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

3.88 of 5 stars 3.88  ·  rating details  ·  1,227 ratings  ·  81 reviews
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 recorde...more
Paperback, 608 pages
Published July 2nd 1993 by Touchstone (first published March 1st 1992)
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Interesting...I'm skeptical, but open


This book is a trip, almost literally. I never read with my rose glasses…. You know, prove it, I’ll believe it. So I went to several Ethiopian web sites, and it seems everyone in Ethiopia claims the Ark IS there. Hmmm…. So far, the main delight is the view of European history from a different, and if the author is correct, very enlightening angle. From Pope Clement V, Vasco de Gama, the Masonic Rite…. I am seeing some aspects of European history...more
Graham Hancock makes me chuckle. As such, I picked up The Sign and the Seal as a bit of light reading, and I most certainly was not disappointed. In this book, Hancock weaves an intricate tapestry that ties together such disparate subjects as Freemasons, the magicians of ancient Egypt, the Knights Templar, Ethiopian Jews, and many many more.

The aim of this research? An effort to prove that the final resting place of the Ark of the Covenant is a small town in Ethiopia.

I won't lie to you - the bo...more
OK, after this, I'll be as caught up as I'm going to get. It might be a while before I post again, as what I'm currently reading is an unpublished manuscript, and the book up after that doesn't look like a quick read at all.

The final book to mention at the end of what amounts for me to be a flurry of posts is Graham Hancock's The Sign and the Seal. Hancock was the East African correspondent for The Economist until he began to write freelance in the early 1980's, when he became familiar with Eth...more
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...more
I experienced a sense of déjà vu when I first picked up this paperback: black cover, red titles, a yellow band with the legend “the explosively controversial international bestseller” emblazoned across the front. Back home I realised why. The design was a rip-off of (or, if you prefer, a loving homage to) The Holy Blood and the Holy Grail by Michael Baigent et al from a decade before. Oh dear – more hype and more tripe, I sensed, for Holy Blood, Holy Grail was a real dog’s dinner of a few facts,...more
I was quite snotty about this book, believing myself to be someone who only reads academic archaeology books (or at least looks at the pictures) and I was sneering of pop history like this – in the bookshop for instance its not even in the `archaeology’ section, its in the `alternative mythology’ section.
But OK it was fascinating. I didn’t buy everything - and he does drag those Templars in at every opportunity (oo not mentioned the Templars in 20 pages? Better stick them in now!) What is it wit...more
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? Cons...more
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...more
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 ba...more
Scott Olson
After reading and being impressed with Hancock's Fingerprints of the Gods (and admittedly being a huge Indiana Jones fan), I decided to read his investigation into the whereabouts of the Biblical Ark of the Covenant. While not as much of an interdisciplinary study as Fingerprints, The Sign and the Seal focuses mostly on historic documents and cultural legends, it was just as much fun.
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.
Very convincing evidence to Ethiopia's claim to be the last resting place of the Ark of the Covenant.
Interesting, but let down at the end.
Hancock presents a well-reasoned argument, but his writing is a little boring for such a fascinating theory. And after reading of the 'powers' of the Ark, I had to wonder, "If they have it, why haven't they used it?" Following from that it occurred to me that its disappearance isn't the only mystery, there is also the mystery of why it apparently stopped working, did Solomon not recharge it? Hancock cites Biblical accounts of it lighting up, lifting people and objects, burning people, and destro...more
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. Hancoc...more
There are certain books that the reader can tell are labors of love for the author. The work captures the spirit of the author, who spends hundreds of hours in research and travel, writing lovingly about every lead that he uncovers. This is the kind of book that is "The Sign and the Seal".

Graham Hancock, the East Africa correspondent for "The Economist", wrote this book after hearing that the Ark of the Covenant, the subject of the movie "Raiders of the Lost Ark" and perhaps the most famous arch...more
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 m...more
My brother talked so much about this book that I eventually had to read it. This is the first of three Graham Hancock books that I have read and I have a feeling that I will continue to read future works of this guy as he evolves from one idea to another. I was talking with my boyfriend the other day and we decided, this guy lives the life! He gets to explore his theories and ideas as he wants and seems to have a these insane adventures all over the world. This adventure explores the possibility...more
This is a rambling, wandering and, in the end, somewhat fantastical book on the Ark of the Covenant. Sorting through the clutter, the conclusion is a fun one for me, having lived almost half my life in Ethiopia!

