It was believed that the golden chest held the stone tablets on which the Ten Commandments were inscribed, the Ark remains one of the most sought-after and mystifying religious artifacts in history.
Researchers have been trying to determine for years where it could be or whether it still exists at all. It’s last known location was the Temple of King Solomon, but the temple was destroyed when the Babylonians invaded Jerusalem and the Ark with it disappeared
Archeologists have now found a distinctive stone table in the ruins of a 3,100-year-old temple near Beit Shemesh-a town with strong biblical links to the Ark. According to Samuel’s book the Ark was placed on a’ large stone’ in the city after the Philistines returned Could the recently discovered table be that stone ?
The temple in which the table was found, excavated since 2012, is a perfect square with 8.5 m long walls. Within, pottery and animal bones were found by archeologists, indicating that the building could have been used for rituals.
“There is a lot of evidence that this was indeed a temple,” said Prof. Shlomo Bunimovitz of Tel Aviv University. “When you look at the structure and its content, it’s very clear that this not a standard domestic space but something special.”
While the temple and its stone table seem to be roughly aligned with the story of the Ark being brought to Beit Shemesh, it will be very difficult to prove that the Ark was actually resting on it.
One major problem is that the destruction of the temple seems to pre-date the story of the Ark by 400 years.
“I don’t think anyone would take this literally and conclude that this is the stone from the biblical story,” said Prof Avraham Faust from Bar-Ilan University.
“Obviously the story was written much later, but this find might support the theory that there are some very early traditions that made their way into the Bible.”