Via Jim Davila at PaleoJudaica; original article featured on The Jewish Chronicle Online.

Heavy metal secrets from a Mid-East cave

Israel’s archaeological establishment believes they are a fake. But could a collection of metal books be an early example of Kabbalah?

  • By Simon Rocker, March 3, 2011

Robert Feather is out to prove the sceptics wrong. A metallurgist with a passion for archaeology, he has been asked to help authenticate what he believes could be one of the most exciting religious discoveries since the Dead Sea Scrolls.

The West London Synagogue member has previously published a book on the Copper Scroll, the Dead Sea Scroll thought to hold clues about the location of buried Temple treasure.Now he is trying to establish the origins of a mysterious cache of metal books which could be linked to the Kabbalah.

The objects belong to Hassan Saeda, a Bedouin farmer in Galilee who says they have been in his family’s possession since his great-grandfather found them in a cave in Jordan, a century ago.

His collection consists of more than 20 codices (early books), cast mostly in lead and containing cryptic messages in Hebrew and Greek along with symbols such as the menorah [...]


“The first time I heard about the discovery, I was extremely cautious,” Mr Feather said. “However, when I was given an opportunity to see and examine some examples…and visit the cave where they were said to have come from, my scepticism was allayed.”

The books appear to be “Kabbalah-related and the nature of the content indicates a magical incantation style of writing,” Mr Feather said. Before 400 CE, almost all ancient codices were made of parchment. The lead codices “predate any form of codex by several hundred years and this particular material was probably chosen to ensure permanency.”

(See the full article here)


Most scholars and experts, including Davila, are skeptical about the authenticity of the plates. Most who have had the opportunity to analyze them have declared them to be forgeries. But, as the article notes, experts tend to be “ultra-cautious” with these things as they have “burned their fingers” being mistaken about previous discoveries.

There have been, however, a number of similar finds — religious inscriptions on metal plates, many of which are similar to the description given for these — in recent times that are believed to be authentic. For more on some specific example of such plates, see my posts on the Orphic Gold Plates (here and here and here and here) and also an ancient Assyrian cuneiform inscription on gold (see here). There are many other examples.

Such finds are, of course, of interest to Latter-day Saints, as Joseph Smith claimed to have translated the Book of Mormon from a record written on gold plates, and most religious texts mentioned in the book are said to have been preserved on metal plates, including major sections of the Hebrew Bible (from before 600 BC).

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