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Top 10 Likeliest Locations of the REAL Ark of the Covenant

VO: Rebecca Brayton WRITTEN BY: Caitlin Johnson
Is anything really lost forever? For this list, we’re looking at places where the real Ark – a sacred religious artifact supposedly containing the original Ten Commandments and constructed by Moses – could be found. WatchMojo counts down the Top 10 Likeliest Locations of the REAL Ark of the Covenant. Special thanks to our user boxtroll for suggesting this idea! Check out the voting page at https://www.WatchMojo.comsuggest/Top+10+Likeliest+Locations+of+the+REAL+Ark+of+the+Covenant.

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Script written by Caitlin Johnson

Top 10 Likeliest Locations of the REAL Ark of the Covenant

Is anything really lost forever? Welcome to and today we’ll be counting down our picks for the Top 10 Likeliest Locations of the REAL Ark of the Covenant.

For this list, we’re looking at places where the real Ark – a sacred religious artifact supposedly containing the original Ten Commandments and constructed by Moses – could be found. These are places where people have outright claimed to have it, or sites with some archaeological clues or evidence to the fact.

#10: The Cathedral of Our Lady of Chartres, France

From the outside, this Gothic building is imposing to look at, and according to some sources, the site has been considered Holy since as early as 100 BC, though the cathedral itself wasn’t finished until the 13th Century. But it’s been suggested that the Chartres Cathedral is where the Knights Templar took the Ark of the Covenant, if they retrieved it from Jerusalem a thousand years ago. This isn’t France’s only claim to the Ark, either; very similar theories rose in the mid-20th Century regarding Rennes-le-Château, claiming that the Templars had brought back not only the Ark, but also the Holy Grail and Christ’s remains.

#9: An Estate in Warwickshire, England

More stories surrounding the enigmatic Knights Templar lead to an entirely different location, this one in the United Kingdom. Graham Phillips, an author who is one of many people to set out on a quest to try and find the Ark, eventually claimed that the Templars stole the Ark from the Valley of Edom – now modern Israel and Jordan – in the latter half of the 12th Century. It was removed when one of the important Templars at the time, Ralph de Sudeley, discovered it and decided to bring it back home with him to England.

#8: Hill of Tara, Ireland

Described by some as “the soul of Ireland”, the Hill of Tara is an ancient site of incredible historical and cultural significance. Traditionally it was from here that the High Kings of Ireland ruled, and it is where the haunting Stone of Destiny can be found. But, it's also home to a centuries-old church named for Saint Patrick. Most importantly for the topic at hand, this sacred monument was also the site of an illegal excavation done by a group of British Israelites looking for the Ark of the Covenant. Whether they were right we may never know, as this vandalism was quickly halted

#7: Archbasilica of St. John Lateran, Italy

One of the most important churches in the Western world, this building has had its place in Rome since the 4th Century. By then, the Ark had already been “lost” for just over a millennium, though hypothetically if somebody recovered it during this period it could have eventually found its way to one of Catholicism’s most significant cathedrals. The belief that the Ark is still being kept somewhere beneath those hallowed halls is shared by a few Catholics. However, in the Middle Ages it was subjected to multiple fires, leading some speculation that if the Ark was ever there it may have been destroyed.

#6: The Bottom of Lake Tiberias, Israel

In Islam, the hadiths are the recorded sayings and actions delivered by the Prophet Muhammad. One of these hadiths says that the Mahdi, an unknown figure who will appear at the end of the world, will “remove the Ark of the Covenant from Lake Tiberias”, more commonly called the Sea of Galilee. Those who believe this most literally assume that the lakebed is where the Ark has been since 587 BC - however searching the whole lake for it would be extremely difficult.

#5: An Unmarked Cave in Jordan

The canonical status of the Second Book of Maccabees may be a point of contention between the world’s largest religions, but it does offer some information about where the Ark of the Covenant may have ended up. According to its scripture, Jeremiah foresaw the Babylonian Siege in 587 BC and removed the Ark from Jerusalem. He took it to an anonymous cave somewhere in what is now Jordan and sealed it up, along with a few more sacred artifacts for good measure. If this is true, the cave, supposedly somewhere in the region of Mount Nebo, has not yet been discovered.

#4: One of the Dead Sea Scrolls’ Locations

Recovered from a cave system near the Dead Sea in the 1940s and 50s, this collection of primarily Hebrew scrolls has been intriguing and baffling archaeologists for decades. But one of them, written on copper and discovered in 1952, may in fact be a treasure map to the legendary Ark. It’s a map with 64 marked locations as well as cryptic clues – exactly the kind of thing you’d expect from an adventure movie. Adding mystery, archaeologist Jim Barfield says that while an excavation of a specific site was initially supported by the Israeli Antiquities Authority, it was quickly shut down with no explanation.

#3: Held by the Lemba Tribe in South Africa

The Lemba Tribe are a group living in South Africa and Zimbabwe who are linked to Jewish traditions, which extends to displaying what they say is the genuine Ark of the Covenant in a museum in Harare. Looking at the object, which is a sacred drum called a “ngoma”, you may be skeptical about this claim. However, the deeper story is that this ngoma is a replica constructed using the “core” of the original Ark when its remains were discovered in a cave several hundred years ago. Carbon dating has actually verified this, as the object does date back to 1350 AD.

#2: Kiryat Ye’arim, Israel

According to the Bible, the Ark passed through here when King David brought it to Jerusalem. Oddly, Kiryat Ye’arim is one of the last important sites to be excavated. A dig began in late 2017, but only time will tell if they manage to uncover the relic. The site where the First Temple, or Solomon’s Temple, originally stood in Jerusalem before its destruction by the Babylonians has also never been examined – despite it once housing the Ark. This is because today the site is underneath the Dome of the Rock shrine, which is so sacred in Islam that excavations will unlikely ever be permitted.

#1: An Orthodox Church in Axum, Ethiopia

The monks of the Church of Our Lady Mary of Zion have certainly been the most vocal about their claim to hold the Ark. It's supposedly kept under constant guard with one priest allowed into the building where it’s kept and has never been seen by outside eyes, which casts a lot of doubt. Ethiopia is a hotspot for Ark theories though, and Lake Tana – surrounded by even more orthodox churches – is also alleged to have housed the Ark for four hundred years or so. The Palace of the Queen of Sheba, built for the Queen by King Solomon, is also found here, though a 2008 excavation of the building’s ruins found nothing.

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