Mystery Of 'Copper' Dead Sea
Scroll Unravels
By Claudia Joseph
The Independent - London

It is a mystery that has baffled religious scholars for 50 years. Now the secret of the Copper Scroll, one of the Dead Sea Scrolls, may finally be unravelled.
Robert Feather, a member of the Institute of Metallurgists, will claim in a television documentary tonight that he has cracked the secret code of the Copper Scroll.
Mr Feather rejects current thinking that the copper document was written by the Essenes monastic sect 2,000 years ago. A member of the Jewish Historical Society, and the Egypt Exploration Society, Mr Feather believes the engraved scroll, which lists treasures buried in the Holy Land, is written in Egyptian not in Hebrew.
He suggests it can be traced back to the monotheistic court of the Egyptian pharaoh Akhenaten and Queen Nefertiti in Amarna 600 miles south of the Dead Sea and halfway down the Nile between Cairo and Luxor. He is lobbying the Egyptian antiquities department for permission to excavate the site.
The location of the treasures themselves has baffled scholars. Mr Feather makes a convincing argument for his theories in tonight's BBC2 programme, The Pharaoh's Holy Treasure, but his claims are hotly contested by other academics.
"If the numbering system is Egyptian and the weights system makes sense using Egyptian weights, then why not look to Egypt? It's the logical thing to do. Virtually every major character in the Old Testament spent huge amounts of time in Egypt born there, lived there, or influenced by Egypt. It's an undeniable fact of the Jewish religion that Egypt was a powerful force throughout its early history," said Mr Feather.
The Copper Scroll was discovered, in March 1952, by a team of Jordanian and French archaeologists. It was broken into twochunks and hidden in a cave in Qumran, Israel. Later, scientists, finding it too brittle to unroll, sliced it into 23 segments. The scroll was 30cm wide and, in total, 21/2m long.
Historians deduced that the text, engraved down 12 columns and listing 64 caches of treasure from gold bars to silver ingots, was written in Hebrew, but they were mystified by the figures of 25 tonnes of gold and 65 tonnes of silver more than the entire amount mined worldwide at the time of the engraving.
Mr Feather, who is married with two children and lives in north London, believes he has found new clues in the text. One is the inverted "u" for the number 10, which indicates that the engraving was Egyptian and that the measure was the 10.2gm Egyptian kite rather than the 35kgm Hebrew kikha, making the total treasure a much more credible 7.5kg of gold and 19.2kg of silver.
He has also discovered that the 14 Greek letters spell the name Akhenaten the Pharaoh, who was crowned Ahmenotep the fourth but changed his name to mean "servant of the sun disc" after decreeing there was only one God Aten.
"The back of my neck was tingling. It was just one of those moments of incredible excitement because no one had ever before cracked this Greek cryptic puzzle," said Mr Feather, who backs his theory by interpreting the scroll's words "Great River"not as the River Jordan but as the River Nile. He has also weighed the gold bars found at the part of the archaeological site known as Crock of Gold Square, and the treasures discovered in Queen Nefertiti's tomb, and believes they match the spoils identified in the Copper Scroll.

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