If you’ve ever dreamed about finding buried treasure, it might be time to pack your bags and head to Israel.
Well, maybe not, unless you’re an archaeologist. Or if you happen to have some advanced excavation light technology.
Scientists have discovered something at the site of the Knights Templar in Acre, Israel.
It’s an 800-year-old network of tunnels running beneath the city. They believe that they were built by Christian crusaders.
“These warrior monks are the stuff of legend, and so is their gold,” said archaeologist Albert Lin. “During the Crusades, the Knights Templar battle for God, gold, and glory. Somewhere in the modern city of Acre lies their command center, and possibly their treasure.”
No one knows for sure if these tunnels are full of ancient treasure, but it is a possibility.
National Geographic’s documentary series “Lost Cities” shows the efforts of Lin’s team.
The researchers use technology called LiDAR. They also used light detection to analyze the tunnels and their contents.
It was this technology that first helped them discover the tunnels themselves.
LiDAR works by detecting structures beneath the surface of the Earth. This makes it invaluable to archaeologists attempting to find ancient secrets.
The technology was deployed at the ancient headquarters of the Knights Templar. It found a huge network of tunnels as well as a building researchers believe was a guardhouse.
These days, it sits beneath a parking lot.
Their running theory is that the tunnels led to the city’s port.
There, the crusaders would gather their treasure. Then they would bring it back through the tunnels.
“They secretly transported gold to the Acre fortress’ crowning glory, its treasure tower,” said Lin. “It’s the stuff of fairy tales, and it’s all right here like a ghost. It’s the stuff of childhood dreams. I’m here to find them.”
The Knights Templar were a group of warrior monks founded in the early 1100s.
They were trained in combat, and traveled to Israel in an attempt to recover the Holy Land. They were at odds with local Muslim populations. In 1197, their headquarters in Jerusalem fell to Muslim leader Saladin.
Though they lost Jerusalem, the tunnels beneath the city of Acre remained untouched. That is, until Lin’s crew came in with 21st-century technology.
The crusade of the Knights Templar lasted until 1312 when Pope Clement V ordered them to disband.
One of their intents was to spread the word of Christianity. Another was to reclaim treasures they believed belonged to those of the Christian faith. That’s where Lin’s theory of treasure tunnels comes in.
However, as of right now, it’s still only a theory. There’s no confirmation these tunnels were actually used for treasures.
At this point in time, they haven’t yet made plans to excavate the tunnels. Researchers will continue to search using LiDAR and light detection. Perhaps they’ll be able to confirm what these tunnels were truly for.
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