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Barfield continues search for scrolls

It was three days before Christmas of 2006 that Jim Barfield wrapped himself in a blanket and plopped down at his desk. He looked at his research on the Copper Scroll and lay down his head.

He said to himself, "'How in the heck am I going to get the Israelis to listen to me?'"

That day Barfield believed he had solved the riddle of the Copper Scroll, which has puzzled historians for decades. The retired Lawton assistant fire marshal said he used his investigative experience and basic knowledge of Hebrew to decode the Copper Scroll, which is one of the Dead Sea Scrolls  a treasure map on a sheet of copper. It was written around the sixth century B.C. and is said to lead to the hidden treasures of the first Jewish temple built by King Solomon.

Treasures thought to be in locations

There are 57 locations outlined in the Copper Scroll and each location contains various sorts of treasures from gold to silver to gems. The treasures are said to have been buried by the five authors of the Copper Scroll, which includes the biblical prophets Haggai and Jeremiah. One location, according to Barfield, is worth over $1 billion dollars at current market value. But there's one location that exceeds all the others. That last location, if a reference in Second Maccabees is correct, contains the most important artifacts in religious history, including the tabernacle Moses carried through the wilderness with him and the Israelites after the biblical exodus from Egypt, and all of the tabernacle's treasures  holy serving vessels of gold and silver; the ephod, a ceremonial breastplate worn by the Israelites' high priest; the altar from the Holy of Holies; several pounds of gold and silver ingots; and the Ark of the Covenant.

Those who have tried to solve the Copper Scroll before Barfield believed the tabernacle and its treasures are buried separately, but he believes the tabernacle and its treasures lie together. The location is a cave under the West Bank southwest of the archaeological site of Qumran in the Valley of Achor. 

A year after his findings, in December 2007, Barfield flew to Israel to meet with Shuka Dorfman, the director of the Israeli Antiquities Authority (IAA), and two archeologists who had dug in Barfield's suspected location, Yitzhak Magen and Yuval Peleg.

And they listened, Barfield said.

2009 excavation shut down

After reviewing his research, Peleg wanted to excavate with Barfield. When Peleg excavated the same area, he didn't go below virgin soil. According to Barfield's reading, the Copper Scroll says to go below virgin soil. The excavation was in 2009, and before the crew could even get a couple feet into the ground, Peleg received a phone call and the excavation was shut down, Barfield said. But during that excavation Barfield noticed some shelves within the rock formations, Peleg said they were natural, but Barfield didn't believe him. He took a piece and sent it off to the CTL Group, an international expert engineering, materials, science consulting firm. The CTL Group's finding said that the piece Barfield took was man made, a type of plaster, Barfield said.

"The description on the Copper Scroll matches the description in Second Maccabees where it says Jeremiah took all these items, the most important of the treasures of the house, the tabernacle, and put them inside this cave," Barfield said. "Then once he got them in there, they buried the entrance. Well, it's the exact same thing that's said on the Copper Scroll, says it 'took the treasures of the house into the cave, buried the entrance.'"

That was the last time Barfield was able to excavate that specific area or any areas in his findings. But he hasn't given up. Barfield has spent time traveling across the United States and the world presenting his findings to those willing to listen. He has received opportunities that have seemed to open the area for him excavate, but at the last minute, the door slams in his face.

"We would make a huge move forward and then we would stop, huge move forward and then we'd stop," Barfield said.

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