undermining Israel’s history in the
Holy Land will enhance prospects for peace.
2. WILL UNDERMINE ISRAEL’S RIGHT TO EXIST:
Other Israelis who are more theologically conservative
or ‘maximalist’ in their view of the Hebrew Bible see
an item like the ‘brother of Jesus’ ossuary as a
threat to Israel’s right to exist by way of
‘Christian Supersessionism’ meaning that any find
that significantly ‘proves’ the New Testament will
undermine Israel’s right to exist.
This came out in discussions when the James ossuary
was only being examined by Israeli but not Christian
Pretty amazing seeing that so many conservative
evangelical Christians are now somewhat Zionist in
their outlook politically.
3. NON-RELIGIOUS ANTI-BIBLE BIAS:
Since many (not all) archaeologists are materialistic
in their outlook and less likely compared with the
past, to be religious in nature, there is often a
presumption or bias toward sacred texts, and any
kind of evidence in the archaeological record that
confirms Scripture is treated with great skepticism.
A little skepticism is healthy but it is fairly
dogmatic in the archaeological circles I have traveled
in over the last 20+ years.
Not a small number of faculty I knew at the University
of Minnesota did not even believe there was such a
person as a historical Jesus. Anything related to the
Bible was right up there with Grimm’s Fairy Tales or
entirely borrowed from neighbors like Egypt.
On December 16, 2008, Biblical Archaeology Review wrote,
under the heading “Leading Israeli Scientist Declares
Pomegranate Inscription Authentic”:
“An Israeli scientist employed by the defense in the
Jerusalem forgery trial has concluded that the
inscription on the famous ivory pomegranate
(“[Belonging] to the Temple of [Yahwe]h, consecrated
to the priests”) is authentic.
“If the inscription is authentic, the pomegranate is
probably the only surviving artifact from Solomon’s
“Professor Yitzhak Roman of the Hebrew University
examined the pomegranate under a Scanning Electron
Microscope (SEM) to reach his conclusions. In the
1990s he was the academic director of Hebrew
“A committee led by Tel Aviv University’s Yuval Goren
had previously concluded that the inscription was a
forgery because three critical letters adjacent to an
ancient break stopped before the break.
“The forger was apparently fearful of breaking off
more of the pomegranate if he went too close to this
“The pomegranate itself is admittedly genuine.
“However, Professor Roman’s examination showed that
the three critical letters, contrary to Yuval Goren’s
finding, did in fact go into the ancient break.
“This was the same conclusion reached by an
examination of the pomegranate at the Israel Museum
sponsored by the Biblical Archaeology Society on
May 3, 2007: The three letters clearly go into the
“In addition, Professor Roman examined the patina
inside the letters of the inscription.
“The committee that found the inscription to be a
forgery had concluded that this patina was somehow
glued into the surviving letters of the inscription.
“Professor Roman found 11 different elements (some
just trace amounts) in the natural patina. But he
found no evidence that the patina had been glued.
“Whether anyone will ask Professor Goren for his
reaction to Professor Roman’s devastating report is
not yet known.”
OTHER SKEPTICAL QUESTIONS
Of course, this is not the only controversy
surrounding the discovery 20 feet (6 metres) below
the streets of Jerusalem.
Other questions that have arisen include these:
1. How could Wyatt the amateur succeed –
under the noses of an indignant
2. When I, Jonathan Gray, revealed his
findings, why did some people try to
3. Should political pressures continue
to keep this discovery underground?
UNLIKE ANY OTHER REPORT
I just had to write this up into a 600-page report.
And in case you want to know, this is a well-
documented, spellbinding work, based on cutting
-edge research and on-site excavation.
Apart from the main news on the search and discovery,
the report reveals
* Forgotten voyages
* Secret tunnels
* Prophecies uncanny in their fulfillment
* Acts of intrigue – and
* Fabulous treasures
In fact, this report is unlike any other I have ever
had the privilege to write. It is so interesting –
and important – that a prominent Australian radio
and TV personality chose to spend every day for a
whole week reviewing it – and, not surprisingly,
all the shops sold out.
He called it “the second best book ever written”.
Now I am not here to boast to you – because I was
only the reporter of the events. But yes, it is
important… and just how important, you will discover
as you read it.
IT’S TIME TO SPEAK UP
Anyway, , something has to be told. So,
after much consideration, I’m about to rip apart a
curtain of silence about the Ark.
Yes, yes… I know. The Ark’s been reported in
Ethiopia… in Jordan… in Egypt… and a dozen
Indeed, over the centuries replicas have been made.
But originals? There can be only one. And that’s
what we’re talking about.
You won’t want to miss this incredible true story.
Here are revealed the down-to-earth inside secrets
about a lost treasure… a dangerous search… and
an almost unbelievable discovery claim.
And yet, when you face all the strands of evidence,
what else could it be?
I’ll take you along a trail of archaeological
surprises, through forgotten history and right up
Why did an Israeli ex-Secret service agent say to me,
“you have just filled in the missing gaps in what I
What sinister secret associated with the Ark is being
You can go here to see more:
Thanks for patiently bearing with me.
International explorer, archaeologist and author
Jonathan Gray has traveled the world to gather data on
ancient mysteries. He has penetrated some largely
unexplored areas, including parts of the Amazon
headwaters. The author has also led expeditions to the
bottom of the sea and to remote mountain and desert
regions of the world. He lectures internationally.
Pacific Coast Highway
PO Box 785