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Published by Jim West
press release
press release

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Categories:Types, Research, History
Published by: Jim West on Mar 22, 2011
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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One of the biggest and best-preserved hoard of ancient sealed books, which had been secretlyhidden for centuries, has been discovered in Jordan. These could be relics from the JerusalemChurch of the first century. Early indications are that the books date from the first centuryCE/AD and could be some of the earliest Christian documents. Leading academics considerthe find to be even more pivotal than the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls in 1947.The hoard consists of a collection of ring-bound books (codices) made of lead and of copper.Many of them are sealed on all sides. Scrolls, tablets and other artefacts, including an incensebowl, were also found at the same site. Some of the lead pages are written in a form of archaic Hebrew script with ancient messianic symbols. Some of the writing appears to be in aform of code.It is known that early Christian writers used sealed books as a code for secret teaching, but noactual book has ever been found. They were heavily persecuted and needed to protect theirknowledge. The codices were found in an area to which Christian refugees are known to havefled before and after the fall of Jerusalem in 70AD. The existence of a significant sealedcodex is mentioned in the Book of Revelation: and other Biblical books mention metal platesfor the use of Temple based documentation.There is likely to be considerable academic and political debate about their authenticity,meaning and interpretation.Initial metallurgical tests (spectrographic and crystallographic) indicate that the books madeof lead could date from the first century AD, based on the form of corrosion which has takenplace, which experts believe would be impossible to achieve artificially.The discovery was made by chance some 5 years ago by wandering Bedouin shepherds in acave within a militarized zone in remote Northern Jordan. The hoard was subsequentlyacquired by an Israeli Bedouin, who smuggled them across the border where they remainhidden under his protection.
 However, legal experts have confirmed that because it was originally discovered in Jordan,the find qualifies as treasure trove and, under Jordanian law, is rightly the property of theKingdom of Jordan. The find has come to light only now because the British team leading the
work on the discovery fears that the Israeli „keeper‟ may be looking to sell some of the books
on to the black market, or worse, destroy them.David Elkington, a scholar of ancient religious history and archaeology, has led the team
involved in bringing the find to the world‟s attention. David has been supported by his wife
Jennifer and a small team of leading international academic experts, including Dr MargaretBarker,
Co-founder of the Temple Studies Group and former President of the Society for OldTestament Study
, and Professor Phillip Davies, Emeritus Professor of Biblical Studies atSheffield University and an authority on the Dead Sea Scrolls.Much further investigation is now needed to confirm the authenticity, meaning and fullsignificance of the find. David and Jennifer Elkington have already briefed the JordanianGovernment about the discovery and have offered their help in retrieving the find and insupporting its further investigation. Preparations are also being made for a documentary filmand book about the discovery.It is hoped that an educational foundation can be created to promote long-term research intothe wider significance of this find and related discoveries to enable greater understanding of the fragmented, and often conflicting, origins of Christianity and other religious groups, forthe benefit of the whole world.David
Elkington said: “It is an enormous privilege to be able to reveal this discovery to the
world. But, as ever, the find begs more questions than it answers. The academic and spiritualdebate must now commence, and this needs a calm and rational environment in order to beproductive. So it is vital that the collection can be recovered intact and secured in the bestpossible circumstances, both for the benefit of its owners and for a potentially fascinated
international audience”.
Commenting on the discovery,
Dr Margaret Barker said: “The Book of Revelation tells of a
sealed book that was opened only by the Messiah. Other texts from the period tell of sealed
books of wisdom and of a secret tradition passed on by Jesus to his closest disciples. That isthe con
text for this discovery. So if they are forgeries, what are they forgeries of?”
Professor Philip Davies said: “
My own scrutiny suggests to me and to several of mycolleagues that the form of the archaic Semitic script corresponds well to what was used inthe era 200BCE-100CE. However much of the writing appears to be in code and many of theimages are unfamiliar. The possibility of a Hebrew-Christian origin is certainly suggested bythe imagery and, if so, these codices are likely to bring dramatic new light to ourunderstanding of a very significant but so far little understood period of history. The adoptionof a codex format may also be relevant: it is known to have been adopted by Christians from
about the first century CE.”
Note to Editors
 David Elkington has been shown many of the artefacts by the current possessor of them, whowished to understand their significance, and was allowed to photograph some of them in theirpresent location for research purposes. But he makes no claim of ownership, which based onthe legal advice he has received, rightly rests with the Kingdom of Jordan.Given the controversy and competition which the discovery of ancient artefacts alwayspromotes
both academic and commercial
David is keen to ensure that the find can now beproperly and professionally investigated, in a safe and secure place, with the full support of 
the Kingdom of Jordan and with the benefit of access to the world‟s leading experts.
David has worked to date entirely on a voluntary basis, with the support of many friends,alongside the generous help of many leading experts in this field.Particular observations from some of the codices include:

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