The Sign and the Seal: The Quest for the Lost Ark of the Covenant

ISBN: 0671865412
ISBN 13: 9780671865412
By: Graham Hancock

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About this book

The fact of the Lost Ark of the Covenant is one of the great historical mysteries of all time. To believers, the Ark is the legendary vessel holding the stone tablets of the Ten Commandments. The Bible contains hundreds of references to the Ark's power to level mountains, destroy armies, and lay waste to cities. The Ark itself, however, mysteriously disappears from recorded history sometime after the building of the Temple of Solomon.After 10 years of searching through the dusty archives of Europe and the Middle East, as well as braving the real-life dangers of a bloody civil war in Ethiopia, Graham Hancock has succeeded where scores of others have failed. This intrepid journalist has tracked down the true story behind the myths and legends -- revealing where the Ark is today, how it got there, and why it remains hidden.Part fascinating scholarship and part entertaining adventure yarn, tying together some of the most intriguing tales of all time -- from the Knights Templar and Prester John to Parsival and the Holy Grail -- this book will appeal to anyone fascinated by the revelation of hidden truths, the discovery of secret mysteries.

Reader's Thoughts

Bo'kem Allah

This was my introduction to Graham Hancock. I learned a lot about Ethiopia, Khemet, Freemasonry & Knights Templars, as Graham Hancock searches for the Arc of the Covenant. This was truely an eye opener for me. At the time I read it, I was a Rastaman seeking a deeper understanding of the importance of the Arc. This book served as a slap in the face to a delusional youth looking for validation of my religious ideology. I walk away from this book with a new outlook. Religious ideology is NOT based on truthful, factual, information.


This book was mind boggling. It reads almost like a detective novel. Graham Hancock is looking for the final resting place of the Ark of the Covenant, and he traces its passage through history by analyzing social movements, art, architecture, myth and literature and establishing clues therein as guideposts toward his conclusion. It's a page turner, and well worth picking up.


Mind-blowing book! Some of the parallels he finds are stunning, among, for example, the Old Testament description of the Hebrews' celebration when the Ark of the Covenant, carried on the shoulders of the priests, was placed in Solomon's Temple & the depiction on the wall of an ancient Egyptian temple of the celebration when the priests carried a similar object in the same way & the celebration the author observed in Ethiopia when the Christian priests carried the "Ark" on their shoulders. His search on the ground & in ancient texts for clues to when the Ark was removed from the Temple in Jerusalem, & where it went from there, is exciting & convincing. All in all, an amazing book.

Matt Anderson

** spoiler alert ** In this fascinating tale of mystery and religious exploration, seasoned freelance journalist Graham Hancock chronicles his decade long search for the Ark of the Covenant. As his journey takes him across Northern Africa and the Middle East, Hancock explores various religions and their connection with the artifact. Full of fascinating philosophy and history, The Sign and the Seal is great for any history buff or mystery lover.


Hancock is an engaging writer. He did quite a job in running down both primary and secondary sources relative to the topic. He also conducted several interviews and passed through some Indiana Jones-like moments. One can't help but be impressed with the devtion he gave his search for the Ark fo the Covenant. That being said, I also have to point out that he is given to making ,sometimes, preciptious leaps of logic that I couldn't always follow with enthusiam. In addition, I think his digression regarding Moses' use of 'Egyptian sorcery' to set himself up as a prophet-leader over the children of Israel detracted from the overall work. But in the end, this was well worth reading.


While the author's premise is a good one, the evidence he bases his conclusions off of is flimsy at best. Do I think it's possible that the Ark of the Covenant ended up in Ethiopia? Anything's possible, I suppose. It went somewhere. It didn't just disappear without a trace.I guess I'm really on the fence about the whole thing. Is the Ark in Ethiopia? Possibly. The Ethiopians brag that they have it, but none will admit to actually having seen it.If not Ethiopia, then where is it? Who has it? Considering the value of such an artifact, not just to history, but to religion, if another country/group was in possession of the Ark, surely they would come forward? If for no other reason than to brag?If the Ark is in Ethiopia, then it is with a people who cherish it and respect it, which is the impression I get from Mr. Hancock's book. Maybe we're better off not knowing for certain where the Ark is. It's hard to say.