He sets out to follow the trail of all the traditions of what happened to the Ark and where it is today--under the former Jewish temple, under the sacred rock, in a church in Ethiopia. He analyzes the oral traditions with methods that are respected by historians today, reads and reports o...more
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...more
Ok, this guy is a certified whack-job, but this is a great book! I'm a big fan of ancient history, got degrees in all that stuff, and studied Biblical Hebrew and Middle Kingdom Egyptian hieroglyphics for 5 years, and I found his arguments compelling and interesting, kinda like The DaVinci Code stuff; just the other edge of truth but this side of believability. I followed up on his theories by going back and reading some of the source material he cites, and can certainly see where he has a point....more
Linda Munro
This is long, detailed and often repeataive search through history in an attempt to locate the 'Ark of the Covenant' which simply disappears from the Bible.

This book takes you through years of research and travel in an attempt to prove or disprove the church of Axum, Etheopia who claims to hold custody of the Ark. Using historical documentation, myth and the Bible, Hancock traces the Ark and the possibility of its travels to Etheopia, but is never able to verify its existence.

Despite the outco...more
Clayton Barr
This is an incredible book, I'd have to place in my top ten reads. Not only is there the real life detective story of the author's search for the Ark of the Covenant and it's fairly convincing historical trail, but there is the mystery of the Ark's originator, Moses, who comes across as almost the scientific genius of his time. Many other Biblical figures also feature prominently. Frankly, this book makes me want to read the Bible and dig into its foundations. Highly recommended to anyone who en...more
Hatte das Buch ursprünglich mal gekauft in dem Glauben, es sei ein Roman. Ist es nicht, sondern mehr so eine Art Foschungs- und Reisebericht. Das ist aber auch nicht schlimm, denn es war, nachdem ich nach 2-3 Kapitel drin war, trotzdem recht unterhaltsam und interessant. Ich kann nicht beurteilen, wievielda dran ist an den erkenntnissen von Graham Hancock, es klingt für mich als Laie allesprinzipiell sehr schlüssig, wenn mirmanche Schlussfolgerungen auch ein bischen auf wackligen Beinen zu stehe...more
I loved learning about the religious traditions in Ethiopia. I highly recommend the book if you want to learn about the legends of their Ark.

Like most books along this line, it fails to deliver an actual answer in the end. It promises to reveal true and secret info. You follow the author around on a great adventure. You find out in the end that nobody still knows where this amazing thing really is located (like so many other great artifacts).
Matt Anderson
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Nov 18, 2008 Rhona rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: history buffs
Although I did not read every single page of this non-fiction book, I got a sense of what happened to the Lost Ark of the Covenant. A friend in Ethiopia told me to read the book and it would answer my questions about the Ark and was it really in Axum. In a nutshell, it is about Faith. Faith is the cornerstone of great things. Anyone interested in the history of the Ark of the Covenant should have this on their list to read.
More speculative non-fictionesque that I actually forgot I had read until I had a conversation with my sister today.
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.
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Graham Hancock is a British writer and journalist. His books include Lords of Poverty, The Sign and the Seal, Fingerprints of the Gods, Keeper of Genesis (released in the US as Message of the Sphinx), The Mars Mystery, Heaven's Mirror (with wife Santha Faiia), Underworld: The Mysterious Origins of Civilization, Talisman: Sacred Cities, Secret Faith (with co-author Robert Bauval)and Supernatural: M...more
More about Graham Hancock...
Fingerprints of the Gods: The Evidence of Earth's Lost Civilization Supernatural: Meetings with the Ancient Teachers of Mankind The Message of the Sphinx: A Quest for the Hidden Legacy of Mankind Underworld: The Mysterious Origins of Civilization Heaven's Mirror: Quest for the Lost Civilization

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