The secret Copper Scroll of the Essenes was one subject I was asked to talk about in series five of Forbidden History. In case you don’t know what that is – let me explain.
After the Second World War – jars full of parchments dating back two thousand years were found at a place called Qumran in the Middle East. They were identified as the spiritual writings of a group of Jews called the Essenes. These incredible records of a zealous religious sect came to be called the Dead Sea Scrolls.
And they’ve been the subject of controversy ever since. The Roman Jewish writer Josephus described the Essenes as a sect rivalling the Sadducees and Pharisees. But one modern scholar questions whether they ever existed at all. They are sometimes seen less as mainstream Jews and more as proto-Christians – but that view is hotly contested. And at some point, they appear to have been wiped out by the Romans.
FIND OUT MORE: Did the Knights Templar discover the Copper Scroll?
And along comes the Copper Scroll of the Essenes
In amongst all these parchments was a scroll made of copper. And it caused quite a bit of excitement in the 1960s because it appeared to be a kind of treasure map. And don’t we all love treasure? The theory emerged that it was an attempt by the Essenes to leave clues to the whereabouts of the wealth of the Jewish Temple. With the Romans crushing a revolt by the Jews at the time, the fear was that they would make off with all the priceless, sacred items.
Others say that it looks like a treasure map but the Essenes created the Copper Scroll to throw treasure seekers off the trail. I made the point on Forbidden History that it seems far fetched to spend precious time creating such a hoax when the Roman legions are bearing down on you. Far better to run for your lives!
Not just the Copper Scroll of the Essenes – but James Bond as well
There are six episodes of Forbidden History and I’m in all of them talking about a wide range of topics from who was the real historical Jesus, the man behind James Bond and the treasure looted and stolen by the Nazis.
Here I am filming at the Gore Hotel for Forbidden History.