The Dead Sea treasure map

One of the Dead Sea Scrolls is a treasure map.

The Copper Scroll
[Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

The Copper Scroll is one of the Dead Sea Scrolls, found in a cave in the Judaean Desert near the Dead Sea. It is called the copper scroll because it was written on copper rather than papyrus or parchment. That’s not the only way that it’s different from the other scrolls found in those caves: the Copper Scroll is a treasure map.

The scroll contains a list of entries, each one with a location, a distance to dig, and a description of was hidden or buried there. Sixty-three point to caches of gold and silver, and one to priestly vestments.

The nature of the treasure is itself in contention – some hold that it is the treasure of the First or Second Temples of Jerusalem, others that it was the combined wealth of the community that gave us the other Dead Sea Scrolls. None of the treasure has been found, but given that the scroll probably dates back a couple of thousand years it is unlikely to ever be found.

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