The fabled lost Ark of the Covenant — described in the Bible as the sacred container of the Ten Commandments — lies buried near the top of Mt. Tsurugi on the Japanese island of Shikoku, according to local legend.
The Ark, which was built according to instructions given by God to Moses in a prophetic vision on Mt. Sinai, is sacred to Jews and Christians alike and is said to possess great supernatural powers.
Many people also know it from the 1981 action film “Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark,” which follows the adventures of archeologist Indiana Jones as he thwarts Nazi efforts to obtain the Ark and harness its powers for evil.
But what really happened to the Ark? According to the biblical book of Kings, King Solomon — a King of Israel — built a large temple in Jerusalem to house the sacred object, and it was kept there during his reign (970-930 BC) and beyond. Centuries later, in 586 BC, the Babylonians conquered Jerusalem and destroyed the temple. Some historians suggest the Ark was probably carted off by the Babylonians or perhaps destroyed in battle, but nobody knows for sure. Its fate remains one of the world’s great unsolved mysteries.
Since its disappearance, various groups around the world claim to have discovered or obtained possession of the Ark. The list of locations includes Jordan, Egypt, Ethiopia, southern Africa, France, UK, Ireland — and Japan.