The Real Reason We Can't Find The Legendary Treasure Described In The Copper Scroll

The Copper Scroll is just one of the many ancient scrolls collectively called the Dead Sea Scrolls, which were discovered in and around caves the Northwest corner of the Dead Sea, per National Geographic. The Copper Scroll was in such poor condition, it could barely be unrolled. According to USC Dornsife, in the early 1950s experts carefully cut the delicate and highly oxidized copper into a number of individual pieces, which could then be unrolled and deciphered. As was suspected, the Copper Scroll — just one of a few scrolls made from metal — was in fact a treasure map of sorts. The legendary treasure described in the scroll, however, has never been found.

Just how much treasure are we talking about? According to Interesting Engineering, experts estimate that as much as 160 tons of gold and silver are described in the scroll, depending on whether the weight is measured in karsh, or talent — two units of ancient weight measurement. Though explorers and scientists have tried to decipher the clues and find the treasure, it remains lost. The reason why is mostly due to changing landscapes and an ancient language.

It can't all be translated

Per Live Science, the Copper Scroll was written while the Roman Army was raiding Jewish settlements. Jerusalem had fallen to the Roman forces, destroying the Second Temple — a holy site for Jewish people — around A.D. 70, via Interesting Engineering. This possibly explains why the treasure described in the scroll was hidden, and why a scroll was written to record where it could be found. Is it possible the bounty described in the Copper Scroll was some or all of the temple's treasure, taken from the site before the Romans arrived?

That question remains unanswered, largely due to the fact that the scroll is written in ancient Hebrew, and that language can't be understood today in its entirety, according to USC Dornsife. Furthermore, many of the locations and geographical landmarks outlined in the writing are gone, or impossible to place on the modern landscape. Is the treasure described in the Copper Scroll real and waiting to be found, or a work of ancient fiction? As of this writing, those questions remain unanswered. Until then, riches beyond our wildest imagination could be out there somewhere, just waiting to be discovered.