In Jerusalem’s Kidron Valley, A Warning To Disobedient Children
Absalom rebelled against his father King David and was run through with a javelin. Still, his tomb is by far by the most magnificent structure on this walk beneath the Mount of Olives.
In 1952, a unique 2,000-year-old copper scroll was discovered deep inside a cave near the Dead Sea. When British scholar John Marco Allegro translated the scroll a few years later, he was astonished to learn that over 100 tons of gold and silver treasures from the Second Temple had been hidden in dozens of different locations. One such location, he believed, was the area surrounding the alleged Tomb of the prophet Zechariah in the Kidron Valley beneath Jerusalem’s Mount of Olives.
A few years later, Allegro led an expedition to the Kidron Valley – at the time under Jordanian control – in an attempt to recover hidden treasure. Financing the expedition was no problem, for it was to take place under the auspices of Britain’s Daily Mail tabloid newspaper and Jordan provided workers and transportation. There was just one hitch: dozens of Jews were buried around the tomb. The problem was solved when the Kingdom of Jordan granted Allegro permission to clear away the graves.
While he didn’t uncover even a single treasure, Allegro did expose a cave beneath the monument to Zechariah. Steps leading to and from the cave led archaeologists Boaz Zissu and Avraham Tendler later to surmise that the cave was actually a crypt — apparently from a church that early Christians had constructed next to Zechariah’s Tomb.
Excited by the story of Allegro’s adventure, we decided to take an afternoon walk in the Kidron Valley. We were accompanied by tour guide Danny Herman (aka Danny the Digger), whose expertise as an archaeologist imparted an extra added dimension to our jaunt.