One of the most unique and intriguing discoveries in the cave of Qumran is the "copper scroll" that alludes to buried treasure more tangible than spiritual.
Here is some of the thoughts of DeSalvo on the matter:
It is thought that the Knights Templar - an arm of the Catholic church at one time, in the 14th century, may have discovered a vast fortune of treasure, beneath their quarters in Jerusalem, which were located within the al-Aqsa mosque above the Old Temple Mount.
It has also been speculated that a possible reference to this treasure is made in the scroll found in Cave 3 - a copper scroll.
It was in 1952 that this copper scroll was discovered - found in the back - separate from all others. The text was in Hebrew and extraordinary. Over 3,000 Hebrew characters. It took a number of years to unroll it. It was cut in strips as it did not unroll as we think of unrolling. It was all done by 1956. It was done in Manchester College of Technology in England.
They cut it into 23 narrow strips, slightly curves using a circular saw. When read it appeared to be a treasure map, which gave 64 locations, in Jerusalem and areas, where a huge amount of gold and silver was buried. If this scroll is correct we are talking about it saying there was about 25 tons of gold and 65 tons of silver, according to experts reading the scroll.
* It is the only copper scroll to be found in the 11 caves.
* It does not fit in with any of the classification system.
* It is written in a form of Hebrew different from the form of the other Dead Sea Scrolls. In fact different from any Hebrew known - some think a local dialect.
*The script is different from the script in the other scrolls.
* In some words the spelling is different from what would be expected.
Many say it would be out of place for the Essenes to have such a scroll, that indicates such a treasure. Others think it was the Temple treasure in Jerusalem and hidden before the army of Rome entered and destroyed the city in 66-70 A.D. But if so why would they give this scroll to the Essenes to keep with their scrolls. Many questions remain unanswered.
Then some experts believe this scroll was just a fictional account and there really was no such treasure. And other experts believe it to be true and the treasure is yet to be discovered.
The scroll is very detailed - specific locations, tombs, pools, underground, etc. exact amounts of treasure, and the depth of burial.
It gives 3 main burial locations - Jerusalem, Jericho, and the Dead Sea area.
There is listed temple vessels, garments of priests, and other temple furnishings, with exact descriptions, and the exact distance to dig in the measure of cubits.
Seven of the locations end with 2 or 3 Greek letter - no one knows what the letters signify.
The last hiding place mentioned is number 64 and has no treasure, but a duplicate copper scroll that gives further locations of treasure. Some think you need both scrolls to find the answer and the treasure.
One man by the name of John Allegro did much searching for this treasure up to his death in 1988. He never found it. But many today still believe it is there if you can read the copper scroll correctly. Some possible locations have said to have been identified, but no treasure has yet been found.
Some think it very unlikely the Essenes had this scroll, others think it may have just been placed there by another group, and just by chance it was in a cave where the Essenes had placed some of their scrolls. There are many possibilities but few if any answers.
Some says the Temple priests made the copper scroll to later recover their treasure, gave it to the Essenes to hide. But this would not square with the fact that the Essenes did not get along with the priests of the Temple.
One interesting point is that the Temple at Jerusalem acted like a bank; many wealthy people and merchants used it to store and protect their valuables.
Some today have re-examined the copper scroll and have calculated the amount of gold and silver to have been far too high by the other readers of years ago. These scholars in the 1960s figures the amount of gold and silver to be somewhat over a million dollars.
Overall it seems unlikely this scroll was just a prank, too much detailed work on a scroll of copper, much more difficult and time consuming than writing on parchment or papyrus.
The Copper Scroll is housed at the Archeological Museum of Jordan located in Amman.
NEXT THE SCROLLS AND THE NEW TESTAMENT.