The Ark of the CovenantBook - 1999
At the heart of the city of Aksum, in the highlands of northern Ethiopia, there is a small chapel with a green dome. The entrance is constantly guarded, and beyond it lies an object revered by millions of Christian Ethiopians. For centuries, the people of this ancient nation have believed that by its own choice and by the will of God the most tremendous relic of antiquity still lives among them - the Ark of the Covenant. The Ark, according to the Bible, contains God's testimony. And yet it seems to disappear. There is no further mention in the Bible. Its disappearance is the greatest mystery of ancient history. But the Ethiopians have long believed that they hold the Ark. Their religious epic, "The Glory of Kings", tells how the Queen of Sheba slept with Solomon, son of King David who had bought the Ark to Jerusalem. Their son when grown up went to Jerusalem and because of the disobedience of the people of Israel he and a group of young elders removed the Ark from the Temple and took it to Ethiopia.
Stuart Munro-Hay began excavating Aksum in 1974, but his work was interrupted by the revolution and the communist regime. However he made many valuable friendships and has since become recognised as the premier Aksumite historian. Unlike previous writers on the subject - among them Graham Hancock, whose THE SIGN AND THE SEAL on the same subject revealed little but was a bestseller internationally - Munro-Hay speaks the language of the guards. Ten years ago he met Roderick Grierson, a Semiotic philologist, and they realised that archaeology and philology are complementary. They vowed to undertake the first complete investigation of this ancient mystery.