Tall tales

Every year on the tour earnest customers come up to us and ask, "When are you going to show us the Ark of the Covenant?" After the tour we receive indignant letters saying, "Why didn't you take us to Sodom and Gomorrah? We have just attended a presentation by someone who claims to have discovered the sites of these cities." While the faith of these people in our intimate knowledge of the archaeological sites in the Middle East is touching, we are forced to disappoint them, for these things just do not exist.

The alleged 'Solomon's Pillar' at Nuweiba

Among certain fundamentalist Christian circles there are men going around claiming to have found all sorts of wonderful things. Rather in the manner of good old Saint Helena, mother of Constantine, if there is something mentioned in the Bible, they possess the uncanny ability to go out and find it! Unfortunately at the crucial moment their camera always breaks down or the film is confiscated or the photographs are out of focus, and so absolute hard proof of their discoveries is always lacking - and needless to say, no proper reports have ever been published in reputable journals about their wonderful finds.

One of the reasons we offer a course in archaeology is because only the ignorant are taken in by these charlatans. For example, one website claims that Solomon erected a pillar near the site of the Red Sea crossing - and sure enough, there is a photograph of the very pillar! How can anyone doubt?

The answer is that if you are at all acquainted with ancient architecture, you will instantly recognise the pillar as Greco-Roman, approximately a thousand years after the time of Solomon!

Click here for more of these fallacious tales.