Fiona Robson

This took me AGES to read because it was so heavy and deep! I kept on reading lighter books in between putting it down and picking it up again. The book explores the possible whereabouts of the Ark of the Covenant and exactly what it might have been. I loved the idea that the Grail is actuallyl the Ark - this made a lot of sense to me and got me thinking about grail mythology a lot and how it relates to the lost Ark of the Covenant. I find it difficult to believe that it is in Ethiopia. It did make me think that it maybe WAS there at one time, but was taken by the Templars to either France, Scotland or London. I liked Hancocks's style and look forward to reading his other books. Also, as a committed Christian, I kept thinking "Does it really matter where The Ark is? We have a New Covenant now, making The Ark obsolete as a relic?" But it was still fascinating.


More speculative non-fictionesque that I actually forgot I had read until I had a conversation with my sister today.


I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It tells the story of the mystery of the Ark of the Covenant, lost in Biblical times.This is the first book I have read by Mr. Hancock and I found it to be well researched and written. The story is fascinating and follows Mr. Hancock's travels through Europe and the Middle East in his search for the Ark. The history and the tales of his travels are fascinating.


I'm halfway through this book and enjoying it! So much information about Ethiopa, Egypt, Israel and surrounding areas. So much research into the history of the areas and the people who lived there. This has made me curious for more information - last night I read the book of Genesis in the Bible, and tonight will read more. I like how this book helps me to understand the different ways of life that people have lived in the past, and still do. This book was great and I'm keeping it so that I can read it again someday. The author had done much research to tell about the areas in the story and some of the ways of life and religion years & years ago. I didn't pay much attention to his main point of the story concerning the Ark of the Covenant, I just enjoyed the story for all the historical detail. Finished 6-9.


If you're a fan of history, or distant lands, or treasure finding, or mysteries, or are just intrigued by the notion that there may indeed be more truth to "Raiders of the Lost Ark" than meets the eye, then look no further. This book takes you through a journey of all of the above, and is tied up very smoothly by Graham Hancock and his gift with words.

Tony Gleeson

This is a fascinating account of one researcher's highly personal and downright obsessive quest for what really happened to the Ark of the Covenant. It reads as exciting as many a fictional saga I've experienced. Frankly I still hold some reservations about the total veracity of the story but that in no way detracted from my interest nor from the great complement to my pool of historical knowledge.


Badly written and flaky arguments, but at least the author had been to most of the places described in the book. The theory could look interesting on paper, but it's hard to be convinced by anything reading this book.


Very convincing evidence to Ethiopia's claim to be the last resting place of the Ark of the Covenant.


The Sign and the Seal reads like an exciting mystery or adventure novel. Through an interesting series of coincidences the author becomes interested in and ultimately obsessed with the lost ark of the covenant. He finds himself researching the fate of the ark and then chasing across the world to track it down.This is the first of Hancock's "Forbidden" books of history, archaeology, astronomy, etc., and like all of his books, its thoroughly researched with the appropriate references cited. Hancock is also fastidious in separating his speculations from fact, a super rarity among journalists, which Hancock was originally.It's always interesting to read the critiques of Hancock's books; there is never a specific refutation of the facts cited nor a logical deconstruction of his theories and speculations. Academics attack Hancock for daring to invade their field of endeavor and critics overall simply don't like the way Hancock tackles conventional wisdom and 'thinks outside the box'. The greatest achievement of his books is that he takes what are ordinarily very dry and recondite fields in science, history and archeology and makes them very interesting and compelling to the lay reader. One always finds oneself researching further many of the facts and topics he presents his books.

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