The Sign and the Seal
The Sign and the Seal: The Quest for the Lost Ark of the Covenant is a controversial book by British researcher Graham Hancock. It was published in 1992. The book narrates the endeavors of the writer in searching for the Ark of the Covenant and proposes the theory that the ark spent about 200 years in a purpose-built temple in Aswan, Egypt before it came to Ethiopia via tributaries to the Nile River, where it was kept on a Jewish island in Lake Tana for about eight hundred more years, before it finally came into the hands of the newly established Ethiopian Church, who took it to their capital of Axum.
The book sold well, and received negative reviews from critics. Jonathan Kirsch of the Los Angeles Times wrote, "It's part travelogue, part true-adventure, part mystery-thriller. But mostly it's a whacking big dose of amateur scholarship alloyed with a fervid imagination and the kind of narrative that comes in handy when telling ghost stories around a campfire." Desmond Ryan of the Philadelphia Inquirer joked, "If [Hancock] did any more speculating than what is strewn through the many pages of The Sign and the Seal, he would have to go into real estate." Archeologist John Holladay of the University of Toronto called it "garbage and hogwash," while Edward Ullendorff, a former Professor of Ethiopian Studies at the University of London, said he "wasted a lot of time reading it." Richard Furlong described the book as "a thoroughly engaging read, written in an easy-to-follow, breathless style by someone who is absorbed by his task. Highly recommended for conspiracy fans; unsuitable for historians and archaeologists."
- Hancock, Graham (1992). The Sign and the Seal: The Quest for the Lost Ark of the Covenant. New York: Crown. ISBN 0-517-57813-1.
- Hiltzik, Michael H. (June 9, 1992). "Does Trail to Ark of Covenant End Behind Aksum Curtain? A British author believes the long-lost religious object may actually be inside a stone chapel in Ethiopia". Los Angeles Times. p. 1.
- Kirsch, Jonathan (April 1, 1992). "Speculation Ladled On With a Heavy Hand". Los Angeles Times. p. 8.
- Ryan, Desmond (October 27, 1992). "Speculating where the Ark of the Covenant Is". Philadelphia Inquirer. p. F3.
- Richard Furlong, Fortean Times, Number 68 (April/May 1993).