Story behind ancient lead codices to be published


March 29, 2011

David and Jennifer Elkington are preparing for the publication of a book telling the remarkable story behind one of the biggest and best-preserved hoards of ancient sealed codices ever found. 

David Elkington was initially shown photographs of the unexamined and unverified artefacts discovered in Jordan, before he began research into what he quickly realised may be the earliest discovered Christian documents, predating the writings of St Paul. He is now working to get the 70 ring-bound lead codices safely into a Jordanian museum.

Early indications suggest that the books could date from the first century AD, making them the first bound books ever discovered. Leading academics believe the find could be as pivotal as the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls in 1947. The existence of a significant, hidden collection of sealed codices is mentioned in the Christian Bible’s Book of Revelation and in other biblical books.

In announcing the find, David Elkington said: “It is an enormous privilege to be able to reveal this discovery to the world. But, as ever, the find begs more questions than it answers. The academic and spiritual debate must now commence, and this needs a calm and rational environment to be most productive. So it is vital that the collection can be recovered intact and secured in the best possible circumstances, both for the benefit of its owners and for a potentially fascinated international audience”.

In addition to the forthcoming book, there will be a documentary film about the find and its significance to the study of early Judeo-Christian relations.

News of this discovery broke on BBC Radio 4’s Today Programme, on which David Elkington was interviewed.

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